SMARTER AND BETTER

Qatar 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

Shoura is using a tried and tested approach to accelerate digital transformation in all sectors and achieve the vision of a smart Qatar.

Najat AbdulRaheem
BIOGRAPHY

Najat AbdulRaheem is the founder and CEO of Shoura Business Group. She has more than 15 years of experience in strategy, innovation, business development, customer experience, and ICT. Previously, she was the contact center director and the director of business development at Ooredoo, a telecom company. She holds a bachelor's in computer science from Qatar University and a master's degree in IT from Long Island University. She also studied several leadership and innovation building programs at some of the most renowned business schools in the world, including Harvard Business School, HEC-Paris, and MIT.

What encouraged you to focus on the health sector?
Providing sustainable healthcare with better outcomes and cost-effectiveness is one of the key objectives of Qatar's national vision. The healthcare sector is fragmented, and it demands more innovation and digital health solutions like a central patient health record, virtual consultation, and telehealth. Although the Ministry of Public Health has been doing a great job in implementing the national health strategy, there are a number of challenges that we need to overcome to improve the quality of healthcare while maintaining costs. This can best be done through innovation and PPPs. This is what led us to establish Shoura, which is today known as a fast-growing company that provides technological solutions and consultation services. It is powered by an international network of partners that aim to accelerate the digital transformation in Qatar. An increasing number of corporates have realized the values and uniqueness we bring to the table. For example, we were the key partner of various consortiums bidding for TASMU initiatives launched by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Are you focusing only on healthcare, or are you working in other sectors as well?
We serve other sectors and are not only limited to healthcare. Shoura is a master reseller of Governance, Performance, Risk, and Compliance (GPRC), the leading software for businesses. It enables organizations to implement corporate governance, continually improve their business performance, manage risk, and stay on top of compliance. It offers an easy way for organizations to address a specific performance need or take a holistic approach looking at a broad spectrum of solutions, including performance management, project and portfolio management, employee performance management, KPIs, dashboards, and analytics. In 2018, we won three projects for Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Qatar University, and Qatar Civil Aviation Authority. At Shoura, we either source the right solution from international markets or develop it internally. Notably, Shoura is the sole owner of Smart Communication and Analytics Learning Engine (SCALE), which bridges the gap between interactive voice response (IVR) technology and electronic medical records using HL7 protocol to help reduce the cost of patient care and provide significant insight into business performance.

What opportunities do you foresee in the coming years within the health sector, and what are the gaps?
There are many opportunities that have not yet been tapped, such as data analytics, IoT, VR, and telemedicine. We want to bring healthcare services to patients for non-critical cases. Healthcare providers need to change their standards, regulations, and processes to speed up the adoption of technological innovations and scale them.

What is your assessment of Qatar's potential as a technological hub?
Over the last 10 years, Qatar has established many entities to support technology, innovation, and incubation to develop and commercialize local tech-based products and services. Qatar also attracted multinational companies to participate in various tenders and projects and collaborate with local technology companies. For example, Qatar Smart Nation program is developing Qatar's ICT infrastructure to transform the country. We work on major strategies and projects with key stakeholders in Qatar to understand local challenges. We bring innovative thinking and a fresh approach that has been tested and validated in other similar markets. Our strategic partners and international experts are also our key competitive advantages.

What main outcomes do you expect from QITCOM 2019?
QITCOM 2019 has started to bring in SMEs like us and link them to big corporates. In 2018, we were talking about digital transformation, and now we have new digital trends. We are no longer talking about mobile apps but IoT, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and smart cities. Therefore, we have to change the mindset. There are companies coming in with different solutions, initiatives, and out-of-the-box thinking. I believe QITCOM is not only a place for showcasing solutions but most importantly, it is a platform for bringing all the stakeholders together in order to accelerate digital transformation in all sectors and achieve the vision of a smart Qatar.