SAGIA and SAP Proclaim IT Innovation Essential to KSA’s Business Future

SAGIA Governor and Co-CEO of World’s Leading Business Software Company Deliver Keynote Addresses in Riyadh; Islamic Development Bank and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center Celebrate as Winners of SAP’s Quality Award Program

Dubai, United Arab EmiratesA vibrant and innovative IT sector will be vital for business development and sustainable job creation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and German IT giant SAP.

The observation was made by SAGIA Governor His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh and SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott today during high-profile keynote speeches delivered to leading figures from the KSA business community.

“Cutting-edge IT will underpin every aspect of business development in KSA – from start-up and profitability to regional and worldwide influence – creating an environment that is conducive to innovation, transparency and, crucially, job creation,” said HE Al-Dabbagh, who was speaking as a part of the Middle East and Africa (MENA) leg of the SAP® World Tour 2011.

“SAGIA is committed to ensuring that KSA is a leader when it comes to business, and to do that we must continue to attract large-scale investment and engage in extensive knowledge-sharing programmes with visionary companies like SAP – companies that are here for the long-term and that bring with them progressive plans for a brighter future.”

SAP, ranked as the number one enterprise application software provider in the Middle East region by an IDC 2010 market report, has been a longstanding champion of business and knowledge creation in KSA.

Recent SAP projects of note in KSA include contracts to improve the operational efficiency of entities like Arabian Amines, alfanar , Saudi Arabian Airlines, Mohamed Yousef Naghi Group, Shaqra University, Tasnee Company, National Petrochemical Industries Co. (NATPET), Almarai Company, Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances Corporations (SPIMACO), Consolidated Can Manufacturing Company Ltd, Ismail Ali Abdudawood Trading Company (IATCO), along a range of major oil, gas and chemical companies.

During the past twelve months, SAP has also launched a Center of Excellence for Saudi Arabian chemical companies, while King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, Jabail Industrial College, Yanbu Industrial College, King Fahd University and Shaqra University have signed up for the knowledge and vocation-inspiring SAP University Alliance Program.

Bill McDermott, SAP Co-CEO and Executive Board member, said:

“SAP is proud to partner with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, bringing the incredible power of end-to-end enterprise digitization to this amazing high-growth country. Game-changing innovations like in-memory computing, mobility and cloud provide real-time data that will transform government and improve people’s lives. This will help make citizens safer and grow the local knowledge-based economy.”

McDermott’s visit to KSA coincided with an award ceremony for the annual SAP MENA Quality Awards, which celebrate customers that use SAP Quality Principles to effectively manage software implementations marked by multifaceted technical and business process requirements, excel in execution and deliver significant benefits, and achieve fast, low-cost implementations to accommodate today’s demands for rapid realization of return on investment.

This years’ KSA-based winners, triumphing in the award’s Small to Medium Sized Implementation category, were the Islamic Development Bank (Gold award) and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (bronze).

The former will now be shortlisted for the SAP Europe, Middle East and Africa Quality Award to be announced during SAP’s November expository business extravaganza, Sapphire NOW, in Madrid, Spain.

In addition to the exceptional achievement of the winners themselves, the awards are a shining testimony to the invaluable work undertaken by their implementation partners – SAP Field Services (IDB) and SSBS (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center).

The SAP® World Tour 2011 is a nuanced, multileveled initiative designed to enable dialog with influencers, customers, along with members of the ecosystem interested in partnering with SAP. Through interactive formats – including industry- and product-specific breakout sessions – participants will learn how the SAP solution portfolio can deliver customer value, consistently executing on strategy and growing profitably and sustainability.

During this year’s tour McDermott is also set take in stops in in Qatar (18 October), and the in United Arab Emirates (19 October).

The MENA-leg of the tour comes at a time of notable success for SAP in the region.

As well as consistently robust growth, SAP MENA has hired 100 new employees since August 2010 and recently opened new offices in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Qatar. In November 2010, SAP MENA announced it would double its resources within the next two years, with the majority of headcount focused on solution delivery. Today, the region accommodates more than 2100 qualified consultants and 75+ partners.

SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott and SAGIA Governor His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh delivered keynote speeches to leading figures from the KSA business community.