IDC to host CIO Summit in Qatar as digital transformation accelerates ahead of World Cup

General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)
General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)
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Updated 25 September 2022

IDC to host CIO Summit in Qatar as digital transformation accelerates ahead of World Cup

General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)

The significant acceleration of digital agendas over the past two years has resulted in a continuously changing and increasingly digitally driven world. As Qatar prepares to host the FIFA World Cup later this year, unprecedented technological innovations within the country have reached an all-time high. In fact, recent research from International Data Corporation suggests that 57 percent of Qatari organizations have introduced new digital products and services over the last 12-18 months, while 70 percent have increased cost efficiencies through the digitization of operations.
“CIOs in Qatar have rapidly digitized operations and enabled new digital business models and ecosystem partnerships for the FIFA World Cup and beyond,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “They have carried out widespread technology implementations, ranging from enabling cloud operational excellence and developing agile infrastructure to supporting application modernization, process automation, and security. Leveraging the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst to drive its digital economy and expand its ICT ecosystem, Qatar is ideally positioned to attract investments in emerging industries and drive innovation while showcasing itself as a digital-first country.”

HIGHLIGHT

The IDC Qatar CIO Summit will explore the increasing pace of innovation in Qatar and examine the country’s evolving technology landscape.

Against this backdrop, the 2022 edition of the IDC Qatar CIO Summit will explore the increasing pace of innovation in Qatar and examine the country’s evolving technology landscape. Taking place on Sept. 27 at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel and Villas, the event will reveal how technological innovation has created a more competitive, diversified, and productive ICT sector that can meet the demands of the country’s rising digital economy.
Ranjit Rajan, IDC’s vice president for research in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, will open the day’s proceedings by presenting the event’s keynote address, “Innovating in a Digital-First World,” in which he will urge organizations to respond to the unprecedented uncertainty of the last few years by embracing a digital-first approach to building resilience into their operations.
“The journey to the future digital enterprise has accelerated, driven by significant investments in new customer experiences, new digital ecosystem business models, digital supply chains, and ‘future of work’ initiatives,” said Rajan. “All of this must be supported by resilient cloud-enabled digital infrastructure and applications, rapid app development, digital platforms, data-driven and AI-enabled intelligence, and security and trust. Strong leadership, an appetite for innovation, and a sound strategy for addressing regulations will all be key to driving the future digital agenda.”

 


Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom
Updated 08 December 2022

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Sinopec supports Vision 2030 & sustainable development in Kingdom

Over the past 21 years, upholding its mission of providing cleaner energy for better life, Sinopec has been committed to the Kingdom’s economic development, bilateral cultural exchanges and interactions, and the well-being of the Saudi people. The international oil and gas enterprise headquartered in Beijing fully supports Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative, and strives to facilitate the co-development of the aforementioned initiatives, in addition to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Aiming for common development and prosperity

Over the years, Sinopec has established strong partnerships with Saudi enterprises in many areas, including scitech innovation and R&D, refining and petrochemical investment, crude oil trading, and oilfield service and refining and petrochemical engineering. Yasref, a Sinopec-Saudi Aramco joint venture, has been operating efficiently. The company has implemented more than 20 refining and petrochemical projects in high quality. Sinopec Tech Middle East started operations with focus on oil and gas development, big data and AI, and undertakes multiple research and technical support projects for Sinopec and local businesses. The company offers systematic, international training sessions on a long-term basis in the Kingdom, providing training for young people in the country. Meanwhile, it has kept increasing the local procurement content to create opportunities for industrial and economic development.

Strengthening communication for win-win

Sinopec has always been committed to acting as an ambassador of Sino-Saudi friendship. Three years ago, the company released its first sustainability report of Sinopec in Saudi Arabia, established the Social Responsibility Demonstration Site, and opened the“Sinopec in Saudi Arabia”official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. “We respect the customs and culture of Saudi Arabia, celebrate the national and traditional festivals of Saudi Arabia and China with local employees and the community, and promote cultural exchanges between our two countries. We stress on compliance and fortify our HSE management system with a strong sense of mission and responsibility to safeguard the physical and mental health of employees and steady business operation. We offer systematic, international training sessions on a long-term basis in the Kingdom, providing training for young people in the country,” the company said in a statement.

Protecting ecology and environment for greater well-being

Committed to sustainable development, Sinopec deploys new technologies, processes and materials as well as efficient and responsible management to reduce the impact on environment wherever it operates. “We protect desert species and the marine environment, carrying out afforestation, ‘Eastern Cleanup,’ coastal cleanup and other activities to further increase the awareness of environmental protection among the public and facilitate the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative,” the company said. “Due to our uncompromising high standards, leading technologies and managerial and operating expertise, we actively take part in infrastructure projects in transport, water transmission and public health sectors, with a view to improving local infrastructure and people’s well-being.” Over the past 21 years, Sinopec has constructed more than 30 urban overpasses and passages.

Sincere mutual appreciation, integration and close ties

The “Belt and Road” is a road of mutual respect and trust, a road of win-win cooperation and mutual learning among civilizations. Over the past 31 years, the Sino-Saudi relationship has become a model of BRI. “Looking ahead, along with the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030, we have full confidence in Saudi Arabia’s development prospects. Sinopec will continue to build a long-term stable Sino-Saudi community of energy cooperation and advance our cooperation with Saudi companies and partners in technology, scientific research, environmental protection and investment. We will continue to pursue mutual respect and trust, complementary advantages and win-win results with our stakeholders, contributing to the sustainable and diversified development of the Saudi economy and opening a new chapter of Sino-Saudi cooperation.”


Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property
Updated 07 December 2022

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano visits DQ property

Marriott International’s CEO Anthony Capuano and a delegation of the company’s senior executives paid a visit to one of the company’s flagship hotels in the Kingdom, the Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter, wherein they received a warm welcome by Muin Serhan, cluster general manager for Riyadh Marriott Hotels, along with the entire team of the cluster.

As one of the biggest hotels operating in Riyadh, Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter is one of the main highlights of this trip, due to its very strong footprint across Saudi Arabia.

The hotel meets the highest standards of the company’s sustainability goals in energy and environmental footprint and has received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certificate, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The hotel site creates a protected micro-climate and maximizes environmental impacts. By amplifying useful daylight via a complex reflection process, the hotel can decrease its illumination needs during the day. Plentiful shaded areas and the building’s structure allow for natural ventilation, reducing the need for air conditioning and additional cooling.

During the visit, Capuano emphasized the depth of his company’s focus on Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The chief executive said that the Saudi hospitality industry is known for its rich culture and authentic heritage that is deeply rooted in hospitality, in addition to its forward-looking strategies, advancing its position and boosting its economic contribution, in parallel with the development of the tourism sector in the Kingdom.


ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model
Updated 07 December 2022

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model

ToYou launches Kingdom’s first monthly multi-tier subscription model
  •  The new subscription model speaks to the diverse needs of its customer base with four attractive and affordable packages.
  •  Coinciding with the subscription launch, ToYou has introduced a digital wallet that boosts in-app spending and offers customers even more choice, flexibility, and exclusive deals.

Saudi-based delivery super app ToYou has launched a fresh new subscription model that is nothing short of an indulgent crime against delivery convention. With an offering that combines boundless ordering with free delivery, the platform’s new lineup of subscription packages takes customer experience to new heights and marks the beginning of online ordering without compromise.

The new subscription offering is the latest addition to the ToYou platform — an ecosystem that integrates m-commerce, logistics, and a full-scope chat system in one, easy-to-use system. The platform works with thousands of merchants to deliver everything from basic groceries to five-star restaurant requests, and from pharmacy essentials to designer fashion. 

With the first-of-its-kind subscription service, ToYou is ahead of the game. Unlike other subscription services on Saudi Arabia’s delivery landscape, the platform’s offering centers on a multi-tier model, with four categories — Plus, Advance, Pro, and Unlimited — that cater to varying demands and budgets. With subscriptions starting from as little as SR19 (l$5) and perks that include attractive discounts and value-added services, ToYou’s innovative offering speaks to the needs and preferences of an increasingly diverse customer base:

  • Unlimited: True to its name, ToYou’s Unlimited package gives users limitless access to merchants, with no cap on the number of deliveries. Whether in search of urgent essentials or the ultimate treat, with boundless options, customers can order what they want, when they want it, with delivery completely free of charge. 
  • Pro: The Pro subscription offers equally appealing access to an unlimited pool of merchants, this time with 10 free-delivery orders to enjoy. 
  • Advance: ToYou’s Advance package enables users to place unlimited orders with a wide number of merchants. That means loyal customers can order from their favorite stores and restaurants over and over again. 
  • Plus: For the less frequent user, ToYou’s Plus subscription includes up to five orders with select outlets — the perfect hassle-free option for the occasional indulgence or urgent purchase.

ToYou’s subscription offering coincides with the launch of another innovative feature: an in-app wallet that provides users with yet another flexible payment option, along with a lineup of exclusive offers that deliver extra value and customer savings. In addition to enhancing ToYou’s existing value proposition, the wallet, which involves a virtual prepaid card, will boost in-app spending and ensure a healthy cash flow as the platform continues on its growth trajectory.

The introduction of ToYou’s wallet and multi-tier subscription model comes at the right time for Saudi consumers. According to the Kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, online ordering activity is rising sharply within the country, with requests reportedly rising from 117,000 in Q4 2019 to 525,000 in the same period last year. Order values are increasing sharply too, reaching SR1.75 billion up from SR310 million, during the same period. 

By building on this market opportunity and delivering unrivaled choice and service to its users, ToYou is preparing for a future of growth and expansion in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

For CCO Ziyad Al-Ajlan, the launch of ToYou’s subscription model is a game-changer on the delivery landscape. He said: “ToYou is all about customer experience and the introduction of our multi-tier subscription service takes it to a whole new level. Our subscriptions deliver almost unlimited choice and flexibility to our users — not to mention a touch of luxury — enabling them to order from anywhere, anytime, with no delivery fee.” 

Al-Ajlan added: “You can now order your cocktails from Signature, your main meal from CrustCorner, and dessert from Magnolia Bakery. It’s delivery well and truly without compromise.”

 


Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals
Updated 06 December 2022

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Geidea to provide POS solutions at MDLBEAST & other festivals

Saudi fintech Geidea has partnered with Gastro-Trends, the F&B arm of MDLBEAST, to provide payment and restaurant management solutions at four of the region’s biggest music festivals, namely Aravia, XP Music Futures, Soundstorm and Balad Beast.

Geidea, which already caters to the Kingdom’s thriving F&B sector with more than 52,000 restaurants and cafes, will supply a point-of-sale restaurant management system and payment terminals at the international star-studded events, with 600 terminals serving more than 150 merchants and brands on site.

More than 700,000 are expected to attend the mega events, two of which are in Riyadh and one in both Jeddah and Doha.

Laurent Dhaeyer, group chief strategy and growth officer at Geidea, said: “Our new-generation, fully integrated, cloud-based POS systems offer F&B and retail businesses the best-in-market point-of-sale solutions that can respond to the ever-evolving needs of customers. We are delighted to partner with Gastro-Trends to offer our safe, secure and seamless payments solutions to cater for the hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers.”

MDLBEAST, which boasts artists including Post Malone, Eric Prydz, Carl Cox, Bruno Mars and DJ Khaled, is a global and creative platform setting the tone for music, art and culture and shifting the epicenter of underground music. Starting with Saudi and echoing outwards, MDLBEAST supports artists in creating experiences that move people and, in turn, make people move.

Alex Gorman, project director, F&B, MDLBEAST/Gastro-Trends, said: “MDLBEAST events have become some of the biggest and best music events on the international calendar. It’s all about creating a memorable experience for everyone who attends and that includes being able to provide swift and simple payment solutions when it comes to buying F&B. Our collaboration with Geidea, a fellow homegrown Saudi brand, does just that.”

Founded in Saudi Arabia, Geidea is expanding rapidly across the region with operations in the UAE and Egypt. It is targeting seven more countries in the next two years, serving both financial institutions and small and medium businesses.


LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah
Updated 06 December 2022

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

The 29th LuLu Hypermarket in Saudi Arabia was inaugurated by Khalaf bin Houssan Al-Otaibi, vice chairman of the board of Jeddah Chamber. The new store is located on Jeddah’s busy Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road in Al-Ruwais district.

With Jeddah facing the onslaught of floods last Thursday, LuLu Group immediately cut back on the expenses of the inaugural ceremony and donated the money instead, through Nafa Charity Society, to more than 1,500 needy families who were affected.

“LuLu Group stands by the community and we decided to share the humanitarian responsibility and support the 1,500 needy, flood-affected families,” said Executive Director of LuLu Group Ashraf Ali M.A. who was present on the occasion.

The 90,000-square-foot single-floor store is set in a spacious 190,000-square-foot area and boasts of all facilities for shoppers, including 16 checkout counters and 275 dedicated parking slots.

The latest store will bring to shoppers all the conveniences that the group’s hypermarket chain is known for: an abundant range of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood from around the world, an in-house bakery to serve up freshly baked breads and cakes, as well as shopping options that tap into new award-winning trends. These include a wide selection of plant-based meat substitutes and foods, a special organic and superfoods section, and an extensive “free-from” range.

The store also includes popular LuLu shopping stations such as LuLu Fashion, the electronics section LuLu Connect and the beauty and cosmetics division BLSH.

Ali said that the new store opening comes in line with LuLu Group’s commitment to the new economic energy that has made the Kingdom a vibrant investor destination; it is also a vital link in the group’s expansion. He praised the Saudi leadership’s vision and energy for a bright future. The group is already planning more store openings in the country.

“LuLu Group has aligned its ambitious growth goals with the vision of the energetic and far-sighted leadership of Saudi Arabia and as we near the close of a satisfying 2022, I am very happy to announce that our 2023 blueprint will see major expansion in Saudi Arabia,” said Ali.

“Certainly, LuLu Group is positioning itself as a catalyst of economic growth — we see that the country is preparing for a major business boost and we are keen to be the drivers of economic partnership in Saudi Arabia.”

Also present on the occasion were Shehim Mohamed, director of LuLu Hypermarket Saudi Arabia; Rafeek Mohammed Ali, regional director of LuLu Hypermarket, western province; and other officials.