Technology has transformed every aspect of life in the UAE. With the pace that digital transformation is driven by the government and all the advanced projects, Julien Bertin, the newly appointed Managing Director for UAE & Oman strongly believes that SAP is the best equipped company in the tech world today to address those challenges. “The comprehensive innovation portfolio makes SAP a global leader. Moving from a hardware company to the cloud innovation company was indeed the right move for me,” he says.
Joining as a new comer, Julien has appreciated the open communication policy at SAP. And as a part of the culture, even the ecosystem is made such that they are productive and successful and think in a creative manner. The partner ecosystem is extremely important for SAP – be it for the solutions they are proposing or working with the customers. “We have system integrators and resellers as part of our partner ecosystem, which we work with and engage with them to drive projects for a successful future. The partners are key in that as they help us either from the integration standpoint or providing support with networking with the customer or combining all the solutions into the mix of both.”
Based in Dubai, with more than 18 years of experience, Julien previously served as Managing Director for the Middle East at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He has a strong record of leading successful teams across diverse territories and business cultures. “As the Managing Director for UAE & Oman, I am responsible for the country’s end to end business. My primary job is to manage customer engagement, partner engagement and represent SAP,” he adds.
The Top Priorities
Being also the legal representative of the company, Julien has already set his top three priorities and plans to focus on them. There is a pool of talent in the region and supporting them to grow tops his list. “The youth are the driving force of UAE for the future and the country is already taking a lot of initiatives for this. Personally, and also as a company, makes me capitalize and leverage on this.”
SAP recently announced a five-year US $200 million investment in the UAE, underpinning objectives outlined by the UAE Vision 2021 pan to create economic diversity and jobs for the youth. “As the core member of the technology landscape, it is very important to support the vision. We nurture the talent through various programs like SAP academy. We also extensively invest a lot and send people on training to US.”
The second priority is innovation and cloud. The company recently at their annual conference SAPPHIRE NOW introduced SAP C/4 HANA cloud platform which brings together customer data, machine learning and microservices technology to power real-time customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, and commerce and beyond. Julien says – “From the business point, cloud always remains our priority. We drive most of our innovation strategies from cloud. We are keen into bringing SAP C/4 HANA into this market and working with the team successfully. This is the human interface where we interact not with the company but with the human being.”
Working very closely with the government and supporting their vision is third priority of Julien. SAP recently launched the Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) in the UAE facilitating project-based co-innovation with customers and partners. SAP Co-Innovation Labs, located in high-tech clusters around the globe, provide opportunities to foster innovations with local ecosystems. “With announcements from the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Blockchain, AI in core part of the government, digital transformation, UAE is all set for the future. We want to strategize with the government and the co-innovation lab complements it.”
EXPO 2020 Dubai Premier Partner
According to Julien, smart cities, connected mega-events such as Expo 2020 Dubai, and the growth of “intelligent enterprises”, will drive the UAE’s IT market to top AED 20 billion in 2018. “EXPO is kind of the center-point for the digital transformation. The return that EXPO will bring to the country or the region, will definitely be tremendous. SAP being an EXPO partner, we have an opportunity to co-innovate with them to transform visitor experiences.”