The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was a key driver in accelerating digital transformation, Wael Abdoush, Country General Manager at IBM Egypt, has told Daily News Egypt.
He noted that, within the past 24 months, the Egyptian government started on an ambitious and serious plan to undertake a digital transformation of many government services.
“And for sure, those plans were significantly accelerated during the last couple of months, with the unfortunate developments of COVID-19,” Abdoush said. “Although the whole nation, the whole society, all the institutions, including the government, knew a long time ago that digital transformation is very important, a situation like that we are seeing now for sure accelerated the implementation.”
Abdoush noted that Egypt has already travelled a good distance on the digital transformation path, making significant strides in this area. He highlighted that one of the key steps the government, and specifically the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology under Amr Talaat, has taken was the upgrade of the country’s internet infrastructure. This includes the increase in the country’s internet speed capacities, which form a key base in pushing digital transformation forward.
“This project took place between 2019 and 2020, ending just before the pandemic, and this increased the speed and capacity of the country’s internet infrastructure more than five times,” he said. “This was crucial for Egypt to survive the pandemic due to the higher demand on the internet infrastructure.”
Abdoush added that, had Egypt not upgraded its internet speed capacity in the past 18 months, the country would have faced a much bigger problem, so thanks to the Minister Amr Talat.
He also noted that another critical step in Egypt’s overall digital transformation journey has been the automation of many government services and projects.
“I think over the coming period, we will see greater acceleration in these projects to the next level, where Egypt is going to start leveraging more technologies like clouds, data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to start benefiting from the digital transformation,” Abdoush said. “This would mean automating the existing process, and to start leveraging the data currently being generated every day from all these automated systems, so we can start extracting the business value.
Abdoush said that IBM’s strategy over the next five years will focus on supporting the implementation of digital transformation.
“Our two key focuses in supporting digital transformation are, firstly, to avail our technology, as IBM is in the business of enabling organisations to become cognitive and smart organisations, where technology, like clouds, blockchain and artificial intelligence can be leveraged,” he said. “And the second focus is capacity building, which will see a constant development of skills to help people prepare themselves for the market.”