Business promise of digital transformation is significant: Sabhlok

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Raj Sabhlok, president ManageEngine.

DUBAI — Raj Sabhlok, president of ManageEngine and Zoho.com, both divisions of Zoho Corp, spoke extensively to Saudi Gazette on ManageEngine Labs’ product roadmap and how ManageEngine solutions can help organizations in the Saudi Arabia and Middle East to drive business outcomes and efficacies prior to the User Conference in Dubai.

The conference is centered on major IT management disciplines, including: IT operations management (ITOM), IT service management (ITSM), Windows and Active Directory management and IT security. Beyond the formal sessions, networking with IT colleagues from various industries has become a highlight and trademark of the conference.

Sabhlok has particular interest in IT management software and its power to change the fortunes of a business when implemented effectively. Prior to Zoho, Raj spent nearly 20 years working with some of the world’s most innovative technology companies including Embarcadero Technologies, BMC Software and The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO).

Here are the excepts:

Q: What is the main focus of this year’s User Conference?

A: As with most UCs, it is an opportunity for IT professionals to learn the best practices of IT management and also learn how to leverage software management tools to be more efficient in their jobs and IT overall.

Q: Briefly explain the role of IT in the cloud era?

A: Put simply, the IT team’s role in cloud computing is to make all of the organization’s technologies work together, as quickly and securely as possible. And that role requires IT teams to master a few key disciplines.

One, they must be able to integrate a variety of disparate data and applications deployed in different on-premises and cloud environments. Two, IT teams need to establish and enforce a consistent security posture that covers secure authentication, fine-grained access controls, auditing and compliance, and endpoint management — including browsers.

Three, they must prepare for cloud-native app development and deployment, add a site reliability engineer (SRE) to the team, and adopt the integrated tools SREs need to remain agile and responsive, and solve as many problems as they can without going back to the development team. And finally, IT teams need to understand how natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), and other aspects of AI can help the IT department and the rest of the organization.

Q: Could you elaborate on some of the current technology trends and its impact on businesses in Saudi Arabia?

A: Digital transformation is by far the dominant technology trend, with heavy investments being made in the areas of cybersecurity, multi-cloud, and AI. The business promise of digital transformation is significant, with the Kingdom aiming to build a digital government, digital economy, and a digital economy as part of the Vision 2030. That said, the challenges are significant as well, with 90 percent of Saudi businesses facing significant roadblocks to their digital transformation projects.

Q: How is ManageEngine helping organizations in Saudi Arabia to drive business outcomes?

A: Our job is to equip IT teams with the solutions they need to do their jobs in the cloud era. To that end, we offer a iPaaS solution that can connect hundreds of cloud and on-premises applications as well as identity and access management software that gives users single sign-on access to all of their applications.

We provide the security tools needed to handle all elements of IT security consistently. We provide the integrated monitoring, logging, alerting, and ticketing tools that support the SRE’s fluid, DevOps-style of working. And we’re building an AI-powered portfolio that includes NLP-enabled chatbots for IT service management, ML-powered IT operations management, and more.

Q: With 5G coming, do you think the region is prepared?

A: From what I’ve seen, absolutely. Regional operators in the GCC have already announced 5G services. For instance, Etisalat and Expo 2020 Dubai have partnered to bring 5G services to Expo 2020 Dubai’s 25 million expected visitors. And in Saudi Arabia, a 5G network was tested in the city of Al Khobar. Meanwhile, the Kingdom has created a national task force to drive 5G deployment, and the Saudi Telecom Company has launched a live 5G network. — SG


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