Mar. 19, 2021


Felix Wass

Saudi Arabia

Felix Wass

President and CEO, DETASAD

“First, this is a crisis that will ultimately pass. We have all the technology and will to overcome this crisis.”

BIO

Felix Wass is a Digital Technology CEO thriving in dynamic environments and with a success record in turnaround situations building fully integrated Cloud and Digital Transformation providers, end-to-end ICT solutions. I have operated in Europe, Asia, CIS, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and proven to be an inspirational leader whose teams fight hard, with spirit and dedication through the most challenging circumstances. He is a technology enthusiast and executive with strong finance acumen having obtained an MBA Finance with Distinction from the University of Wales in 2016.


DETASAD is the first and only Saudi Arabian company to export cloud services. What does that mean for the company at a time when the government is working to promote Saudi companies?

We are doing it because it makes business sense and we really believe that we have a unique offering. We get amazing support from the government, the Ministry of Telecommunications (MCIT), Yesser and from other partners helping us in achieving our objectives and be the first Saudi company to export technology internationally in 2020 as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. In many cases, government facilities here are more advanced than in Europe or other places. You really feel that the entire country is standing behind Vision 2030 to make Saudi a technology hub in this digital era we live in. Everything is pushing in one direction, and there is a clear way forward. That is why we are optimistic that Saudi Arabia and DETASAD will come out of this crisis stronger than before. Technology will emerge as an accelerator that will help the country and economy emerge from the COVID-19 recession. Being positive about the future is key; if a leader doesn't believe that their organization can survive, they may as well close-up shop. This crisis is a huge opportunity for digital companies who are being forced to become more efficient in terms of cash management, resource management, and processes. If you build relationships now, your company will have a reputation that will draw business in for years to come. We offer our customers to work together in terms of cash management, commercial management, services, or payment services, for example.

The pandemic has pushed the entire economy online, creating new challenges but also new opportunities. How has your business changed in the past year?

We see that in order to be prepared for the current and coming crisis, we need to focus on the automation side of remote work and remote access. Increase our Cyber Security investments and Cyber knowledge as millions of people switched almost their entire activities to the virtual world and therefore, we launched DETASAD Ultimate SOC Solutions, hosted locally in Riyadh to maintain and keep our businesses and economy secured, protected 24/7 and disruption free. No company in Saudi Arabia that I have spoken with was truly prepared to send everyone to work from home. No technology company was set up that way, much less a construction or facility management company. The smart city platform and block chain technology will support people to be better prepared the next time. The integration of drone management technology, digital train technology, and remote metering and remote management technology are some of the innovations that we are focusing on. That is what we see as key drivers for our customers, aside from traditional cloud services. Being able to offer a full clone of our customers' environment in a secure way will be a key differentiator for everyone. It has to be done by a joint exercise, building partnerships that transcend even traditional competitive environments. Nearly all the companies in Saudi Arabia will have to work together to build this kind of ecosystem. One of our key partners in this aspect is Saudi Electric, which also gave us the go-ahead to be part of their health initiative and fund, which has distributed significant amounts of money to health workers in the Kingdom. These kinds of partnerships allow you to build a framework that makes us much more resilient as a society. I don't think anyone as a company or individual will be returning to the status quo. Things are about to change forever. The way of working, the way of meeting customers or working on a daily basis has already changed and I believe will not go back to the way it was before. 90% of our office is working from home now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We had already built fully resilient remote working facilities before the pandemic, and we are now able to share this expertise with others.

What should businesses be looking for in a partner to implement these new technologies and innovations?

You need a partner who understands your business. If someone approaches you with a solution and tells you what you need during your first meeting, it is hardly a partnership that will help the company. It is about tailoring what should be done because there are so many factors to consider besides resilience. There's data integrity and storage, analyzing where data is currently being stored and where it may need to be stored in the future. You need a partner that can go through all of this with you. If in the end the decision is that you go with an international partner, you'll find advantages and disadvantages. Building a relationship with a trusted partner rather than shopping around for the cheapest provider is the way forward. The same goes for cloud services and digital services. If you are not in a digital environment, there is no way that anyone is able to do everything, even if you are Huawei, Nokia, or Amazon. You need someone who knows the end-to-end picture and can help you enter a relationship with multiple partners and go through the journey with you. When you do a cloud expansion, you go to different providers and look for the best price; there are individual purchasing decisions and strategic frame agreements. Moving forward, people will take more of a partnership approach.

Why do you believe we need to be optimistic in present circumstances?

First, this is a crisis that will ultimately pass. We have all the technology and will to overcome this crisis. That is one of the key criteria. As leaders, it is absolutely mandatory to send a positive message, and to live by it. It is critical for any company to come out of a difficult situation. There will be many opportunities for companies who are doing their homework now and taking all the steps to preserve their business and build strong partnerships. You need to know who you can rely on and how you can rely on them. I believe we will overcome all the challenges that come toward us. It will be a different world, but we will make it together, definitely. As we focused during the quarantine and beyond to maintain all of our obligations towards our partners, as their survival means ours as well.

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