Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

Software AG seeks double-digit growth in Mena region in 2020

The German technology firm doubled its regional operations over the past four years on rising customer demand

Sanjay Brahmawar, chief executive of Darmstadt-headquartered Software AG, is bullish on the company's growth in the Mena region. Courtesy Software AG
Sanjay Brahmawar, chief executive of Darmstadt-headquartered Software AG, is bullish on the company's growth in the Mena region. Courtesy Software AG

German technology firm Software AG is bullish on growth prospects in the Middle East and North Africa market, as it aims for a double-digit increase in 2020.

“We are very bullish … very optimistic about our future growth in Mena,” Sanjay Brahmawar, chief executive of the Darmstadt-headquartered company, told The National.

“Our Mena business has pretty much doubled in the last four years … it has grown in very strong double-digit numbers [year-on-year] during the period. We expect similar or even more accelerated growth next year,” said Mr Brahmawar, without predicting any dollar value.

The Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed company's confidence stems from its portfolio of big clients — a mix of government and private sector companies including Smart Dubai, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Saudi Telecom Company and Abu Dhabi Customs.

“Our clients include big government bodies that are spending significantly on digital transformation,” said Mr Brahmawar, who has been at the helm of the company since August last year.

“We are their strong partner in [an] ongoing [digital] transformation drive and that will automatically translate into good business growth for us.”

Digital transformation is driving spending on information and technology in the Middle East and Africa region, which is expected to reach more than $83 billion (Dh323.3bn) in 2020, up 2.8 per cent year-on-year, according to Massachusetts-based research firm, International Data Corporation. Enterprises will account for more than half of this figure, with telecoms, finance, government and manufacturing sectors the biggest spenders.

Software AG’s workforce in the Mena region has grown in double digits year-on-year over the past four years on the back of increasing customer demand.

“We are investing very aggressively in hiring [the] right people and bringing top talent to this region. We expect another 25 to 30 per cent growth in our team size by next year,” said Mr Brahmawar.

In one of its recent wins in October, Software AG joined forces with Smart Dubai on a project focusing on connecting multiple government organisations and key private firms to simplify processes for citizens, residents, tourists, students, investors and business visitors in Dubai.

“We are helping Smart Dubai to leverage technology to create the best customer experience,” said Mr Brahmawar, adding that the partnership is in line with Smart Dubai’s objective to create a “100 per cent paperless and digitised government” that will foster smart living in 2021.

Software AG looks to achieve this aim by monetising data. "Today, data is sitting in different “silos, different applications and in different government departments … [such as] health, police and transport,” said Mr Brahmawar.

“We will harness its power by bringing it closer, moving it seamlessly and making it easily accessible.”

Software AG, which entered the region in 1985 with the opening of its office in Riyadh, had an almost 5 per cent yearly increase in its global revenue in the third quarter to $248.5 million (Dh912.5m).

Currently, the company boasts more than 200 clients across the Mena region. The UAE and Saudi Arabia — the two biggest Arab economies — are its best performing markets, said Mr Brahmawar.

“UAE and Saudi are also high-potential markets for us. [The] third best geography will be Kuwait and South Africa,” he added.

The company is also signing a major Internet of Things deal with a government entity in Saudi Arabia.

“This deal will be very significant … focused on building a robust IoT ecosystem across the kingdom,” said Mr Brahmawar, without divulging any more details.

Software AG, which has its research and development centres in India, the US and Bulgaria, spends almost 15 per cent of its annual revenue on R&D.

Updated: December 5, 2019 05:25 PM

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