Digitization linked to innovation: Oracle


The move towards digital transformation is linked to innovation, according to an executive from Oracle.

“I think what is happening here in the Kingdom is an innovation in itself,” said Neil Sholay, Vice President of Digital Oracle EMEA in an interview with Saudi Gazette. “I believe things will go incredibly fast over the next 5 to 10 years where we see innovation that none of us has imagined before. NEOM project is a great example of this.”

The main challenge for digitization is raising awareness, according to Sholay. “It’s challenging to make people understand what it means to be digital. Also, having the right people with the right skills, and investing in employees is key to success.”

Another is speed, he added. “In the world of digitization, things happen very fast. Now, we can turn an idea into a business model in just 8 weeks, for instance. In the past, it would take 10 months.”

The third challenge is discipline, he further said. “You cannot leave it to chance when it comes to innovation. There are digital teams in most Saudi companies and nearly 5% of the ideas generated by these teams successfully turn into the market, while there is 95% failure ratio. It’s OK because in the digital world people need to learn by doing,” he emphasized.

The reason for this high chance is that the ideas do not meet the need which is the discipline. Building ideas that meet that need along the way is important, he said, moving from 5% of a success rate to 10% up to even 50%.

Speaking on the role can be played by Oracle in the Kingdom, Sholay said: “Oracle is well prepared to invest with any sale to sharing our technical and labor resources for Saudi companies to come up with ideas together, share and test those ideas later. We are very willing to do it and we see the willingness from the Saudi side. We have worked with organizations in the Kingdom such as: Saudi Telecom, we together brought our teams to come up with ideas based on digital technology to enhance the customer experience.”

Oracle is also working on increasing saudization in the sector. “We care about investing in the workforce especially women in the Kingdom,” said Thamer Al-Harbi, Vice President and Country Leader in Oracle, Saudi Arabia. “The number of our female employees exceeds 13% which is a step up from where we were and we will continue working and developing until we have a higher number. Today, we have agreements with more than 40 educational institutions such as universities and training centers.”

He added: “We work closely with them to reduce the gap between educational output and the labor market in the digitization sector and IT we also have a plan to educate and train students who study in universities but belong to rural areas and far cities to give them intensive training.”