Virgin Megastore KSA to accelerate digital transformation with IBM & SAP

Virgin Megastore KSA to accelerate digital transformation with IBM & SAP
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Updated 19 October 2021

Virgin Megastore KSA to accelerate digital transformation with IBM & SAP

Virgin Megastore KSA to accelerate digital transformation with IBM & SAP

IBM, in collaboration with its business partner in Saudi Arabia Brmaja Commercial Company, has announced that Virgin Megastore KSA, a major entertainment retailer in the Kingdom, is migrating its SAP ERP application workloads to IBM Cloud as part of its hybrid cloud strategy. The migration from on-premises to a cloud environment is designed to help the retailer create operational efficiencies and provide a platform for new digital services to its clients.

Habits formed during the COVID-19 pandemic have raised consumers’ expectations for digital engagement, especially in service industries like retail. This is encouraging retailers to transform their operations to deliver an efficient, secured, and seamless experience across front and back-end business processes. Now retailers are modernizing operations, including mission-critical workloads such as finance and inventory reporting, as well as customer-facing processes to enhance experiences while protecting their data.




Fahad Alanazi

By migrating its ERP workloads to IBM Cloud, Virgin Megastore KSA will aim to boost productivity across business functions to help meet the evolving needs of its growing network of shoppers. With a secured and open hybrid cloud approach from IBM, the retailer aims to significantly reduce administration and reporting time, allowing its sales teams to stay focused on driving client experiences.

“Modernizing our infrastructure will allow us to enhance our customer-facing and back-end performance, allowing our employees to focus on delivering world-class experiences for shoppers,” said Russel Bacha, head of technology and loyalty, Virgin Megastore KSA. “Through working with IBM to accelerate our journey to the cloud in a way that helps ensure we’re able to protect client data, we can uncover new ways to reduce time-to-market and streamline operations — that will enhance the digital and real-life experiences of our customers.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the challenges facing many retailers in the region are extensive. By adopting a secured and open hybrid cloud strategy with IBM, Virgin Megastore KSA can modernize applications and access an innovative infrastructure, designed to be agile and easily adaptable to the expanding needs of the company, while offering a more personalized and secured experience for shoppers,” said Fahad Alanazi, general manager, IBM Saudi Arabia.

“By working with Virgin Megastore KSA to accelerate their digital transformation, we are able to support their business vision and fuel their growth.”


NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality
Updated 08 December 2021

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

Under its recently launched Irtiqa initiative, NAMA Women Advancement organized a high-profile panel at Women’s Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai recently addressing the important question of why gender responsive budgeting  is crucial to ensure women’s equal access to economic and financial resources.

Titled “Is Gender Budgeting the Solution to Inclusion,” the discussion aimed to introduce leaders and decision-makers in both public and private sectors in the UAE and the wider region to gender responsive budgeting, focusing on the importance of viewing organizational budgets through a gender lens in order to achieve the collective objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion. The discussion also spotlighted the experiences of nations which have been successfully implementing gender responsive budgeting over the years.

Eminent members on the panel included Carolina Renteria Rodrigez, International Monetary Fund, division chief, PFM Europe; Maja Bosnic, international gender responsive budgeting expert, NIRAS International Consulting; Hajar Ben Ameur, head of budget performance and  gender responsive budgeting, Morocco Ministry of Economy and Finance; Romawaty Sinaga, public sector specialist, World Bank Indonesia; and Dr. Rosanna Duncan, chief diversity officer, Palladium. The discussion’s moderator was Ermira Lubani, gender responsive budgeting’s program specialist, UN Women Europe Central Asia.

In her welcome address, Reem bin Karam, director of NAMA, said that the UAE had institutionalized gender budgeting in 2015 by establishing the Gender Balance Council. “The council’s objectives to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors has led to the UAE becoming the benchmark for gender balance legislation in the region. The nation’s experience in gender-informed resource allocation has demonstrated that with this powerful tool the benefits of development can reach women equally as their male counterparts.

“Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi, chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, and wife of the ruler of Sharjah, believes that inclusive and equitable economic growth can only be possible with women’s full economic empowerment.”

“Today there are more than 100 countries worldwide which are implementing different  gender responsive budgeting  initiatives. This implies proper legal and policy framework in both gender equality and in budgetary processes. Gender responsive budgeting serves to connect the dots by linking government policy and budget together, which are often considered to be two separate islands. It therefore increases social accountability and transparency, and ensures that no one is left behind,” said Lubani.

Outlining the importance of gender responsive budgeting in times of crisis, Rodrigez, said: “The IMF sees women’s empowerment as critical to economic progress. With the right policies to ensure women’s participation in the economy, a country’s GDP would increase substantially. It is of utmost importance that government policies for economic recovery pay greater attention to women in order to ensure sustainable results. Recent IMF studies show that in countries with low female labor market participation, closing the gender gap could raise the GDP by an average of 35 percent.”

Bosnic said: “We have for long been hearing that gender responsive budgeting  is good budgeting. However, I would say it is better budgeting. It should be the only way to budget. I will share an experience from Ukraine as an example. I was leading the  gender responsive budgeting project launched in 2013 in collaboration with the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and supported by the Swedish government for seven years.”

The question was where the funds are being deployed and who is really benefitting to close the gender and social gaps. Ukraine took it further to analyze the impact of budget allocations on women and men in different socio-economic groups. To date, Ukraine has analyzed over 300 budget programs in all the sectors. We discovered gender gaps in all of them. This was because gender equality had not been considered while designing those programs. We analyzed the cause and consequences of this. I am happy to say, that most of the programs have been improved though there is still a lot left to be done. However, the program has resulted to increased women participation in the economy and other spheres in Ukraine.”

Ben Ameur outlined the long history of  gender responsive budgeting  in Morocco beginning from the early 2000s when the country began to consider the reforms needed to promote women’s empowerment. Around the same period, Morocco introduced a project to modernize its budgetary systems to improve the performance of public service. The two came together to create a successful  gender responsive budgeting model for Morocco. She said: “Over the years we have learnt how to obtain better results on the ground. When it comes to national education, a large percentage of girls drop out of school when they reach primary level, especially in rural areas, due to financial constraints. We created social support networks and mechanisms, including the provision of direct financial aid to families, to make it possible for girls to complete their education.

Speaking about Indonesia’s experience, Sinaga, said: “Indonesia has been mainstreaming gender in its national budget processes using several public financial management tools to understand the impact of budget policies on different groups of beneficiaries. In 2019, Indonesia undertook a gender responsive budgeting assessment in cooperation with the World Bank to track progress and further strengthen gender mainstreaming in budgetary processes.”

Duncan noted that the equity, diversity and inclusion functions are usually compartmentalized into a HR activity, when in fact, they should be championed and pursued as part of broader organizational goals. Leaders should be held to account and create a culture where embedding equity, diversity and inclusion is ‘everybody’s responsibility, she said.


Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021
Updated 08 December 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai Motor Company has bolstered its standing in Saudi Arabia with a win at the PR Arabia National Auto Awards 2021 held recently in Jeddah.

The Tucson impressed the voters with its design, interior, powertrains, driving experience and technology. The SUV secured high marks for driving comfort, fuel economy and luggage space thanks to the company’s innovative approach in leveraging advanced technologies to boost comfort, convenience and safety for all passengers.

Chosen by 49 percent of the voters, the Tucson was named the “Best Small SUV” category in the ninth edition of the awards.

Launched in 2012, The PR National Auto Awards recognizes those working in the automotive industry and encourages companies to offer the best services to help improve overall customer satisfaction.

The fourth generation of the compact SUV, which is bigger and wider than its predecessors, was recently launched in the region and is the most competitive in its class and represents another step forward for one of Hyundai’s most popular vehicles.

Bang Sun Jeong, head of Hyundai Motor Company Middle East and Africa headquarters, said: “It’s always encouraging to see our cars being recognized by our customers and even more pleased when they show passion towards the brand by taking the time and effort to vote for us.

“The Tucson has established itself as one of our bestselling models in the region and across the globe. The fourth-generation model continues to build on this, taking the iconic model to another level in cutting-edge design, safety, and performance. Its interior is a big step up, with great materials, a strong design and an excellent infotainment system with an appealing instrument display.”

The award is a testament to Hyundai’s commitment to build high-quality automobiles that deliver superior driving experiences, strengthening its position as one of the leading car manufacturers in the Kingdom.

Jeong added: “We are very happy about the award from PR Arabia as it reinforces our strong brand loyalty in the Kingdom. Thanks to the unwavering support from our customers, we have further cemented our position in the Saudi market.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to PR Arabia for hosting this awards event. We would also like to thank the people who voted for us, our partners and our team that have played a part in achieving this success.”


Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 
Updated 06 December 2021

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

In 2018, four percent of worldwide carbon emissions came from digital activities. At our current rate of expansion, this will grow to eight percent by 2025. Manufacturing of IT hardware such as cell phones, laptops, servers are major contributors of increasing carbon footprint.   

Life cycle analysis shows that raw material extraction and manufacturing represents 40 to 80 percent of the total CO2 emissions for a piece of equipment.  

As businesses refine their processes to reduce their total carbon footprint, sustainable IT practices will form a key part of every company’s Corporate Social Responsibility and overall drive to carbon-zero.

In addition to reducing their consumption, companies need to find ways to extend the life of their equipment and help reduce the demand for new assets. One way institutions and companies are already moving to a more sustainable IT strategy is by extending their IT equipment lifespan through maintenance rather than hardware refreshment.

Evernex Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of the global independent IT Life Services company Evernex, is one company helping others reduce their impact by extending the life of IT equipment through maintenance, preventing the need for the manufacture of new assets. 

Repairing helps slow the cycle of production within the IT industry. It reduces the demand for new raw materials and prevents carbon emissions that come from equipment production. 

Evernex currently maintains over 360,000 IT systems in more than 165 countries and has a global network of 45 offices. With over 2,000 clients in the Kingdom, it is a major contributor to bringing sustainable solutions to IT and the preferred maintenance partner for multinational companies looking for both engagement and expertise.


LuLu, EFAA mark World Disability Day

LuLu, EFAA mark World Disability Day
Updated 06 December 2021

LuLu, EFAA mark World Disability Day

LuLu, EFAA mark World Disability Day

LuLu joined hands with EFAA to support and spread awareness and kindness on World Disability Day. 

Lulu, in association with Dammam Disability Charitable Trust, honored around 50 participants at an event comprising elders and children, who are making a mark in this world against all odds.

The memorable event featured entertaining and encouraging stories and songs, emphasizing that the differently-abled are not alone in this fight.  

Rana Taibah, general manager of the trust, appreciated LuLu's efforts and support in marking the World Disability Day.


ADIB appoints Nasser Al-Awadhi as group CEO

ADIB appoints Nasser Al-Awadhi as group CEO
Updated 07 December 2021

ADIB appoints Nasser Al-Awadhi as group CEO

ADIB appoints Nasser Al-Awadhi as group CEO

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s board of directors has announced the appointment of UAE national Nasser Abdulla Al-Awadhi as ADIB’s new group chief executive officer, starting from Jan. 9, 2022 subsequent to UAE Central Bank approval.

Al-Awadhi brings more than 33 years of experience in banking and is a leading practitioner in Islamic finance, having held a variety of senior strategic, commercial and leadership roles. He joins ADIB from Dubai Islamic Bank where he served as the group chief of consumer banking, since March 2018, during which he contributed to the development of various transformational programs and implemented various strategic initiatives. He was also a board member of several leading national institutions.

In addition, he held the position of head of strategic relationships at Dubai Islamic Bank from 2014 to 2018 and head of business development at Tamweel Company from 2011 to 2014.

Jawaan Awaidha Suhail Al-Khaili, ADIB’s chairman, said: “The board is pleased to have appointed Nasser Al-Awadhi as group CEO. Nasser was our standout choice and brings a wealth of leadership experience in both Islamic finance and banking. He will now lead ADIB through our next stage of expansion under our 2025 growth strategy.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the leadership team for playing a central role in leading ADIB over the last two years. During that time and despite the pandemic, the bank has grown significantly, now serving over 1 million customers, delivering sustained profitability, and putting in place a world-class digital infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, Al-Awadhi, the newly appointed group CEO, said: “It is a great privilege to be joining ADIB at a time when the bank is achieving strong momentum, and as it sets out to deliver its 2025 growth strategy. I wholeheartedly share ADIB’s vision to become the world’s most innovative Islamic bank combining the very best digital services with innovative Islamic products. I look forward to working with the bank’s team to take advantage of all available opportunities in the market and contribute to ADIB by providing the best possible value to our valued shareholders.”

ADIB is a leading bank in the UAE with more than 133 billion dirhams ($30.7 billion) in assets. It has a presence in six strategic markets: Egypt, where it has 70 branches, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Sudan, Iraq and Qatar.