Here's how the pandemic became a catalyst for G42's hypergrowth
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Here’s how the pandemic became a catalyst for G42’s hypergrowth

Here’s how the pandemic became a catalyst for G42’s hypergrowth

AI and data analytics have enabled the healthcare industry to rapidly respond to the pandemic says Hadi Anwar, group CIO of G42

Hadi Anwar, G42

How did G42 respond to the pandemic? As a CIO, how did you guide the organisation through this crisis?

Covid-19 took global workplaces by storm. As a technology company, we at G42 knew we had a role to play in mitigating the risk of the pandemic, first and foremost for our employees.

Internally, our IT department was extremely busy to facilitate remote working for over 1,000 staff members. This was of course our top priority for business continuity and to safeguard everyone’s health.

As the group CIO, it was very important for me to understand the organisation’s priorities and accordingly devise a plan to deliver the technology capabilities. Enabling a secure digital transformation for the hyper growth of the business was another key priority for me.

We worked very closely with our strategic partners to implement and enable the technology to conduct business in a hybrid working environment, including secure remote access and collaboration platforms, using cloud services.

The IT department went into support and remote working enablement mode. We structured our teams to optimise remote support. Additional support hotlines, end point builds, collaboration software rollout, monitoring and capacity expansion of key infrastructure; this is where the focus was shifted towards.

We established virtual rooms with key business leaders to make sure there was constant alignment and feedback on our continuity posture and tech enablement.

We rapidly uplifted our cybersecurity capabilities to protect the company from emerging cyberthreats targeting the remote workforce. We provided continuous user awareness and training, while keeping G42 data safe and secure at all times.

The pandemic also became a catalyst for hyper growth for G42 through our healthcare arm. IT became the enabler for the relentless execution of business strategy at G42 Healthcare. We supported not only the day-to-day operations, but also enabled significant business growth.

With regard to the healthcare sector, what innovations do you think is driving this industry in the Middle East? How has G42 contributed to this sector?

ICT has transformed the healthcare business significantly. AI and data analytics have enabled the healthcare industry to rapidly respond to the pandemic. Our cloud technology platform provides processing speed with the combination of AI and data science capability. Healthcare combined with technology and AI will drive new ways of dealing with the pandemics of tomorrow. Data is key.

How can IT decision makers drive digital transformation by maximising the value of cloud?

Although the cloud has been around for a decade or more, adoption and new digital ways of working were steadily growing. However, Covid-19 accelerated the digital transformation agenda for many businesses around the world. More organisations are now adopting a cloud first strategy and realising the value of migrating to the cloud.

CIOs or IT professionals bring their experience of cloud services, automation capabilities, API, integrations etc. and establish relations with executive leadership within the business and explain the power of cloud services. However digital transformation is not just IT nor just cloud. There is significant change in the way we work and how we work our internal processes.

How can CIOs build the skills needed to implement emerging technologies like AI, blockchain?

Partnerships with vendors and universities to build in-house capabilities, skills and training of AI, data science and blockchain technologies and their business values are key.
Investing in training is important. Along with traditional learning methods through courses, degrees and certification, real-world application brings a whole new perspective to learning.

Fortunately, AI is our core business and G42 operates across all industries. So, having programmes where we second staff on a rotation basis between business units allows individuals to accelerate their learning and experience of how AI is developed and applied across different industries.

Partnerships with establishments such as the Mohammed Bin Zayed University for AI (MBZUAI) – the world’s first AI university in Abu Dhabi is also a great way of attracting young talent.

Post pandemic, how is the role of a CIO changing? 

The CIO narrative has changed drastically over the last year. CIOs no longer own and make IT led business decisions and build empires of hardware and data centres. With the adoption of cloud services and SaaS business solutions available, business leaders are now buying their own cloud services, shifting from a centralised IT to decentralised.

CIOs need to shift their focus from holding on to central IT to understanding the business well to influence executives and leaders through experience on how technology can bring business transformation and help the organisation adopt smarter ways of working. Today’s CIOs must relentlessly execute the digital transformation strategy to enable the growth and continuity of the business in post-pandemic times.

Last year, G42 opened an office in Israel. Can you tell us about the Israel operations in brief?

The new office in Israel will allow access to advanced AI based, data analytics and cyber technologies and most importantly will help us harness the talent available in the country. Furthermore, the office will be a gateway for Israeli companies seeking to expand their operations in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.

Could you let us know about your future plans? Any partnerships for the year ahead?

Partnerships are a core part of our corporate DNA and in a time of increased decoupling of the world’s major economies, we remain committed to working with the best technologies, partners, and the best minds we can find globally, offering our solutions not just to the world’s biggest markets, but to every market.

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