Interview: Splunk’s Ahmed El Saadi talks digitalisation
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Interview: Splunk’s Ahmed El Saadi talks digitalisation and data analytics solutions

Interview: Splunk’s Ahmed El Saadi talks digitalisation and data analytics solutions

The rise of digital technologies, including cloud computing, AI, and machine learning has heralded new opportunities for the MENA region

Marisha Singh
Splunk Ahmed el saadi

In an extensive conversation with Gulf Business, Ahmed El Saadi, vice president for Middle East & Africa at Splunk speaks on modern data analytics solutions, and how these innovations driving progress across various industries.

Q. What opportunities does the technology landscape in the MENA region present?

The MENA region’s dynamic technology landscape is full of opportunity. Digital acceleration provides the basis on which to propel development in different sectors such as healthcare, sustainability, and citizens’ well-being.

There are a number of different trends pushing this forward regionally. Firstly, is the growth in overall investment in technology itself. According to projections by the International Data Corporation (IDC), spending on information and communications technology (ICT) in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region is anticipated to witness robust annual growth, nearing 4 percent, surpassing a remarkable $234bn this year.

In addition, widespread 5G adoption acts as a pivotal catalyst for digital transformation. Notably, GCC markets have achieved significant 5G availability, with Kuwait leading at 39.4 per cent and even the vast Saudi Arabian market at 23.5 per cent, as per OpenSignal. This leap promises innovative opportunities and redefines industry operations.

The rise of digital technologies, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, looms large. PwC estimates that the Middle East is set to harness 2 per cent of the global AI benefits in 2030, equivalent to $320bn. Industries that widely embrace these technologies to stay competitive.

Lastly, cybersecurity gains prominence in the MENA region, with significant investments from both enterprises and governments, highlighting the commitment to protecting digital assets and data, thereby strengthening digital resilience. Simultaneously, there’s surging demand for data analytics solutions, aiding decision-making and operational efficiency, driving sustained growth.

These combined efforts contribute to fortifying organisations and their digital systems in an ever-evolving technological landscape.

Q2. What are the current trends in modern data analytics solutions, and how are these innovations driving progress across various industries?

In our swiftly evolving technological landscape, data analytics solutions have emerged as a driving force behind progress across diverse industries. These innovative solutions, underpinned by cutting-edge trends, are reshaping the way organisations leverage data for informed decision-making and operational excellence. Among the noteworthy trends in modern data analytics solutions are:

● Augmented analytics: Augmented analytics integrates machine learning and AI into the analytics process, automating data preparation, insight discovery, and sharing. This empowers non-technical users to access and interpret data effectively. Industries such as retail, healthcare, and finance are benefiting from augmented analytics by democratising data access and promoting data-driven decision-making at all levels.

● Real-time analytics: With the increasing volume of data generated every second, real-time analytics has become crucial. Industries like e-commerce and finance use real-time analytics to gain instant insights into customer behavior, market trends, and financial transactions. This helps in making immediate decisions and responding swiftly to changing conditions.

● Predictive and prescriptive analytics: Predictive analytics leverages historical and real-time data to forecast future trends and outcomes. It’s employed in areas like supply chain management, where predicting demand and optimizing inventory is vital. Prescriptive analytics takes it a step further by suggesting actions to achieve desired outcomes. Healthcare uses these analytics to personalise patient treatments and optimize resource allocation.

● Edge analytics: Edge analytics processes data at the source, reducing latency and bandwidth usage. This is particularly crucial in IoT applications, manufacturing, and autonomous vehicles, where timely decision-making is essential. Edge analytics minimises the need to send data to central servers, improving response times.

● Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP enables machines to understand and process human language. This is invaluable in industries like customer support, where chatbots use NLP to provide instant assistance. It’s also applied in healthcare for analyzing unstructured patient data and in content recommendation systems for personalisation.

● Data governance and privacy: As data privacy regulations tighten globally, data governance and privacy have become top priorities. Solutions for data anonymization, encryption, and consent management are in high demand. Industries handling sensitive data, such as healthcare and finance, are adopting these practices to ensure compliance and build trust.

● Cloud-based analytics: Cloud-based analytics solutions are becoming more popular due to their scalability and cost-efficiency. Organisations across various industries are migrating their analytics workloads to the cloud, making data more accessible and enabling remote collaboration.

● AI-driven automation: Automation in data analytics is freeing up analysts from routine tasks. AI-driven tools are handling data cleansing, model building, and even report generation. This accelerates the analytics process, reduces errors, and allows analysts to focus on strategic tasks.

These trends are driving progress across industries by providing deeper insights, improving decision-making, optimising operations, and enhancing customer experiences. Whether it’s predicting market trends, personalizing healthcare treatments, or streamlining supply chains, modern data analytics solutions are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of businesses and industries.

Q3. How do modern real-time monitoring and observability tools contribute to ensuring the reliability and optimal performance of digital systems?

Modern real-time monitoring and observability tools are indispensable for ensuring the reliability and optimal performance of digital systems. They play a pivotal role across various dimensions, offering deep insights, centralising information, aiding troubleshooting, and providing end-to-end visibility. These tools provide profound insights into data, optimizing performance and enhancing customer experiences. They collect and aggregate telemetry data, such as logs, metrics, and traces, enabling teams to actively debug and understand their systems.

In microservices architecture, observability tools create centralized dashboards for monitoring distributed systems, facilitating swift issue identification and resolution. This reduces downtime and ensures consistent performance. They are critical for troubleshooting and assessing performance, especially in complex, distributed environments. Without observability, timely issue resolution in such environments would be nearly impossible.

Modern observability platforms integrate end-to-end traces, metrics, and logs, making applications, infrastructure, and third-party services entirely observable. This enables proactive issue resolution and optimisation at any scale. These unified platforms span monitoring, logging, and tracing capabilities, offering a comprehensive view of an organization’s digital systems. They foster real-time visibility and situational awareness, crucial for various IT use cases, from DevSecOps to digital experience management.

Q4. Can you share insights into the growth of the cybersecurity market in the region?

With the escalating frequency and sophistication of cyber threats, the region has become more focused on enhancing digital defences and is becoming a centre of excellence for this. This dynamic shift is reshaping the cybersecurity landscape, giving rise to a burgeoning market poised for substantial growth.

Firstly, the MEA cybersecurity market is on an upward trajectory, projected to grow at a robust CAGR of 16.2 per cent during the forecast period. This translates to substantial market expansion, with global estimates anticipating a surge from $153.65bn in 2022 to $424.97bn by 2030.
This growth surge is in direct response to the escalating cyber threats and attacks in the MEA region. As the digital landscape expands, so does the number and complexity of these threats.

Consequently, businesses and governments are investing significantly in advanced security solutions. These investments are vital not only for protecting digital systems but also for safeguarding critical data and ensuring uninterrupted operations.

Digital transformation initiatives further fuel the cybersecurity market’s growth in MEA. As organisations shift their operations to cloud platforms, they recognise the imperative of cybersecurity solutions to fortify their defences against evolving threats. This transformation underscores the proactive approach taken by businesses and governments in the region to protect their digital assets.

Moreover, stringent regulations and compliance requirements have become a driving force behind the adoption of cybersecurity solutions. Businesses and governments in the region understand the necessity of complying with these regulations, thereby reinforcing their commitment to digital security.

These investments in cybersecurity span a range of advanced solutions, including threat intelligence and response management, identity and access management, data loss prevention management, security and vulnerability management, unified threat management, and enterprise risk and compliance. These comprehensive approaches provide organizations with the tools necessary to fend off cyber threats effectively.

Q5. Could you elaborate on Splunk’s role as a catalyst for digital transformation across different sectors?

Splunk plays a significant role as a catalyst for digital transformation across these diverse sectors by empowering organisations to enhance their digital resilience. Digital transformation involves leveraging technology to enhance processes, innovate, and ultimately drive growth. However, this transformation journey is fraught with risks, including cyber threats, system failures, and operational bottlenecks.

Splunk contributes to digital resilience and, in turn, fuels digital transformation by providing:

● Foundational Visibility: Splunk’s Unified Security and Observability Platform offers foundational visibility by providing end-to-end insights into an organization’s technology stack. This visibility is essential for monitoring, detecting, and mitigating potential threats and vulnerabilities in real-time. It enables organisations to make data-driven decisions promptly, improving operational efficiency and security posture.

● Prioritised actions: Through advanced threat intelligence and risk-based alerting, Splunk helps organizations prioritise their actions effectively. With a multitude of threats and alerts, it’s crucial to focus on issues that pose the most significant business impact. Splunk’s capabilities guide security and IT operations teams to address critical issues promptly, preventing potential disruptions.

● Proactive response: Splunk empowers organisations to proactively respond to threats and issues before they escalate. By automating repetitive tasks, incident investigation, and response processes through Splunk SOAR, teams can increase their efficiency and productivity. This proactive approach minimises downtime, reduces potential financial losses, and safeguards an organisation’s reputation.

● Optimised experiences: Delivering exceptional digital experiences is essential for customer satisfaction and retention. Splunk Observability solutions, such as Synthetic Monitoring and Real User Monitoring, optimize web and application performance. They ensure that end-users have a seamless experience, helping organizations build trust and brand loyalty.

Splunk’s role as a catalyst for digital transformation lies in its ability to strengthen digital resilience, enabling organizations to embrace change, withstand disruptions, and seize new opportunities.

In an increasingly digital world, Splunk’s Unified Security and Observability Platform provides the essential tools and insights needed to navigate the complexities of modern business environments. By supporting digital resilience, Splunk not only drives growth but also enhances operational efficiency, making it a vital partner for organisations embarking on their digital transformation journeys.

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