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Illuminating Innovation and Partnership in the UAE

May 26, 2016 by Courtney Robinson 252

The United Arab Emirates represents a big opportunity for SAP. CEO Bill McDermott recently visited the UAE to help illuminate SAP’s strengths and why it should be a partner of choice for the region.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a strong commitment to innovation and to ensuring it has happy and productive citizens. The UAE is currently looking to the future and taking steps to ensure its citizens can fully benefit from the digital economy. Initiatives like Vision 2021 are putting people at the center of everything. By fostering education and innovation and by driving digital transformation with several significant initiatives and investments, the UAE aims to create and sustain a society of “happy, creative and empowered people.” For SAP’s public sector business, the UAE represents a big opportunity to partner with forward-thinking governments and support our mission of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.

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About the UAE

  • The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Emirates, was established in December 1971. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.
  • Its capital is Abu Dhabi city.
  • 97% of UAEs of land (83,600 sq km) is desert.
  • In 2014, it was populated by 8.4 mio. people (Economist Intelligence Unit estimate). With 39%, Abu Dhabi made up the largest population group in UAE, followed by Dubai with 29% and Sharjah with 18%. 14% of the population live in the other emirates.
  • Arabic is the official language, but English is widely understood, and Hindi and Urdu are common among migrants.

UAE Vision 2021

UAE Vision 2021 was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In speaking about the Vision, he has said, “An ambitious nation like ours cannot achieve its goals by relying on its past achievements. We must work harder, be more innovative, more organized, and more vigilant in examining trends and challenges that will face us.”

The UAE Vision focuses on six national priorities which represent the key focus sectors of government action in the coming year:

  • Cohesive Society and Preserved Identity
  • Safe Public and Fair Judiciary
  • Competitive Knowledge Economy
  • First-rate Education System
  • World-class Healthcare
  • Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure

Dubai Plan 2021

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has also formulated a plan for the City of Dubai which aligns with the UAE plan. Dubai Plan 2021 has six themes, each highlighting a group of strategic developmental aims for Dubai, and together forming the city’s vision for 2021.

  • People: “City of Happy, Creative & Empowered People” (personal development, health)
  • Society: “An Inclusive & Cohesive Society” (diversity, importance of family)
  • Experience: “The Preferred Place to Live, Work & Visit” (education, health, housing, safety)
  • Place: “A Smart & Sustainable City” (fully connected, integrated infrastructure; sustainable)
  • Economy: “A Pivotal Hub in the Global Economy” (top 5 for trade, logistics, finance, and tourism)
  • Government: “A Pioneering and Excellent Government” (government as authority for the people)

To help build strong partnerships and illuminate SAP’s unique capabilities, CEO Bill McDermott and the MENA leadership team visited several customers and dignitaries in the UAE on May 24 and participated in a Majlis roundtable, a special gathering where ideas can be exchanged.


About SAP in the UAE

  • SAP in the UAE is a standalone Market Unit in the EMEA South region, which is headed by Steve Tzikakis, General Manager of EMEA South
  • SAP UAE Managing Director is Tayfun Topkoç
  • SAP first established direct presence in the region in late 2007
  • SAP has 3 locations in the UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the SAP Training and Development Institute Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • DC ranks SAP as the leading SW Business Applications vendor in UAE
  • SAP sees excellent results with cloud solutions and sees opportunity to accelerate their adoption in the Public Sector
  • SAP UAE 2016 Strategy is to support both the public and private sectors in their digital transformation.

Approximately 50 key decision makers and influencers from government and the private sector joined the SAP team for the gathering. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman, Smart Dubai Office, served as host. Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director General (CEO), Smart Dubai Office, joined McDermott for a fireside discussion on how government entities can use real-time solutions to enhance citizen engagement in the future.

McDermott with Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office, and members of the Smart Dubai Office sharing a moment after the Majlis event that was held under the patronage of Smart Dubai Office and SAP.

McDermott with Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office, and members of the Smart Dubai Office sharing a moment after the Majlis event that was held under the patronage of Smart Dubai Office and SAP.

The team also met with Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah. McDermott joined with him in expressing the intention to cooperate on a new Centre of Excellence for Digital Government, which has the potential to accelerate Sharjah’s Digital Economy. The Centre would be located in the American University of Sharjah (AUS) Enterprise’s planned Research, Technology, and Innovation (RTI) Park.

Hussain Al-Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer of AUS Enterprises, said: “SAP’s interest in the RTI Park is an important step forward in the development of this project in line with the vision of His Highness. The aim of the RTI Park is for local and global companies to benefit from both world-class facilities and academic research capabilities. Ultimately this will create opportunities for graduates and others, and for the broader economy. Sharjah e-government will help facilitate the collaboration between the Innovation Center of Excellence and various Sharjah public and private sector entities.”

From SAP’s Smart Cities initiative to Customer Engagement Commerce, Design Thinking, Government ERP (GRP) and a Talent & Learning Management Platform developed for the UAE labor force and student community, SAP’s solutions and initiatives are well positioned to support the region’s goals.

Sumaia Khalifa Bin Hammad, Director Of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Smart Dubai Office, with her signed copy of Bill’s book “Winners Dream.”

Sumaia Khalifa Bin Hammad, Director Of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Smart Dubai Office, with her signed copy of McDermott’s book “Winners Dream.”

As the trip concluded, McDermott commented, “I greatly admire His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s UAE Vision 2021. SAP is honored to have the opportunity to partner and co-innovate with leading institutions in the UAE to make this vision a reality.”

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