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Future IT Summit MEA 2021 was held at Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park.
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7th edition of Future IT Summit sees phenomenal response from key IT decision makers

The seventh edition of the Future IT Summit held on March 22 at Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, SRTIP, concluded with a remarkable success. The event was attended by over 200+ key dignitaries including CIOs, IT managers, IT heads, VP and directors of IT, CEOs, CTOs, CDO and CHRO from Middle East, Africa, SEA, Europe, and US markets.

The theme of the seventh edition of FITS was #StrongerTogether. It was in-line with the new normal which emerged in 2020 and saw the convergence of humans and machines in a way which had never happened before. Attendees could also attend the event virtually via GCF Convention Centre.

Attendees could also login for livestream at GCF Convention Centre.
Attendees could also login for livestream at GCF Convention Centre.

The event was inaugurated by keynote speaker, HE Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP and Ronak Samantaray, CEO of GEC Media Group and Co-Founder of Global CIO Forum along with other key dignitaries from the government and private sectors in the UAE.

Full house attendance at FITS MEA 2021.
Full house attendance at FITS MEA 2021.

Speakers at FITS MEA 2021:

  • Mansoor Hanif, Executive Director of Engineering in Technology and Digital sector at NEOM
  • Ahmad Almulla, Digital Transformation Advisor
  • Samer Semaan, Channel and Alliance Manager, ME, Pure Storage
  • Saurabh Jain, Channel, Solutions Director, Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Huawei
  • Tim Chen, Senior Channel Business Development Manager, Alibaba Cloud
  • Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO of Dubai Investments
  • Anshul Srivastav, CIO, Emirates Post

Below are the key highlights of the event:


HE Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP

HE Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP

HE Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP delivered keynote address at FITS MEA 2021 and highlighted the efforts on technology transformation and innovation. He also highlighted the steps taken by SRTIP in cutting-edge technologies to propel UAE in digital transformation initiatives.


Mansoor Hanif, Executive Director of Engineering in Technology and Digital sector at NEOM

Mansoor Hanif, Executive Director of Engineering in Technology and Digital sector at NEOM.

Mansoor Hanif started the concept keynote with a powerful statement that NEOM will have a red carpet for investors and not red-tapeism. Hanif highlighted how The Line will have a positive impact on lifestyle, economy, and environment.

He also spoke about three key pillars namely Connect, Compute and Contextualise which are integral to NEOM. Hanif highlighted how human and machine interface can converge at NEOM and the cognitive city will accelerate machine intelligence. Hanif stressed that human and machine relationship needs to evolve to trust from mistrust.


Ahmad Almulla, Digital Transformation Advisor

Ahmad Almulla, Digital Transformation Advisor.

In the next session titled, Future IT Landscape – CIO Outlook, Ahmad Almulla talked about the reasons behind failure of digital transformation initiatives. Almulla highlighted the differences between digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation and how knowing these nuances helps businesses.

He also spoke about the changing IT landscape due to Covid-19. He added that IT is at the frontline of businesses. According to Almulla, learnings from the pandemic include cybersecurity focus, website becoming brand, redefining of risk management, just enough strategy, agile technology and importance of skills.


Samer Semaan, Channel and Alliance Manager, ME, Pure Storage

Samer Semaan, Channel and Alliance Manager, ME, Pure Storage.

In the session titled, Data in the Post Pandemic Workplace – Managing, Storing and Orchestrating, Samer Semaan discussed re-inventing data with simplicity, flash efficiency and evergreen business model. 


Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO, Dubai Investments

Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO, Dubai Investments.
Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO, Dubai Investments.

In the next session, Post Pandemic and Post Vaccination Era Through a CIO’s Looking Glass, Venkatesh Mahadevan gave a very candid overview of changing times. Mahadevan said that the business model has changed post pandemic because the customer has changed. He talked about the capabilities to manage anywhere organisation and the paradigm shift in technology. Mahadevan also spoke how technology has taken precedence over marketing as the first investment in today’s world.


Anshul Srivastav, CIO, Emirates Post

In the next session, The Post Pandemic Era Through a CIO’s Looking Glass, Anshul Srivastav talked about the transformation of businesses. He said that if you are not part of the change, you will get changed.

Anshul Srivastav, CIO, Emirates Post.

FITS MEA 2021 progressed with a very engaging panel discussion. Arun Shankar, Editor of GEC Media Group moderated Futuristic Panel – Digital transformation and achievement of the objectives of UAE’s national vision. The panel included Nithin Thomas, Head of Information Technology at Amity University Dubai; Aliasgar Bohari, Director of IT at Zulekha Hospitals; Abdul Rahman Jaroudi, Head Distribution Channels and e-Channels at Aafaq Islamic Finance and Nikhil Sanghavi, Director and Head of ME Region at Arcon and Cuneyt Mert Baki, Partners Technical Manager at Pure Storage.

The panellists concurred that customer experience will drive choice of technology going forward.


Nithin Thomas, Head of Information Technology at Amity University Dubai

Nithin Thomas, Head of Information Technology at Amity University Dubai.

Nithin Thomas said adoption of technology was before the pandemic, but adaptation of technology is being done now.


Aliasgar Bohari, Director of IT at Zulekha Hospitals

Aliasgar Bohari, Director of IT at Zulekha Hospitals.

Aliasgar Bohari talked about robotic pharmacy and integration of artificial intelligence in healthcare sector.


Abdul Rahman Jaroudi, Head Distribution Channels and e-Channels at Aafaq Islamic Finance

Abdul Rahman Jaroudi, Head Distribution Channels and e-Channels at Aafaq Islamic Finance.

Abdul Rahman Jaroudi of Aafaq Islamic Finance said they face a big challenge in preparing customers to deal with the digital world.


Nikhil Sanghavi, Director and Head of ME Region at Arcon

Nikhil Sanghavi, Director and Head of ME Region at Arcon.

Nikhil Sanghavi talked about importance of IT security for business continuity.


Cuneyt Mert Baki, Partners Technical Manager at Pure Storage.

Cuneyt Mert Baki, Partners Technical Manager at Pure Storage.

Cuneyt Mert Baki said efficient use of digital transformation led to new revenue streams for companies.


Saurabh Jain, Channel, Solutions Director, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

Saurabh Jain, Channel, Solutions Director, Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

In the session titled, 5G & Next Gen Data Communication Paving the Road for AI and Cloud, Saurabh Jain said that AI strategy for UAE is the baseline for more efficient governance. Jain highlighted how AI is reshaping industries and Huawei enables intelligent connectivity using the AI.


Tim Chen, Senior Channel Business Development Manager, Alibaba Cloud

Tim Chen, Senior Channel Business Development Manager, Alibaba Cloud.

In the session, Accelerate Digitalisation From Alibaba Cloud, Tim Chen said data must be used in the right way and it is important for sustainability. He highlighted Alibaba Cloud Portfolio and cloud trend in coming ten years.


FITS MEA 2021 was not just about knowledge-sharing and networking but also about recognising each individual’s efforts through Catalysts Awards 2021. The awards honoured trailblazers and trendsetters of the industry through two categories, Catalyst Marketing and Catalyst CIO. Happy companies create happy employees and FITS MEA 2021 honoured this practice through Top 10 Happy IT Companies To Work For award.

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