Posted by Charbel Fakhoury, VP EMEA Services
There’s never been a more exciting time to work in the Arab World. Mobile and internet are transforming the region, and it’s a revolution that shows no signs of abating. This rapid pace of change is what has long excited me about this part of the world. Its technology-catalyzed transformation harbors unparalleled potential – for individuals and businesses alike.
Take the average person’s internet use in the Arab World for instance: 53 percent spend between three and seven hours daily online, and 25 percent spend over 8 hours online per day. As people spend more and more time online, ICT will play an ever-more crucial role in growing and developing the regional economy.
This makes my new responsibility as Vice President of Enterprise Services for Europe Middle East and Africa a particularly exhilarating one. It’s our responsibility to help our customers meet both their business and people objectives by effectively deploying and supporting Microsoft products, devices and services. But when technology is moving this fast, we need to be constantly one step ahead of the curve.
For the majority of my time at Microsoft, I’ve had a multi-geography remit. And over the past four years as Vice President of Microsoft Middle East & Africa (MEA) for the Sales, Marketing, and Services Group (SMSG), I led Microsoft’s Regional Headquarters and business in 79 countries. Indeed, the EMEA Enterprise Services organization has an equally diverse sphere of activity: 54 countries. Of these 54, 12 are based in the Arab World.
From Country Manager of the Eastern Mediterranean region to Country Manager for the Gulf region, throughout my fifteen-year career at Microsoft, I have always worked in the Arab World:. So I like to think I know the region, and its challenges and opportunities, pretty comprehensively. I often think of the Arab World region a bit like an entrepreneur who is passionate about his/her idea, eager to make a difference on the world, dreaming of the potential, at the same time challenged by change and nurtured with resilience. The Arab world has talent, pride, and conviction. Throughout my tenure at Microsoft I have witnessed customers and partners leveraging technological trends to build their businesses, starting local, going regional, and reaching global distinction. Some examples include companies like Aramex, Emirates Airlines, Veripark, ITWorx, and many more of which that I had the fortune to know their leaders and experience their innovation.
As the mobile and technology revolution gathers pace in the Arab World, my 4,000-strong team of services professionals and I are dedicated to helping businesses and consumers maximize the value of their investment in Microsoft technologies.
In a mobile- and cloud-first world, we must deliver solutions that lead with mobile, social, intelligent and natural technology. From deploying a mission-critical application platform for the United Arab Emirates’ Prime Minister’s Office to delivering productivity and collaboration services for TFKB (Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi), Enterprise Services is already helping our customers make things happen on a daily basis.
Having only been in my new role for a matter of days, I relish the endless opportunities that this type of technology presents in the Arab World, as it continues to reshape how we both live and work.
Hard work combined with talented people, is a magic formula. In July 2009 during a large company event taking place in the United States called MGX, where Microsoft recognizes the best performance globally, on that day as the GM of Gulf subsidiary, I was fortunate to be recognized with two trophies for my team performance across all company priorities. It was a moment of pride and gratitude, and it showed that a diverse team from the Arab world can perform and compete on global standards.
“Believe you can and you're halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt!