DUBAI 5 May 2021: Fifty senior officials and key decision makers part of the Sharjah government have stressed that digital transformation is no longer just a consideration for the emirate, but an area equipped with strategic decision making followed by long-term investments, human capital training and consistent efforts to boost the emirate’s economic performance, innovation, leadership and sustainability across sectors.
They were gathered at the inaugural edition of “NexTech: The Formula for Digital Transformation Excellence”, a new technology initiative designed by Sahab Smart Solutions, which seeks to highlight exciting new possibilities in digital transformation for the emirate’s government departments. The event was held in partnership with the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah on Sunday (May 2) evening at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC).
The officials analysed the current state of digitisation in Sharjah, focused on challenges and opportunities, and discussed future possibilities for both Sharjah and the UAE. They highlighted that upskilling the nation’s human resources with the right policies and legislative framework, a strong focus on making the nation’s cybersecurity practices more robust, and full integration among different sectors were pillars of successful digital transformation.
Moderated by Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of Sahab Smart Solutions, the talks were led by Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah; Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi; Asma Rashed Sultan Bin Tulaiah Secretary-General of the Sharjah Executive Council; and Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Civil Defence.
Dr. Eng Khalifa Musabbah Al Tunaiji, Chairman of the Sharjah Directorate of Housing; Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) also attended.
The attendees put forth a series of recommendations including the need to enhance joint investments between the public and private sectors to develop programs, platforms and digital solutions to create secure and advanced public services, and subsequently, make digital governance a reality. The private sector, they said, would commit the required capital for this transformation, while the public sector will facilitate the process by designing laws and developing a policy environment that protects and safeguards data through advanced security systems.
“The government of Sharjah, in line with the UAE’s strategy, continues its ambitious digitalisation efforts that competes with the best in the region. We are looking at evolving a digital environment that connects all services to truly benefit customers. Spurred by the ambitious vision of our wise leadership, we are well on our way to positioning Sharjah as an integral part of the nation’s digital gateway. Our ambitions are guided by our wise leadership which supports the Sharjah government and requires us to double up our responsibilities to enhance people’s quality of life by strengthening the relationship between institutions and community,” said Sheikh Fahim.
Speaking about Sharjah Digital Platform, he further added: “The launch of the Sharjah Digital Platform was a milestone in the emirate’s digital transformation journey. This platform will enable us to forge Sharjah’s digital identity, which will not only cater to citizens and residents within the emirate, but those living abroad and have a connection with it through investments or other ventures. It is vital to connect them all to Sharjah, and so this platform is being designed to serve them all.”
The next three years will be crucial as we invest in the future, bolstering our digital infrastructure to enhance our competitive edge. This is a great opportunity for us to forge ahead of the competition.”
For his part, Sheikh Saoud said: “Digital transformation strengthens integration between government bodies and unifies service gateways; it reinforces the emirate’s digital identity, shapes smart cities and societies, and makes our country a global model in the field. Digital transformation is a key tool for the advancement of people’s quality of life.”
A strong message came from Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, who said that in the age of rapid technological advancements, Sharjah instead to stay ahead and not play catch up.
“These developments across sectors are being led by people who are driven by innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. The UAE’s leadership prioritises innovation and creativity, has enacted policies and legislations, and launched initiatives and programs to incentivise digital leaders in society who will help us build a supportive environment fully capable of serving our communities, now and in the future.”
In agreement with Colonel Sami, Marwan Al Sarkal remarked: “Digital transformation is no longer an option; it is a necessity for all countries. It is a long-term investment with great cumulative and sustainable returns that will transform not only the business environment but add to the quality of life and services offered to residents.”
He added: “COVID-19 has encouraged a largescale adoption of digital transformation movement in all sectors, most notably education where it has become the lifeline for institutions as well as teachers and students. It has also brought home the fact that digital transformation and the adoption of smart solutions are crucial for the development of vital sectors, including healthcare.
For his part, Dr. Eng Khalifa Musabbah Al Tunaiji, said: “Digital transformation is the latest direction fully embraced by our country, which will result in an expansion of sectors, and the emergence of new ones, in addition to the creation of jobs that require new and specialised skillsets. We are looking at turning a new leaf in the growth and advancement of our communities.”
He added: “One of the most important aspects of digital transformation is that it will lead to continuous development of the educational process, while also advancing human resources. These are vital for the progress and development we seek.”
“Sahab is committed to the digital integration of Sharjah’s public services and this session is meant to help and support the private and public sector entities in their journey to deliver optimal services which will take us forward on our path to becoming an advanced and competitive economy.”
While making a presentation, he said: “Studies have revealed that IT teams spend more than a third of their time on digital integration projects, which costs large enterprises US$3.5 million in annual labour costs. With the increase and acceleration of digital initiatives, integration has emerged as a critical factor in determining the success and speed of digital transformation across sectors. These figures prove that smart solutions and digitalisation are major influencers on the national economy and income, and instrumental to social development and progress.”
The Sahab CEO continued: “Our progress in digital transformation will dictate our status on the global economy map. Digitalisation is mandatory to survive due to the rapid development and changes in business models and in our lifestyle in general. To succeed in the digital world, institutions will have to focus on five key elements: intelligence, ability to communicate, discipline, empowerment and alignment, in addition to openness and transparency. These factors will determine the success of organisations in the near future.”
Established in 2018 by the Sharjah Asset Management Holding (SAMH), Sahab Smart Solutions is the preferred technology partner of the Government of Sharjah, leading digital transformation across the emirate while supporting the UAE’s goals in innovation and digitalisation.
Sahab drives digital transformation across government platforms by implementing innovative smart solutions that are transparent, data-driven, accessible, and user-oriented. Sahab aims to enhance the business performance of government entities by leveraging their capabilities for economic growth and a better quality of life for Sharjah’s and UAE’s citizens and residents.