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Enhancing client experience

Youssef Fawaz, GM at Al Rostamani Communications discusses how the company is enabling clients towards digital transformation

Discuss how Al Rostamani Communications has responded to the transformation in the ICT landscape?
The landscape of IT continues to transform and as an IT solutions leader in the region, we need to keep pace with these changes to be relevant to our customers.

We have brought in a renewed focus to our go to market approach in the past couple of years.
We decided we didn't want to lose our focus by trying to be everything to everyone. So, what we have done is to adopt a vertical focused approach and build our strengths around taking specialized solutions to those key verticals.

While we have been traditionally strong in the service provider segment, we have strong focus and solutions for the financial sector, Healthcare, Hospitality, Education, Contracting , Real Estate etc, where we leverage our strengths and add value to customers. For instance, we have been a strong player in the ELV space and combined with our strong focus in IT solutions including emerging areas such as IoT, we bring greater value to the smart buildings. This is across both residential and commercial segments that are coming up, especially as we approach the 2020 World Expo scheduled to be held in Dubai.

How does your team approach these different verticals?
Our engineers have worked previously in these industries and they bring that domain knowledge into their customer interactions. This helps to understand customer concerns better and be able to position tailor made solutions for their clients that positively impact their business bottom-line, rather than just deliver off the shelf box products. The earlier approach is no longer valid as customers want solutions that truly make a difference to their business objectives.

Elaborate on the shift in focus towards customer experience enhancement and its impact on your go to market strategies?
With the growing emphasis on end-customer happiness and happiness meters, especially as you see with recent initiatives in UAE, Businesses are looking for solutions that can enrich customer experience of doing business with them and enhance the happiness quotient. This started with the public sector and is now being extended into the private sector.

These elements will improve the client experience and result in returning customers and more recurring business. At the end of the day, the bottomline will improve.

We are looking to engage with our client on a partnership basis and take them through the process of digital transformation. We are helping them go towards everything digital and adopt the paperless initiative. We understand that the core business of our clients is not IT and help them to focus more on their core business to serve their customers better by supporting them on the IT front. We assist them through our managed services to do this in a very cost effective manner without very big investments. We help them all the way to meet their KPIs and deliver effectively on customer experience.

As an example of how we deliver the value to our customers, while previously high speed Internet was a luxury, today excellent internet connectivity is taken for granted by guests frequenting 4 and 5 star rated hotels and any downtime could disrupt customer experience. As a managed services provider, we help hotels pre-empt such instances by alerting them to such issues even before customers face them, and thereby help correct the problem beforehand.

Our business is done on a one to one basis and client intimacy is key. Since there are always others who offer similar products, the difference is in how we serve our customers. The quality of client service that we offer and how we can help them meet their objectives as enablers, with the required technology, is the crux of our client strategy.

Besides the vertical focus, please give us details of the breadth of solutions you offer?

While we have expertise per vertical, we also have a strong focus in all IT solutions. IT comprises building blocks, right from the physical infrastructure to the 7th layer of Applications and with everything in between. We have expertise across each of these lines of business and so we can be the one stop shop to our customers regarding their IT requirements, but to specific verticals that I mentioned earlier.

In Advanced Infrastructure, we offer everything around ELV; CCTV solutions inclusive of analytics featuring face recognition, heat map etc for both security and retail; Home Automation solutions, where we are quite specialized as well as Networking inclusive of WLAN range of solutions etc. Additionally, we could add value on top of the wireless existing infrastructure such as enabling asset tracking or security. Similarly, we could add nalytics on top of a CCTV solutions that a customer may have deployed as many as five years ago or more.

We offer the entire range of telephony solutions (call centre and contact centre) for full client experience from receiving and making calls, to CRM integration and sometime even integrating voice analytics on top.

We offer the next generation datacentre solutions inclusive of compute solutions, AI, database etc. Then there is a focus on emerging technologies like commercial drones meant for surveillance across large outdoor properties like theme parks and zoos, IoT smart meters for utilities etc.

Finally, in business applications we offer solutions for specific industries like time attendance for an organization with a large remote based workforce.

Discuss how the organization has approached the shift towards a newer go to market approach internally?

Business transformation is a journey, it doesn't happen overnight. So we have people who focus on the long term vision and then there are those who are responsible to look after shorter term business objectives and bring in improvements as required. These approaches go hand in hand.

While we have to do improvements for maintaining and growing the running business, for the longer term, we possibly look to make changes to the business model. For instance, one of the changes we brought in is offering the leasing model, where the user leases on consumption basis instead of buying and incurring a huge upfront capital expenditure.

Similarly, to shape up for the emerging trend of IoT, we started with IoT investments three years ago. The market is now ready in terms of maturity and we have the required knowhow to tap into the opportunity. We strive to be early adopters as typically 30% of the market belongs to early adopters.

How do you look at re-skilling of resources for new technologies?

There has been re-skilling and education as people needed to learn about new solutions. ELV and IT were separate some years ago but they seem to have merged as everything is IP based. For instance today, guest room management system is purely IP based but it needs to integrate with BMS and this is where education is required.

It has been the same for people who were selling traditional IT but are now looking to sell smart home solutions for instance, which are IP based.

Similarly, there used to be legacy telephony solutions exclusively and then IP telephony solutions came in. There used to be a separate focus for every telephony system even at ARC but now there is one team that understands communications and have fluent understanding of both the legacy and IP telephony solutions.

How do you look at the size of customer accounts in terms of your focus?

There are different approaches in the market. There are few who look from point of view of number of computing endpoints such as we do and there are others who will look at from the perspective of total value of operations. For instance, there might be as few as 10 employees in an organization, which may have infrastructure worth millions of dollars and also a large turnover

So it isn't always the case that the number of people is equal to size of company or operations. After all, the end goal of IT has always been about bringing in more efficiency and achieve more efficiency with less people.

How has the year been so far and how do you look at growth and expansion?

We have seen success with our approach towards services rather than moving boxes. We have been able to make more inroads and beat some bigger rivals in key wins, although in general everyone has their own strongholds. We celebrated 15 years last year and the UAE market continues to give us ample opportunities to grow further.


Box quotes for layout
1) “ With the growing emphasis on end-customer happiness and happiness meters, especially as you see with recent initiatives in UAE, Businesses are
looking for solutions that can enrich customer experience of doing business with them and enhance the happiness quotient. This started with the public sector and is now being extended into the private sector.”

2) “We are looking to engage with our client on a partnership basis and take them through the process of digital transformation. We are helping them go towards everything digital and adopt the paperless initiative”

Youssef Fawaz