May 19, 2020

Business Chief MEA - July issue out now

United Cooperative Assurance
Maureen Maingi
1 min
Business Chief MEA - July issue out now
As the new Editor-in-Chief for Business Chief Middle East & Africa, I am very excited to introduce our July edition, which is packed with the latest...

As the new Editor-in-Chief for Business Chief Middle East & Africa, I am very excited to introduce our July edition, which is packed with the latest business and technological advancements across the regions. 

In this month’s issue, Laura Mullan speaks to Willem Both, the Executive Vice President, Information Technology, at Kerzner International about how the company combines innovative entertainment and disruptive technology to deliver truly luxurious world class hospitality. “We’ve drawn insights from our data and empowered colleagues by giving them the information that they need to deliver an incredible experience,” he comments. 

Elsewhere, Sean Galea-Pace sat down with Waheed Y Khayyat, CIO of United Cooperative Assurance, to discuss how his firm utilises technology to transform the insurance industry. He also spoke with Khalil Feghali, Senior Procurement Associate/Assistant Director of Procurement at LAU, on the supply chain strategies implemented by his organisation in order to sustain higher education in Lebanon. 

In addition, Business Chief explores what makes Jeddah the economic hub for Saudi Arabia, as well as looking at the top CEOs across the region. Our leadership piece features an exclusive interview with Chief Technology Officer Ramzi Alqrainy of Opensooq, who shared with Business Chief the technical innovation that makes the company stand out. 

Click here to read the full issue!  


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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”


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