SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT
Yasser Alobaidan is a visionary leader who connects industries through digitization and leverages digital disruption to transform how governments and industries function. In his current role as Founder and CEO of Jawraa, Yasser directs the company’s operations, including its subsidiaries and each of its five business units. Under his leadership, Jawraa received Saudi Arabia’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) license, securing its position as an industry pioneer. Yasser is the architect behind the company’s continuing expansion with long-term projects across the public and private sectors.
In terms of business, the first month was particularly challenging , as we did not know how long the situation would continue. We had to find a way to continue our business operations and like many others, change our strategy to cope with the new reality. However, where there are challenges, there are opportunities and there are three areas that we performed and excelled in. One is when the Ministry of Education closed schools, which created two new opportunities for us. The first area is devices. We usually sell around 20,000 devices a year, but due to COVID-19 and the introduction of remote learning for students across the country, we sold more than 80,000 devices in 2020. The second area is support functions. In many of these schools, the teachers, students, and parents had to immediately switch to a fully online schooling system, and they needed to know how to use the new technology for education. We worked with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Telecommunications and Information to provide training to education institutes, schools, teachers, and students on how to use this technology. We also helped students manage their time and utilize the device, and we helped parents get the best from the device, to monitor the productivity of the student, and so on. These two areas were extremely beneficial in positioning ourselves as a leader in digital transformation, specifically in the education sector. For the non-education sector, we have developed new tools and discovered new partners that help many organizations to grow amid COVID-19, including automatic queuing systems, automatic air purifiers, and air ultraviolet cleaning with robots. These are some of the products we brought to Saudi and sold to many customers. We have increased our resources by a minimum of 20% in the past 12 months. We have doubled our revenue and tripled our net income, so that was a great achievement for us.
Currently, Jawraa has three lines of business: hardware, software, and services. With the pandemic, both hardware and consultancy and managed services have increased. Our third business unit is anything related to software, such as licenses, the cloud, systems, or applications. These are things such as Microsoft Edge, 365, Teams, SAS model, or even developing an ERP system. We have seen tremendous growth in Microsoft Edge, Teams, and the SAS services that we sell to our market. All these three business units saw similar growth trajectories in 2020.
This goes back to our digital philosophy when we set up the company as a partner in digital transformation. Digital transformation is a mix of three things: IT, telecom, and media. We have been doing a great job enabling the IT infrastructure and IT services with our customers. We have great experience building telecommunication services. We felt the best way of merging these three along with the new media today is not via TV or satellite, but from mobile phones in terms of entertainment, streaming, and how much time one spends just enjoying the streamlines. These are three particular areas that are combining to create a digital journey. Applying for a license is extremely important to connect these three pieces together and build the story.
I believe life will not return to what it was before. There has been a huge activation in terms of digitalization. With going online and COVID-19, we have seen a number of challenges such as the logistics system. We have seen a huge demand on the logistics system, and that has tested the entire country and perhaps the region. There were many formations in Saudi and elsewhere on how to move the logistics system, make it easier to expand or measure, and so on, and we have seen the results. Most of the local unicorns are either in logistics, fintech, or other services related to the post-COVID situation that help life to continue in a much better way.
As a leader in digital transformation and management, there are a number of areas you need to work on once you hit a new milestone. You need to build a system and an ecosystem that ensures you can perform better than the year before. When we hit that number, the board agreed to invest more in the company to grow the business in 2021 and grow at least 15% YoY. That is why we invested in the MVNO, which will generate large revenues in the coming years. We are going into investments in many applications where we can serve the market, as we see a gap. We are expanding our consultancy services to support other organizations that need to go into digital. We are hiring more resources in the field and in sales to ensure this new milestone of revenue can offer us another step toward growth.
SAUDI ARABIA - Tourism
Executive Board Member, Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies
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