Naser, during your tenure, Ghobash Group’s business technology cluster has experienced significant changes over the years. Can you offer a little history behind the journey to today’s GCG Enterprise Solutions and how your vision for the business has taken shape?
Well, many significant changes have taken place in just recently, but as the result of decades of preparation and industry research, experience and foresight. Back in 1982 our enterprise was simply a supplier of printers to local companies. The rapidly growing economy in the region exponentially increased the need for printed documents, as did the expense and stress. I saw an opportunity to move from a box mover (as we were called back then) to a business solutions provider. The idea to turn print, document and imaging management into a paid service worked and our clients responded well. They were paying someone to save them money!
Gulf Commercial Group – Digital Imaging & Office Services Solutions became well-known in the office services market, and growth was organic. We updated our products before the need required and sought out new ways to make printing easier with better results, faster, and cheaper with the help of improving technologies—always learning.
As digitalization trended, I was excited about its potential for business connectivity, and we researched technologies that would bring the workplace together. Consolidated printing systems were a boon, using integrated software to centralize an entire workforce’s printed output on one state-of-the-art multi-function printer… we were changing the face of enterprise daily.
A PRINTING SPECIALIST IN A PAPERLESS WORLD?
Document management took yet another turn with environmentalism. People started to print less and email more. Large volumes of valuable financial and legal documentation were bouncing from workstation to workstation with little or no control. Businesses needed solutions that would consolidate non-paper documents into a central, accessible and secure environment, while dealing with tons of legacy documentation taking up valuable storage space. For this, our software solutions would turn printer scanners into massive data collection machines, capable of collecting an image of a document and extracting information from that image then processing it according to set rules defined by the user.
At this point, I realized that if we were going to support our clients successfully with the best service, we’d need to split our focus. I decided we’d form two companies with different value propositions. One would continue with managed print services, which we called MPS (Managed Print Services), and another bold new venture called GCG Enterprise Solutions could specialize in new technologies to shake up the business world!
The pandemic was an unexpected driver of change as we introduced our clients to many business technologies that would otherwise have taken years to adopt. We now offer our clients everything from cardless access systems to digital signatures, which is amusing because we remove physical contact while bringing everything together virtually.
Tell us more about the work that GCG Enterprise Solutions does now?
For me, Enterprise Solutions refers to all aspects of technology that enhance business management. Our solutions make business easier, from technology that improves the way we talk to clients across popular platforms (while gathering business-useful information) to emerging technologies that maximize a company’s operational efficiency.
We help our clients harness the power of their commercial data to make more profitable decisions.
Our automation solutions use bots and artificial intelligence to perform any number of repetitive tasks, which reduce personnel overheads. It allows a client to re-direct capital into core business functions and internal innovations. It also means instantaneous analysis of data, presented on accessible platforms for the benefit of users at every level. The result – more involved and inspired employees.
Our value-added digital transformation service starts with an in-depth study of a business’s needs and pain points. We then draw from an ever-growing pool of cutting-edge technologies from the world’s leading innovators (Microsoft, Kyocera and ViewSonic, to name a few) to find the simplest solution to meet those needs to our client’s satisfaction. Study-solution-satisfaction! I rely on the expertise of my team to help our clients understand the benefits of every solution to guide them on their digitalization journey and realize their business goals.
You speak about making business processes more efficient and faster. Can you give our readers a real case scenario?
A case study? OK. I’m not at liberty to mention which client; suffice it to say it’s one of the more prominent names in the energy sector. They already had a five-year managed-print-services agreement with our print division, and since we had established a first-class reputation for quality and service excellence we were asked to bid and won.
The challenge was a decades-long legacy documentation backlog, with an archaic records and information management system limited to physical retrieval. There was no standardized digitization process or ECM in place.
We were tasked to implement a long-term digital transformation and green initiative that would convert an estimated 280 million paper documents into 600 terabytes of indexed images. The two-year-long project is still underway, and we have a production line of about 85 personnel who receive and process between 200 and 300 boxes of paper documents a day. Documents range in size from A5 to A0 and pertain to all parts of the business from HR to accounts payable and even engineering projects’ blueprints.
With accurate and high-quality information capture at their fingertips, our team constantly updates the intelligent scanning software to identify specific types of documents, analyze captured metadata, and archive it all into a centralized Intelligent Information Management.
The project will create a digital backup of the entire archive—a perfect disaster recovery option—and the benefits for our client will be numerous:
- Online and controlled access of documents to authorized staff across the entire enterprise.
- All the risks related to physical retrievals such as document loss, leakage, and damage, will be mitigated.
- Digitalization means complete control over information and the availability of documents can be restricted, monitored and audited.
- Document restoration – the software automatically manages old and critical documents that have deteriorated and damaged
- Lessons learned throughout the process will enable AI to process all future documentation.
Impressive indeed. And what’s next for the Group?
We constantly re-invigorate our portfolio, so the next big step is increasing our footprint. The Group has formally established its in-country value in KSA with a new company called GBS (Gulf Business Solutions), which we will support with enterprise management solutions. We plan on being the leading information and technology solutions provider in the Kingdom and will offer an extended portfolio of products and services ranging from printing systems to end-to-end digital transformation solutions.
Speaking to GCG Enterprise Solutions’ General Manager Naser Darwazeh, a UAE-based business leader who has overseen the growth of the Ghobash Group’s technology cluster to meet the needs of an ever-changing business world while driving the market’s thirst for innovation.
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