FADY RICHMANY

Dubai 2021 | TELECOMS & IT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fady Richmany, General Manager of DELL Technologies, about resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of technology, and cybersecurity.

How did you ensure the company remained resilient during the pandemic?

When the pandemic hit, our transition to remote working was effortless as we were already in the process of transformation. This was part of the essence of Dell acquiring EMC four years ago: to accelerate its digital transformation. The resilience to face the challenges which came with the pandemic came to us as a natural response and made it easy for us to help our customers and partners prepare for it. When it comes to working from home, we started this 10 years ago. We had a connected workplace for the last decade, and our Connected Workplace 1.0 program has been very successful, where at any given time 30% of our workforce works remotely from home. Now, we have announced Connected Workplace 2.0, where we give employees the option to come into the office one or two days a week. We also support them with incentives to work from home, such as purchasing a desk and so on. We have also seen that among our customers in the UAE, the transition was not as difficult, as many of them had already embarked on the digital transformation journey.

What characteristics made your clients resilient?

During the pandemic, the UAE government provided strong support to businesses to navigate these challenging times. For instance, it launched a stimulus packages to help SMEs with deferred payments and so on. At Dell Technologies, we launched a USD9-billion fund to help our partners and customers in terms of payment deferrals and, in some cases, convert their service into a consumption model wherever CAPEX could be turned into an OPEX. It was important to us that we stand by our customers and partners during the pandemic and help them out. In addition, we launched Dell Financial Services in three of our key regional markets, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and in the process, signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Financial Global Market for an existing license that is registered and supported by our bank in Ireland. This allows us to move up another level and truly support customers that need technology and security but have limited budgets.

How is the role of technology different now after the disruption of the pandemic?

The pandemic has created momentum when it comes to digital transformation. For instance, our own progress in the last five to six months would have taken five or six years normally. The most important role of technology is business continuity, and the pandemic has proven that one cannot continue to run their business without technology infrastructure. Since I joined the company 15 years ago, the number one aim has been business continuity. When we pitch to customers, we ask if they are ready for an unforeseen disaster. At Dell Technologies, we offer end-to-end transformation and can tailor our offerings to the needs of our customers. This includes edge computing, IoT, cybersecurity, AI, and blockchain. An example of this is a great project we did where we supported the Emirates Blockchain Strategy with a Smart Contracts solution that uses blockchain to modernize vendor registration and tender management and enhance G2G collaboration. We have a nice digital footprint when it comes to technology with our customers across the MERAT region.

How do you compare the sophistication of the UAE to some of your other sophisticated markets when it comes to connectivity, infrastructure, and hardware?

The UAE is blessed with smart leadership who have deep foresight, support innovation and are able to adapt to global changes and market demands swiftly. The 10X initiatives are driving businesses towards innovation, and the UAE is extremely advanced when it comes to connectivity, with the fastest networks in the world and being the first to implement 5G. Overall, the UAE leads globally in technology, performance, connectivity, resilience, and security, and has proven to be an advanced digital economy. It is the first in terms of competitiveness in the region in 2020 and 19th worldwide. The leadership's response during the pandemic helped assure locals and expats that it would provide support, and enable them to continue living safe and secure lives in the country. We saw a very progressive approach from the key business sectors too. For instance, Emirates Airlines was able to open up its borders before any other airline and said that if a passenger gets COVID-19 in transit, they would receive EUR150,000 as travel insurance from the airline.

What is your perspective on cybersecurity, and what does Dell do to protect itself?

Within Dell Technologies, one of the key pillars is security where we help customers transform digitally in a safe manner. We have two companies which support our security offerings, the first being Secure Works for managed services that has an end-to-end offering with penetration testing, patching, etc. to act as the eyes and ears of our end customers. One can have the best technology in the world but without the right people to run it, it is useless; this is where Secure Works comes in to assist customers that have limited bandwidth and cannot monitor the data environment all the time. When it comes to security, we come from multiple dimensions with managed security services and point technology with RSA depending on the environment. With VMWare today, we are changing the whole security concept by making it intrinsic to the individual machine on the network side with the virtual firewall.

What is your overall perspective of the human capital in UAE?

Human capital is a big focus for us and is central to our 2030 social impact goals. We believe in our talent and invest heavily in developing them, not only in terms of technological skills but also on diversity, bias, compliance, sustainability, and ethics. We also support customers extensively on this front; for example, we signed an agreement with the UAE's Ministry of AI three years ago to develop its talent and have another agreement in place with the Ministry of Energy to provide their talent with internships and exposure to our experienced staff and technology. We are keen to help customers on their journeys; it is not only about pushing technology but also about supporting the communities we operate in, and helping the economy and organizations across diverse sectors. As a company, we have a strong philosophy and a long-term vision to make a difference in every country we operate in.