Cisco Executives outlined the company's strategy for the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia in 2013 at a press conference held in Riyadh. Led by Cisco's Managing Director for Saudi Arabia, Dr Tarig Enaya.
The focus of the conference was on four key areas which will drive the business focus in 2013:
•Continued investment in Saudi Arabia and a key focus on recruiting and creating opportunities for Saudi nationals.
•Heightened focus on ICT training and CSR initiatives in the Kingdom - Cisco University Relations (UR) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities support the educational and training institutions to deliver high-caliber graduates.
•Supporting diversity initiatives through hiring a female workforce.
•Continued innovation in collaborative technology solutions.
Continued Investment and a Key Focus on Recruiting and Creating Opportunities for Saudi Nationals.
Cisco's operations in Saudi Arabia have grown considerably over the years and today represent a product and services business that is one of the 4 largest in Cisco's Emerging Theater within Europe, Middle East Africa and Russia (EMEAR).
Cisco is committed to collaborate with indigenous organizations and government in Saudi Arabia to help support plans for further accelerated development. In 2013 company's focus will continue to be is information communications technology (ICT) energy, the critical national infrastructure, education, healthcare, defense & national security and the service provider market.
Dr Tarig Enaya, Cisco's Managing Director in Saudi, commented, "Our goal is to drive customer and partner success by making it easier to do business with Cisco in Saudi Arabia. As we continue to align with the country agenda we will focus on creating job opportunities for the growing number of Saudi nationals who are entering the workforce today and in the future."
Dr Tarig also announced the launch of Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia 2013 which will replace the previous Cisco Expo programme. More than just a new name Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia, which will be held at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh on the 4th and 5th Febuary 2013, represents a whole new approach to help customers, partners and attendees gain knowledge and skills tailored to meet the ever-changing business's technical and networking needs.
At Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia 2013 Cisco and its Partners will bring attendees a combination of technical expertise and business solutions that are closely aligned to the Saudi Arabian market.
A Focus on ICT training and CSR initiatives in the Kingdom
2013 will also see Cisco continue to focus on ICT training initiatives for graduates and university students throughout the Kingdom. Waleed Mirza, Cisco's HR Lead for Saudi Arabia outlined several Cisco training programmes that have gained momentum and are growing from strength to strength.
The Cisco Co-op/Internship programme, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, reinforces e-learning projects in the Kingdom through enabling the trainees to complete all of their training courses online, participate in on-the-job training, and submit regular reporting results to programme managers.
Most of the universities in Saudi are currently participating in the programme. Up to 20 students are enrolled twice yearly, for a 1 year on-the-job training programme and up to 60% of the successful students who have completed the program have gone on to be hired either by Cisco, its customers or partners whilst the remaining 40% have gone on to peruse postgraduate studies.
Cisco's Fresh Graduate Programme gives graduates every year the opportunity to join Cisco and spend a year at Cisco's hub in Amsterdam training as a Systems Engineer or Account Managers. Once training is complete, graduates are hired by Cisco. Next year's intake will commence in July 2013 providing an on-the-job training opportunity for 6 graduates.
Additionally, Cisco offers another Fresh Graduate programme called the Associate Network Consulting Engineer (aNCE), which is a unique opportunity to be part of a highly collaborative, fast paced, global environment combining technical expertise, professional excellence and consulting skills to become a fully qualified Network Consulting Engineer (NCE). The selected students undertake off-site training in Portugal (3 weeks) and Belgium (2 weeks) plus in-country virtual learning.
In partnership with educational institutions, government administrations and community based organizations around the world, the Cisco Networking Academy delivers information and communications technology (ICT) education through effective in-classroom learning combined with innovative cloud-based curricula and tools to prepare students for careers in the 21st-century global economy.
The Cisco Networking Academy is present in 19 countries in the ME region with 70,000 students taking classes and 168,000 students since inception. Today, there are 88 academies in Saudia Arabia and 13,000 have been through the programme since the beginning of 2012.
"Our training initiatives demonstrate Cisco's commitment to developing the local ICT sector through transferring the global networking expertise and knowledge to the Kingdom and qualifying the Saudi youth to address the growing demand for the networking experts in the local market," stated Waleed Mirza.
Supporting Diversity Initiatives through Hiring a Female Workforce
Today, female presence in Cisco Saudi is about 15% of total headcount with the company offering a variety of flexible working conditions to suit their varying needs and provide adequate work-life balance. Cisco offers many diverse roles ranging from customer and partner facing to virtual and international roles.
Buthayna Al-Wehaibi, Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco, commented, "I am proud to be a living example of how Cisco is creating opportunities for women in the Saudi workforce. I have worked at Cisco for almost 6 years during which I achieved the Routing & Switching CCIE certificate and attended an 8-month training programme in Jordan and India."
Continued Innovation in Collaborative Technologies
2013 will see Cisco continue launch new solutions and developments, which make it easier for people to collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device. These new solutions will be focused on unified communication, a next generation of online meetings, as well as social collaboration. Mohammed Alwosh Al-Sammarraie, Country Lead for Cisco Collaboration in Saudi Arabia, introduced Cisco WebEx Meetings Server, Cisco Jabber and the nest generation Cisco TelePresence.
Cisco WebEx Meetings Server which extends Cisco WebEx Web Conferencing to the Private Cloud is an offering designed for organizations in Saudi that require or desire a fully "on-premises" conferencing solution housed in their own data centers.
Cisco Jabber a soft phone with HD video and desktop sharing capabilities powered by Cisco Unified Communications Manager call-control. Delivering secure, reliable communications it enables users to dynamically form and participate in virtual communities providing a collaboration tool to help them work together on any device at any time.
The nest generation Cisco TelePresence for customers in Saudi will include a new three-screen immersive TelePresence platform. The Cisco TelePresence TX9000 Series delivers the highest quality video experience along with advanced collaboration capabilities, further building on Cisco's wide array of TelePresence endpoints for customers of all sizes. It integrates with collaboration tools like Cisco WebEx with One-Touch simplicity and is also designed to be interoperable with all standards-based endpoints from other vendors.
"We are introducing multiple enhancements to our collaboration portfolio, delivered via public, private or hybrid cloud models, in order to give our customers in Saudi more ways to access an expanded set of market leading offerings. These offerings include TelePresence, Web conferencing, unified communications (UC) and contact center solutions. Our new solutions are also in line with the latest IT industry trends around Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - which moves past the limitations of 'PC centric' communication," concluded Al-Sammarraie.