In the past year, what key changes have you seen in the IT sector in Saudi Arabia?
The ICT sector in Saudi Arabia has gone through a major transformation recently. ICT is an integral part of our economy, and isolating ICT as a separate sector is not necessarily accurate today. The distinction between the ICT sector and other businesses is now becoming blurred. This is not only the case in Saudi Arabia, but a global trend. We work in many sectors. We initially started with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development but are now working with other sectors such as education and health. Tamkeen's role is to provide IT services and solutions that help government agencies solve problems in either a self-sustainable mode or at a reduced cost. Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 has an aggressive plan to reform, and technology is an integral part of this plan.
What key areas will you focus on in the medium term?
Our focus in 2019 will be to continue to develop the leads we generated through our PPP initiatives, and hopefully we will witness an increased adoption rate. One way to reduce the government's IT costs is to migrate hosting its IT systems such that they are hosted in country and managed by local IT service providers such as Tamkeen or to at least adopt managed IT services as an alternative to running their own data centers or hiring outsourced IT employees. The adoption and utilization of open-source technologies as an alternative to the traditional commercial software packages is another area that we will focus on in 2019. Tamkeen has developed several products to address new government issues, especially in traditional systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), project management, and strategy management. We have an excellent track record in deploying and customizing open-source solutions, especially for ERP systems in the private and semi-government sectors. We will focus more on that and soon provide full ERP solutions for the government sector. Currently, our ERP solution is targeted at small to medium government agencies, as a viable option to commercial products that have significantly higher capital and operational costs, especially if there is a need to integrate with either custom-built systems or systems from other vendors. Current project management tools are not fully integrated with ERP tools, so we are working on a solution that integrates tightly with our ERP systems, for which we see great demand.
Are you seeing a change as government agencies work to achieve their KPIs for 2020?
Most government agencies are actively working to achieve their 2020 National Transformation goals, and most heads of government organizations want tools to monitor the execution of these projects. We have developed a simple solution targeted at executives and ministers and have proposed it to some government agencies. It has been received extremely well, and in 2019, we will actively promote it to other government sectors. Since we already have prebuilt products and components, it is extremely easy and quick for us to respond to varying requests by customizing our prebuilt components to address the demands of the various government sectors. Many are approaching the deadline and realizing they are late. Everyone has deliverables, and we give them a viable option. We have a proven success story and a great reputation in the market.
In 2019, do you expect to derive revenue from PPP and open source?
We expect PPP will still be a significant portion of our business with managed services also expected to grow significantly. However, Tamkeen is not only in it for the financial rewards; we are a government-owned company, and our main goal is to provide high-quality jobs in the IT sector for Saudi citizens, male or female, while helping the public sector achieve its 2020 National Transformation goals and ultimately help us all achieve Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.