May 19, 2020

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain: driving MENA's digital transformation

Technology
Digital Transformation
Foreign Investment
venture capital
Leah Netabai
2 min
Al Salam Bank-Bahrain: driving MENA's digital transformation

To drive investment opportunities for the MENA tech industry, Al Salam Bank-Bahrain (ASBB) has partnered with MSA Capital (MSA).

Total venture capital fund: US$50mn

Under the kingdoms recent Investment Limited Partnership Law, the privately funded venture - known as MEC Venture - will target opportunities to implement innovative Chinese technologies into business models in the MENA region using Bahrain as a gateway. 

The MEC Venture will invest in multiple sectors and technology including, ecommerce, fintech, logistics, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and networking systems.

What does this mean for the MENA region? 

The fund aims to drive capital, as well as technology flow and cooperation between MENA and China. By introducing this fresh approach of value creation and knowledge transfer the region will benefit from improved best practices that have been established in the Chinese tech-industry. 

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In addition, the MENA region will gain access to ASBB’s market presence and MSA’s extensive portfolio which includes core sector leaders in healthcare big data, gene sequencing, electric vehicles, food delivery, ride hailing, micro mobility, and cross border e-commerce. 

“We believe that the MENA region is nearing an inflection point that can be accelerated through the adoption of Chinese-inspired mobile-first business models. We are proud to partner with Al Salam Bank-Bahrain to establish MEC Ventures, and see Bahrain as a hyper-efficient, user-friendly gateway to the MENA region, where we can collaborate with regulators, entrepreneurs, and strategic corporate partners to pilot new business models and serve as a hub for regional expansion,” said Ben Harburg, Managing Partner at MSA Capital.

For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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