Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

From left: Steven Frantzen, IDC's senior vice president for Europe and MENA; Alaa I Asali – Arab National Bank; Majed Al Tahan, Co-founder & CEO of Danube Online, BinDawood Group; Dr. Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense, and Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's country manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (Supplied)
Updated 25 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

JEDDAH: With more than 300 of the Kingdom's most influential ICT leaders in attendance, the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2019 closed last week with a ceremony to mark the second edition of the IDC CIO Excellence Awards. At a time when innovation is becoming the hallmark of competitive success, the International Data Corporation sought to recognize the efforts of those individuals and organizations that have excelled in conceptualizing and delivering game-changing digital transformation initiatives across the Kingdom.

"CIOs are coming under mounting pressure to disrupt their organizations in a meaningful and constructive way, reinventing the experiences of customers, partners, and employees alike with the help of innovation-accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, and the Internet of Things," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's country manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "This pressure will see spending on digital transformation initiatives across the Middle East and Africa top $25 billion this year, so it's only right that the pioneering efforts of the kingdom's most successful and innovative digital leaders are highlighted and publicly acknowledged in this way."

IDC had been accepting nominations across 3 categories since August and received a total of 50 submissions from 31 different organizations. IDC's CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia then reviewed the nominations, with the winners and finalists in each category as follows:

CIO of the Year

Winner: Dr. Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense

Finalists: Mohammed AlEnazi – Fawaz Alhokair Fashion Retail; Yazeed Abdulallah Alotaibi – Ministry of Health; Eng. Motref AlSahli – Ministry of Communications & Information Technology; Eng. Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain – Ministry of Civil Service


CISO of the Year

Winner: Ala I. Asali – Arab National Bank

Finalists: Darweesh Nasser Al-Buainain – SATORP; Jad H. Abdulsalam – Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden)


Excellence in Digital Innovation

Winner: BinDawood Group

Finalists: National Water Company; Umm Al-Qura University; National Housing Company

The following members of the IDC CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia were part of the judging process:

  • Ali Al-Asiri, Chief Executive Officer, e-Government Program, Yesser
  • Ibrahim Almoqbil, Chief Support Services Officer, General Entertainment Authority
  • Jason Roos, Chief Information Officer, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology
  • Hisham S. Hammami, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Hajj & Umrah 

Al-Asiri was also the CIO Summit's keynote speaker. During his speech he urged public sector organizations in the Kingdom to enter the next stage of their digital transformation journeys by moving beyond the provision of e-government services and into the realms of 'Smart Government'.

Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain, deputy minister of Digital Transformation at the Ministry of Civil Service, also addressed the audience, delivering a fascinating insight into the positive impact that his ministry's successful digital transformation initiative has had on operational excellence across the broader sphere of government.

Alongside e-Government Program, Yesser (Strategic Partner), the Ministry of Civil Service (Government Partner), and Oracle (Summit Partner), IDC's valued partners for the Saudi Arabia Summit 2019 included: Microsoft, Genesys, UiPath, Blue Prism, SAS (in partnership with Intel), Automation Anywhere, Google Cloud, Aruba, and NXN as Platinum Partners; Carbon Black, Attivo Networks, MIS, AEC, Sage, Tenable, Cyberia, Mimecast, Veeam, Gigamon, HP Inc. (in partnership with Intel), Cloud4C, Rimini Street, and ACS as Focus Group Partners; IBM as Breakfast Partner; Lenovo (in partnership with Intel) and Qlik (in partnership with Digination) as Award Partners; OutSystems, DETASAD, T2, Msegate, Hawsabah, Sysprove Consulting, Equinix, ManageEngine, Indorse, and Freshworks as Exhibit Partners.IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. With a direct presence in Riyadh, IDC is closely aligned with Saudi Arabia's digital transformation initiatives and has supported numerous public and private sector organizations over the past 10 years. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit



Line-up for FIKR17 conference in Saudi Arabia announced

Updated 13 November 2019

Line-up for FIKR17 conference in Saudi Arabia announced

The Arab Thought Foundation has announced the agenda of this year’s annual conference, FIKR17, in partnership with King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture “Ithra”, held under the theme “Towards a New Arab Thinking.”
The conference will be held in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia between 2-5 December 2019.
FIKR17 will bring together high-level officials, politicians, intellectuals, and media personalities led by Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation, and Arab League Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Over the course of FIKR17, these thought leaders will provide deep understanding and paths to solutions for key questions facing the Arab World and its future, including:

  • What are the challenges of technology, science and modern approaches to knowledge?
  • Where are we currently from renewing our societies and social concepts?
  • Where does the Arab individual stand within the international system, and how does he tackle the subject of globalization while defending an interactive identity that is open to the world?
  • Where are Arab intellectuals in their attempts to renew the Arab thought, and in building a renewed philosophy capable of making contributions to the global effort of contemporary thought?

Conference Program Details
Monday, December 2: FIKR17 will open with a formal ceremony at 7:00 pm, including a speech by Professor Dr. Henry Awit, Director General of the Arab Thought Foundation, followed by a speech from the representative of “Ithra”, the Lead Partner of the conference. It will also include speeches by Arab League Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit and HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation.
Tuesday, December 3: FIKR17 will start with an opening session titled “Arab Thought and Innovation Prospects,” followed by the first general session entitled “Today’s world…tomorrow’s world: transformations, challenges, and visions”.
In addition, four specialized sessions will be held under the following headlines:. Delivering new educational policies to help build a new Arab Thought, The role of social and human sciences in renewing Arab Thought, New perspectives on the concepts of state, citizenship and participation, Pluralism and the culture of tolerance and social peace.
Wednesday, December 4: The conference will continue with four specialized morning sessions covering the topics of ” Towards a new understanding of growth, Industry and manufacturing:analysis of pillars for development, Digital Economy, The role of civic society in renewing Arab Thought.
In the afternoon, the second general session will be held on the “4th Industrial Revolution” followed by reports on youth discussion groups.
Thursday, December 5: The conference will conclude with detailed reports on the specialized sessions. At 12:00 pm, the third general session titled “Arab Intellectuals and Their Role in Arab Thought Renewal” will be held, followed by the closing remarks.