Complete digital transformation is no longer just a consideration, but will prove to be a sound strategic and long-term investment for the emirate of Sharjah, experts said at the inaugural edition of the ‘NexTech: The Formula for Digital Transformation Excellence’ event.
Organised by Sahab Smart Solutions, the event is a new technology initiative which seeks to highlight exciting new possibilities in digital transformation for the emirate’s government departments. The event drew the participation of over 50 senior officials and key decision makers. The event was held in partnership with the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah.
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.
The attendees put forth a series of recommendations including the need to enhance joint investments between the public and private sectors to develop programmes, 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.
Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Digital Transformation in Sharjah, said that the government of Sharjah, in line with the UAE’s strategy, continues its ambitious digitalisation efforts that compete 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.”
He added that 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.”
“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,” added Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, executive chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), explained that digital transformation 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. “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.”
Studies have revealed that IT teams spend more than a third of their time on digital integration projects, which costs large enterprises $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, said Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of Sahab Smart Solutions.
“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,” he said.