Iraq’s Business Future to Benefit from Rapid Technology Adoption

United Nations and Independent Analysts Hail Transformational Power of IT

Baghdad, IraqIraq’s future business development requires structured and timely access to cutting-edge information and communications technology solutions, industry experts and United Nations officials agree.

“The benefits from IT use are not an outcome of the technology itself but of what technology enables, for example, access to information which may reduce transaction costs and improve the quality of customer relations, or use of software to manage inventory and labor,” said Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Analysis Section of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“As demand for IT services and applications grow, there will be an expanding market for tailored applications that can be used by individuals, enterprises as well as the public sector. This is not least important in countries where another language than English dominates. Without relevant local content and locally adapted applications, IT uptake will be slow -; especially among smaller enterprises.”

Published data from the top four ISPs in Iraq (Halasat Telecom, Earthlink, Rose Telecom and ATS-Iraq) estimates that five million Iraqis were online in 2010, whereas market research firm reports that Iraq had more than 25 million mobile subscribers at the end of June 2011 – a penetration rate of 75.6%. By the end of 2015, this figure could rise to 93%.

Having committed to an in-country business-development presence in Iraq since February 2012, SAP is determined to distinguish in the potential-rich market for an ability to provide both enterprise and government entities with the technological resource to scale in a rapid, cost-effective manner.

SAP is also aiming to stand out for going beyond business as usual, with initiatives like the SAP University Alliance (UAP) expected to boost local knowledge and stoke vocational skill sets.

The alliance provides University faculties with the tools and resources needed to teach students how technology can help enable integrated business processes and strategic thinking, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable skills with the potential to add immediate value to the Iraqi IT sector.

SAP’s UAP has to date signed up 26 institutions across Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and the company aims double that figure within the next four years.

Supporting existing business, engineering and IT programs, the UAP provides hands-on experience of key SAP technologies, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), and puts theory into practice through demonstrations, case studies and research.

“Iraq is a country where IT innovation can be truly transformational and provide the very basis for a more sustainable, connected and empowered future that not only optimizes and capitalizes on natural resources, but also serves as the basis for a diverse, knowledge-based economy,” said SAP’;s Baghdad-based Mohammed Al-Najjar.

An Iraqi national, Al Najjar has over three decades experience of managing and implementing innovative business solutions and introducing industry and global best practices. He has completed projects of note for entities such as the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Telecommunication, as well as a host of private sector enterprises.

Rapid Deployment Solutions

One of SAP’s trump cards in Iraq’;s burgeoning market is its Rapid Deployment Solutions offering, which provides significant operational process improvements across the broad categories of database and technology, analytics, cloud, and mobile.

Fully localized and with a defined scope and pre-determined costs, entire packages -; including preconfigured software and implementation services -; Rapid Deployment Solutions can be up and running-; in a matter of weeks.

Rapid Deployment Solutions make it easy for potential customers to envision how to accelerate their organization’;s leap from current state to performing with world-class systems.

SAP believes the solution’;s flexibility and sheer capacity to kick-start procedural step-changes can be a profound launch-pad for companies in Iraq to develop along more efficient and sustainable lines.

“Customer needs in Iraq are much like the needs of customers in other regions,” explained Al Najjar.

“A robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to manage financial, operational, and infrastructure processes and data. Likewise, customers are interested in Human Capital Management (HCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and mobility solutions.”

Boasting a 41-year-old legacy of continuous growth across 25 industries, and in excess of 197,000 customers worldwide, SAP is determined to position Iraq as an important part of an ambitious four-year additional investment plan across the MENA region.

In particular, SAP’s oil and gas experience is set to stand out. The majority of Fortune 500 companies in the oil and gas industry currently running SAP, and the company has 25 years’; worth of experience providing integrated and specifically tailored software solutions covering the full oil and gas industry value chain, including upstream, supply and trading, refining and manufacturing, downstream marketing and retailing, optimal management of assets, as well as safe and sustainable operations.

“SAP is a firm believer in Iraq, and we are committed to doing all we can to help its businesses and government run better,” added Al-Najjar.