Tomorrow Starts Today
Project Manager:Vivek Valmiki
Even in its earliest stages, Detecon Al Saudia (Detasad) endeavoured to establish a countrywide presence; building a solid reputation of excellence, while ensuring the Company’s ability to work on the most challenging projects, to place it firmly on the map.
The Company initially focused its efforts on operational services, maintenance services and network deployment solutions, with some notable projects including the implementation and operation of a frequency monitoring solution for the regulatory body of STC; the leading network provider in the Kingdom.
“After identifying that there was a growing demand for specialised connectivity solutions in the early 2000s, we were one of the first organisations to obtain a licence for provision of VSAT services,” explains Felix Wass, Chief Executive Officer and President of Detasad. “Based on our partnership with Intelsat and iDirect, compounded by a commitment to the highest reliability and technological innovation, Detasad has emerged as the main provider of VSAT services to the financial industry.”
Detasad is responsible for operating more than 4,000 VSAT terminals, connecting ATM machines and providing support to the oil & gas industry, industrial groups and a number of verticals.
Wass continues: “Based on ensuring a Kingdom-wide support network, we provide our clients with a full 24-seven service, with a commitment to providing market-leading uptimes and dedicated professional service.”
Moving with the times, Detasad has entered the cloud market, initially focusing its energies on SME clients with high security needs. Its cloud products seamlessly integrate cyber-security and managed security services, which are an integral part of its service offering. Currently Detasad is focusing its energies in cloud on working with Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (Wa’ed) and SAEV, both of which are subsidiaries of Saudi Aramco.
As in all of its work, Detasad has taken a lot of pride in its projects and the level of execution in order to move forward as a leader in quality, reliability and flexibility.
“Our focus is not on short-term projects, but long-term partnerships,” adds Wass. “This is underlined by the high rate of return customers who consider Detasad to be a sound and strategic choice in the market.”
Compound this with the Company’s enviable track record of financial stability, a healthy balance sheet, and zero long-term debt, Detasad is well positioned to exploit the opportunities in this dynamic market place and to undertake investments which will keep its products relevant to providing market-leading solutions.
Significant new products
Consistent monitoring of the market and re-evaluation of the opportunity for new products and services is very important to Detasad, in addition to organisational agility and building a culture of learning within the business which is critical to longevity within the industry.
“Currently we are expanding into the deployment solution line of business. This is in addition to all services for design, implementation, testing and project management,” Wass elaborates. “This is exemplified by our recent cooperation with Coriant, a leading optical network provider.”
Detasad’s Sahaba Cloud provides a very competitive alternative for enterprise customers, in addition to this with the aim to create more flexibility and provide a variety of additional services; the Company has recently decided to implement a cloud market place which will be launched shortly.
“Other areas we have identified and are currently exploring specifically are a hosted, flexible professional video conferencing service or fleet management,” continues Wass. “Security will remain a key driver for our clients in the KSA market; we are expecting to launch significant new products in the area of security as a service going beyond traditional cyber security to extend to physical security and other areas such as digital forensics.”
At present, IoT and big data are areas that no player in the telecommunications arena can ignore. What makes them specifically interesting for Detasad is the fact that it is one of the very few players in Saudi Arabia really able to offer a service covering all angles; from solution design, field implementation, operation of the devices, as well as the application environment and hosting a highly secured environment.
At present the Saudi market is a very interesting place for companies to operate within; the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ and the National Transformation Plan (NTP) 2020 aiming to grow ICT’s contribution to the GDP significantly.
It is hoped that this will generate many new opportunities in such a dynamic market, which is now by far the largest in the GCC and the wider region. As such, KSA will remain a key market for the Company.
Wass describes: “We are reviewing our options for the different lines of business and yes, while we don’t have current concrete plans to enter new territories, we are analysing different opportunities and this will remain under consideration.
“When I took over as CEO and President, my introductory note to all employees quoted Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft’s statement that ‘Our industry does not respect tradition – only innovation’. This perfectly resonates with my conviction in the way we see Detasad moving forward.”
Some of the Company’s key objectives this year are to further expand a market-leading advantage with its portfolio, while building a learning culture which should establish an agile, dynamic organisation and processes. In terms of external partnerships with its customers and suppliers, this will mean that the Company is able to transform itself from a traditional working relationship, to a long-term strategic partnership which provides balanced rewards to all concerned parties.
“Given the specifics of the Saudi market, a significant part of our talent is coming from abroad, with staff from 28 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe,” explains Wass. “As mentioned before, Detasad is committed to becoming a driving force for ICT in the Vision 2030, the employment of Saudi citizens forms an important part of this puzzle and commitment, guaranteeing sustainability.
“We are currently testing different approaches for recruitment of Saudi nationals in different functions; one of the avenues is through local universities, establishing a trainee program. This is a very exciting prospect for the Company and something we hope will evolve to a larger scale over time.”
Accommodate growth and increase efficiencies
Alongside its infrastructure works which have successfully delivered several thousand kilometres of outside plants and other client projects, Detasad has undertook significant improvement initiatives over the years to provide the necessary platform for growth and expansion within the Company.
“We completed the implementation of another tier three data centre in Riyadh, providing us with additional space for a data centre and the anticipated expansion of the Sahaba cloud,” explains Wass. “Modifications in the existing tier three data centre were aimed at further improved resilience and reliability; and due to high demand we are currently analysing the options for another purpose built data centre in the future.”
The investments into products and services made by Detasad have already been recognised in the market by virtue of its certification for SAP Infrastructure Operations and the selection made by one of the biggest fast-food chains in the Kingdom as their cloud and managed IP networking service provider.
“In the network deployment business unit, we have increased our fleet of heavy machinery to provide an even wider range of civil works and deployment services,” clarifies Wass. “The Company has invested significant amounts of capital investment to accommodate this growth and to increase efficiencies. This included the construction of our new headquarters which provides the required office space we need to advance in the market.”
Here to stay
More recent investments made by Detasad have been specifically aimed at improvements across operational processes; namely network operations, managed services and IT service management. Having streamlined its operations support system with the introduction of ServiceNow as its service management ecosystem, gradually, the field maintenance, workforce management, incident management, product catalogue and other operational processes will be migrated from the legacy in-house systems currently in use.
“We selected ServiceNow as it provides us with an integrated platform with the aforementioned flexibility to accommodate both our diverse business and service portfolio, while streamlining the processes,” Wass elaborates. “Our ServiceNow partnership is a prime example of the move from supplier to strategic relationship. Typically we offer the ServiceNow partnership in the form of a SaaS model.”
Another major investment in innovation for the Company has come in the form of a CRM expansion, enabling it to incorporate lead and bid management, therefore improving the customer experience and visibility at every stage of the sales process.
Wass adds: “In order to maintain our success in the Company, the modernisations of the IT enterprise environment and ecosystem will be an ongoing process of development, with the key being the smooth integration and cross-platform availability of real-time data.
“We expect the full modernisation project to continue with significant investments for at least the next two years; the objective for many of the projects we currently have under consideration being the flexibility to provide them to our client base via the Sahaba cloud system.”
Moving forward, the Company has a very clear focus on honing its skills and reputation amongst the industry, while also continuing to deliver outstanding returns to its shareholders, and subsequently maintaining financial health.
Wass concludes: “By delivering on our Company ambitions to achieve sustainability, we hope that Detasad will become a driving force in the ICT Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia, firmly establishing ourselves as a trusted Company that is here to stay.”