END-TO-END SOLUTIONS

Oman 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

With a greater shift toward digital and going paperless in all sectors, Al Madina Group is poised for exponential growth.

Sheila H. Jamal
BIOGRAPHY
Sheila H. Jamal took over Al Madina in 2004 with the goal of creating the most innovative IT and security documents organization in Oman. As a result of her educational background in industrial engineering, she has emerged as one of the most successful businesswomen in the Sultanate. She is globally recognized in the field of documents security in addition to the recognition she has received from the Al Mara Women in Excellence Awards. Over the past year, she has traveled to 34 countries, promoting Al Madina in addition to mentoring young ladies that are starting higher education or their careers.

How is Al Madina helping to digitize government functions?

A great deal of our projects are e-forms and e-governance; therefore, we are putting everything on the digital world map. We do this for the public sector and now see growing interest from the private sector as everyone seeks to go paperless. Through the National Records and Archives Authority, the government is setting certain standards for documentation, management systems, and related digitization activities to ensure everybody is compliant with their regulations.

What solutions are your high-growth sectors demanding?

A great deal of our growth is in the energy sector. They all need the IT solutions that incorporate dashboards and analytical solutions. They are moving everything online so that all data are there, and they can just generate reports to use for decision making.

What trends have you noticed in the banking sector's digital needs?

Traditionally, banks have kept their hardware and equipment extremely centralized, though I have seen a reversal of thinking over the past year. Before, banks would invest in equipment, keep it in one place, and then send other materials to remote areas. This can be challenging and does not suit many customers because of the time and delivery needed to send materials to faraway recipients. There has since been an effort to decentralize and have equipment at branches now. In the end, this is better service for the end customers.

How have you seen the shift to e-payments in your markets?

The future is moving in the direction of e-payments. Many African countries are fairly advanced in mobile e-payments, which benefits the telecom providers rather than banks, which is a major shift. Part of the shift to e-payments is out of necessity. For example, due to sanctions some countries do not have a credit card system so they use mobile payments; other countries do not have the infrastructure for point of sales so they also utilize mobile payment systems.

What are Al Madina's objectives over the next 12 months?

We are focusing on growing in our foreign markets. We are already established in a few countries and want to take on more responsibilities in these countries to develop end-to-end solutions utilizing our years of experience and knowledge. We also want to get better at dealing with our main challenge, which is communicating. English is not as common as one would think.