DIGITIZATION AT THE CORE

Lebanon 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

All of Everteam's solutions and technologies have been developed and injected with new elements stemming from AI or the IoT.

Antoine Hraoui
BIOGRAPHY
Antoine Hraoui started his career in large multinationals in the US and France before co-founding, successfully developing, and selling IT start-ups. He subsequently invested in Everteam, a French IT SME, developing it to one of the leading European IT groups. He holds a master’s degree in computer information systems.

Is Lebanon ready to embark upon a path of digital transformation?

According to a report released by the Digital Arabia Network Mapping Project this year, proper digital transformation is concentrated within two sectors of the Lebanese economy, i.e. the innovation business (46.9%) and education and research (20.3%). This leaves out other sectors where digitization has still not been embraced. Digitization in the public sector has involved only a few departments and overall still largely represents virgin territory. Indeed, it is worrying that Lebanon's ranking in the e-Government Development Index for 2018 has slipped by 26 places in two years (from 73rd in 2016 to 99th in 2018). Although there are still several challenges to face, Lebanon is waiting to transition to a model of digitized business and e-government. What the country now needs is a unified plan coordinated by a central body at governmental level to kick-start this transformation. In regional terms, Lebanon is generally considered to fare well when it comes to digitization. The country has promoted itself as a tech and digital hub through a series of successful initiatives, and companies have been very receptive to incorporating elements of digital change into their structure.

Will the reforms and development plans channeled through the CEDRE conference promote digital transformation?

Digital transformation will be an important component of the set of reforms demanded by the international community—or, in some sense, a necessary by-product. The highly anticipated USD11 billion of investments and funds will only be opened up conditional to the implementation of a set of governance reforms aimed at fighting corruption and improving transparency and efficiency. Thus, e-government should be a central pillar of this strategy. The digitization of all governmental processes and transactions will increase transparency and limit fraudulent behavior, because all actions will be logged, available for scrutiny. E-government will increase the trust between citizens and governmental institutions, improve the service offered, and boost the efficiency of the whole chain. However, the actual implementation of a unified plan for e-government remains subject to the political will of the government.

How have technological innovations been incorporated into the company's development strategy?

Following the global rise in importance of new fields of technological innovation, Everteam has made this a core of its offering. This means every standard solution or technology that we offer has been developed and injected with new elements stemming from new tools for analytics, cloud storage, secure storage, robotics, AI, IoT, and much more. Everteam is currently venturing into new fields with strong potential for growth (such as big data and analytics). Integrating these fields with IoT software and services will strengthen our position in the market, responding to the increasing demand for higher efficiency and flexibility and improved customer satisfaction. Automated processes are now a core demand of customers from all sectors, who want to access and carry through operations as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What is Everteam's strategy for 2019?

Due to the ever-changing nature of this industry, constant expansion is a necessary strategy for us. Everteam's expansion strategy is multi-layered. This comprises first technological expansion, keeping up with innovation and incorporating this into our offering; this enables us to preemptively satisfy the needs and solve the challenges of any current or prospect client. Second, we are looking to expand geographically, extending our reach in the US and targeting new markets with accelerated growth and new customer pools, such as Central Asia and Africa. Third, we intend to pursue more acquisitions and expand our portfolio of companies, thus targeting an ever-larger range of sectors. We expect to see some positive changes in the coming year. The integration of digital transformation in the business fabric of the country is taking place more rapidly. Everteam is working on expanding its portfolio in order to encompass the needs of all governmental departments as well as all other sectors to become pioneers in digital transformation. In summary, 2018 was a good year, and we are proud of the many achievements we have accomplished in many countries in the Gulf such as paperless environment, government streamlining, and a centralized knowledge base.