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Get To Know: Firas Saifan, Executive Director, TSME

Get To Know: Firas Saifan, Executive Director, TSME

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Firas Saifan, Executive Director, TSME.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

My most memorable achievement was when we won the Software AG Market Excellence Award, an international award that recognises marketing innovation, excellence and impact with B2B services and solutions, setting the bar high for a channel partner. We have received numerous accolades over a period, given the fact that we are a growing firm, a manifestation of TSME’s strong commitment towards its vendors and customers in line with the company’s business goals. Part of this journey is our long-standing association of 15 years with Software AG, as one of our key vendors, that combines and accentuates strengths of both entities to bring value to the end user resulting in a place for us on the international map of our global partners.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

Not just today but technology has always broken new grounds, embedding individuals and organisations into a constant state of evolvement, growth and advancement. It has been increasingly seen as an enabler of purpose-driven innovation. Today the game has only expedited. Our lives today are well articulated around technology. Foreseeing all this and more, there were no two thoughts about my career since back then. The breakthroughs and the constant growth reassured me that this is the future for most businesses. Today, as a technology enabler, I can confirm that the world couldn’t have come this far and the pace will only continue to rise globally.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

To me, success is about growing others along with oneself. The ‘power to people’ approach is what I strongly believe in, a fundamental requirement for empowering not just people but organisational success as well. One of the most powerful conversations I have with my fellow colleagues is about their goals and aligning them with the company’s objectives. Each one has their own strengths that we leverage for individual and organisational growth. My role is then to only create the environment that supports innovation to stay ahead of the curve and provide a platform towards achieving extraordinary results and greater professional growth.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

We are all aware that data is the key to future readiness. Data-driven insights and strategies will continue to support growth and innovation. Organisations can access information and analyse it quickly to aid smart, agile decision-making. In fact, today organisations have more data at their disposal than they can potentially use. Hence, effective strategies on leveraging data to increase business efficiency is what is vital. Machine Learning and AI technologies are both being aggressively adopted by businesses to enhance their understanding on spotting new areas of process improvement. The need for increased efficient decision making and predictive analysis has enabled the need for data flow. IoT is another area which has changed the way data analytics is approached. While it is becoming common and widespread across industries, it remains one of the hottest trends year after year for its adaptability and innovation. Interconnecting unique devices within an existing infrastructure, has enabled industry players to make informed, strategic decisions using real-time data and achieve a variety of goals such as, cost reduction, heightened efficiency, improved safety, product innovation and much more. Finally, API is the other important topic coming to surface rapidly, enabling users to securely access the data.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

A day with the family, a cup of coffee with friendsand a short walk can change the day.

If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?

An interesting question, one which I have never pondered over. And saying that, I would follow the same path I did. When I look back, I realise that every decision has led to one good after the other, preparing me for the next opportunity up until where I am today. While there were difficulties faced on the way, they have resulted into major learnings for me. And since the technology landscape is fast altering, it gives me the opportunity to continuously refine and re-think my outlook for the company, especially as a person who loves challenging opportunities. I constantly find newer opportunities enjoyable as a part of my role and would continue focusing on; with the support of the larger ecosystem – our teams, partners and everyone who aims for a win-win situation. This approach has helped me redefine business continually.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

AI is the next biggest investment frontier. Recent developments in AI have led to taking the overwhelming amount of data and converting that to leverage decision making through successful use cases. Entities unable to leverage the large pool will risk falling behind the curve. AI-powered solutions empower firms to make informed decisions through high precision data analytics, investment patterns, predictive analysis and customer engagement. Organisations are implicitly working on gaining more data with higher speed and accurate results to be able to produce more efficient decision using AI.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the Middle East?

Middle East is embracing digitisation across nations and the UAE in particular, is aggressively approaching digital disruption. While it has several benefits and offers a myriad of new opportunities across countries and regions, there are areas which may hinder the implementation of new tech. Managing these seamlessly in collaboration with partners will result in smooth and successful implementations.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

The focus has clearly shifted from real projects to developing programmes and support systems to enable organisations to achieve the desired outcomes faster and more effectively. The other area which I see building very fast is the vendor-partner ecosystem; building more structured partnerships and working with partners on producing more holistic, easy to deploy offerings and frameworks.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?

It’s not about what you achieve yourself, it is an ecosystem; your team, your solutions and your partners. Empower the ecosystem, effectively collaborate and synergise; what we achieve together is far beyond what we achieve individually. Aspire for more, bigger and better.

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