Al-Ahed Trading and Contract Co Ltd was established in 1975 to serve the oil and gas industry. Since then, the family-owned business has expanded into a highly successful and reputable group of companies that provides a range of products and services to a growing number of sectors including energy, petrochemicals,  fertilizer manufacturers, refineries, power, water desalination, and sewage treatment plants.

“Business success relies on our access to the right data at the right time,” Jaber Al Sulaiti, chairman of Al-Ahed Holding in Qatar, says. “Our goal is to use digital transformation as a key differentiator in making our company more agile and responsive to market conditions.”

Today the group comprises three companies with operations including engineering, procurement, installation, commissioning (EPIC) contracts, maintenance and shutdowns for oil and gas, trading, services, and non-destructive testing (NDT).

Despite its successes to date, the leadership team accepts that only technology-driven companies will survive — and thrive — in an increasingly competitive business environment.

To drive greater operational efficiency and gain a competitive edge in its customer relationships, the group has recently taken the first step on its digital transformation journey with the successful implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud as a new digital core.

“We selected SAP after careful due diligence of cost analysis and for its track record of transformation,” says Jassim Al-Mansoori, CEO of Al-Ahed Holding. “Best practices and automated workflows will enable us to optimize our core business and financial processes, as well as improve key areas such as corporate governance and risk management. SAP is also highly innovative and deploying in the cloud gives us regular access to the latest technology developments.”

The first phase of the ambitious implementation was achieved in record time across two of the group’s companies: Al-Ahed Trading and Contracting and Doha Petroleum Company Limited (DOPET). Under the leadership of DOPET GM Mohammed Al Saee and Al-Ahed Trading and Contracting GM Mendonsa, challenges including COVID-19, workplace closures, absence of SAP consultants physically at the workplace, supply chain disruptions, and so on, have not hampered the enthusiasm for implementation.

As Al-Ahed Holding Chief Financial Officer Singaraju notes, this was one of the critical success factors for the implementation.

“The commitment and involvement of top management is of paramount importance for transformation,” he explains. “The biggest challenge has been changing the mindset. Our people had been using the old system for years — this is like moving from a bicycle to a Formula 1 car.”

To demonstrate this support, Al-Mansoori attended a recent meeting to announce the success of the SAP implementation. He spoke of its importance in the context of the company’s “3 S” pillars – strategy, staffing, and systems – and how the new digital core would make the organization more agile and revitalize its forward-looking approach.

Al-Ahed Holding executives

Working with the right partners is also critical. The implementation was supported by Qatar-based technology consultants iHorizons, together with Highbar Technocrat in India, a leading IT solutions provider for the infrastructure industry.

Al-Mansoori points out that the imminent go-live is only the first step on the group’s transformation journey: “We have taken a progressive approach with SAP S/4HANA Cloud and have the right foundations in place to go forward. The evolution of a traditional business by using digital transformation as differentiator would be the key to future success.”