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Press Interview with Eng. Majed AlShodari, Chairman of the SAUDI EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES FORUM and the First Saudi Awarded as the BEST CISO in the World Finalist for 2018 & First Saudi certified in Digital Business Transformation Management

The Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum will take place from 11-13 of November 2019 in Burj Rafal Hotel in Riyadh to be the first conference in the Kingdom to address the deployment of emerging technologies and the 2030 vision for digital transformation that will power cities and economies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The supporting organisations of this event include the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Monshaat, BIAC and DTVC.

The forum will gather over 100 government officials and senior-level executives, more than 40 speakers will be leading 12-panel discussions with the participation of 300 attendees, 60 exhibitors, 10 Certified Technical Workshops, 30 Proof of Concepts & Live Demo Sessions, and a dedicated focus day for IIoT. Furthermore, 10 Pioneers in innovation will be celebrated with Awards of Excellence in recognition of their efforts in digitization.

We are honored to announce that the forum will be chaired by Eng. Majed Alshodari, Chief Information Security Officer “CISO” at the Allied Cooperative Insurance Group “ACIG”, household name in the cyber security domain in the Kingdom. A renowned industry leader of many firsts, Eng. Alshodari represents a case of Saudi excellence and a pioneer committed to advance with enthusiasm and passion the Vision 2030 realization.

Eng. Majed Mohammad Alshodari is Certified Chief Information Security Officer & Certified Digital Business Transformation Officer. Also, licensed MCI IT Consultant No.13525 has over 19 years of international professional experience at both the senior management and technical hands-on in holding, contracting, banking, supply chain, Oil & Gas, real-estate, construction, insurance, automotive, and investment services industries in addition to real time systems and digital transformation once come to the support services (IT, GA, PR, Finance, Procurement, and HR) along with other business departments from IT and business perspectives. His main aim is providing companies with Information Technology insight, enabling businesses, guidance securely and leadership that will foster a successful business decision-making platform using the right set of IT portfolios. His solid experiences and strong qualifications give him excellent opportunity to be a great executive leader for the following roles: Information Technology, Information Security, Digital Business Transformation, and Industrial Technology.

We had the chance to ask Eng. Majed Alshodari the following questions ahead of the event and thank him for his time.

1. You have blazed an unconventional trail in the Kingdom, being the first Saudi awarded as the BEST CISO in the world for 2018 Finalist among other accomplishments. Tell us about your achievements to date.

All this comes from the directive of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, may Allah protect him, who supported the Saudi nation to plan for a future that fulfils our ambitions and our aspirations along with the Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and the Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.

Therefore, as a Saudi citizen, I am committed to raising the Kingdom in the status it deserves, inspired by our leaders to continue to attain international and local achievements. To give you an example: Saudi Arabia has been ranked top Arab nation and 13th in the world for its commitment to enhancing and developing our cybersecurity systems.

In addition, in delivering world cyber security activities, Saudi Arabia entered the Guinness World Records when it broke the world record for largest number of participants in the world at the Hajj Hackathon held by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones which counted 2,950 participants.

We achieve as a mean of repaying back our beloved country, it is our motivation, so when I talk about my achievements, I dedicate it all to the country that has given me the opportunity to be where I am today.

Besides being the First Saudi awarded as the BEST CISO in the world for 2018 Finalist, I got another opportunity by being the First Saudi certified in Digital Business Transformation Management.

Also, being the first Saudi instructor for the first CISO course in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We shared and discussed the real vision and mission of information security as an industry and elaborated on real cases, like how the CISOs can influence their corporates and into the Saudi Vision 2030.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that as part of my social responsibility contributions, I managed to deliver a complete non-profit awareness program about the information security, information technology, shared services, and digital transformation over the digital media, which are targeting all levels of experienced professional from the industries.

It was a very challenging year and full of projects and programs. Nevertheless, I was as lucky as Saudi to gain required support by our Saudi government, family, and the companies to become who I am today.

Despite all this, I am still at the beginning stage of my journey as there are thousands of Saudis who I consider them as good examples, and I would like to be like them one day soonest Insha’Allah. I am still learning.

2. Why is the Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum important in Saudi Arabia at this point in time? Why is it a crucial platform?

As a result of the Saudi Vision 2030 announcement, events like the Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum are great because they act as the starting point for launching a new initiative and learning platform to further enhance the Saudi Vision 2030 campaign.

The Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum is a uniquely inclusive yet specialised event due to focusing comprehensively on all areas and branches of technology, in addition to its inclusivity, the forum is attracting the most experienced speakers in the field along with the presence of the most distinguished influencers in each industry for all emerging technologies to create a seamless cross-channel experience.

We may say it's “ALL-IN-ONE about emerging technologies and for investors and professionals”. Usually, IT management and SDLC have to spend time ensuring they are selecting the right solution and most importantly, it is not about the best solution as much as the most suitable solution for them against their business requirements. This is not always easy or possible.

The Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum gives the delegates the flexibility to tweak the industrial and marketing across multiple channels and optimize their ways to success with strategic thinking. It is all too easy for your thinking to be stuck in silos.

A unified forum, on the other hand, allows you to tread waters and think ahead as strategy-first instead of channel-first. In addition, I consider this forum as a great opportunity to all IT senior management, because having an all-in-one forum means you can learn, shop, and gain everything from one place, which represents a much more efficient way to operate as you can access all the support you need in one place.

As the Chairman of the forum along with the organizing team, we would ensure that the participants will benefit from being a part of this important event.

Not only that, but an all-in-one platform with the aim to enable collaborative strategic thinking saves time and effort.

3. We are honoured to have you chairing such a high calibre event. What outcomes would you like the conference to achieve?

We are expecting the audiences to share their challenges for discussion where they can find perfect match solutions by our experts and qualified speakers. Therefore, it depends primarily on the panel discussion, round table discussion, and workshops where they are among the sources of learning and sharing knowledge, during the Forum.

In addition, we are expecting lots of networking opportunities for all our attendees and participants, which will allow direct access to senior management in Saudi Arabia, especially the decision makers. Simply, whoever is working in the IT field or connected to the IT from businesses perspective need to attend this big show and they have my word that the Forum will exceed their expectations.

4. Guided by the visionary leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Vision 2030 will power Saudi Arabia as the tech pioneer of the 4th Industrial Revolution. What is the biggest aspiration with regards to the digital transformation of the country?

Yes, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 will power Saudi Arabia as the tech pioneer of the 4th Industrial Revolution and we can see it as a reality on the ground built on the directive of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, may Allah protect him, who supported the Saudi nation to plan for a future that fulfils our ambitions and our aspirations along with the Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and the Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology H.E. Eng. Abdullah Al-Sawahah said: “ministries without visits”. The Saudi Ministries’ ambitions for digital transformation are to enable a digital government without paper and ministries without visits, to stimulate digital society, digital health, digital education, digital cities, access to digital economy and industry based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital experiments. The target is to digitize the government to ensure 70% of services to be paperless.

5. How can the conference contribute to the Vision 2030 discussion?

The Saudi Council of Ministers has tasked the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) with identifying and monitoring the mechanisms and measures crucial for the implementation of “Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030”. To achieve the 96 strategic objectives of Saudi Arabia's national Vision 2030, the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) established 13 Vision Realization Programs (VRPs).

The question now is: what is the shared required platform throughout all these programs, initiatives and objectives? And what are the basic requirements to establish, monitor and manage a successful digital transformation plan? The answer with no doubt is qualified manpower, governance, technology, and investment. This is why the Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum is being organised, to educate by sharing knowledge and expertise with a platform showcasing the latest emerging technologies and throughout the best practices in governance. That is why professionals must consider this forum as critical as the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives as an enabler on solid ground to gain All-in-one support.

6. What opportunities are available in the Saudi market for international organizations?

The international investments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are becoming more flexible and managed in an unprecedented way because of the Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs which is one of two sub cabinets of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The council breaks down the roles and responsibilities of the relevant government agencies and mechanisms, including a strategic committee and an office of strategic management. Therefore, with mentioned missions, diversity, and governance, it is undeniable that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today is the ultimate Land of Opportunities.

I do strongly believe that opportunities in the Saudi market for international organizations are available due to the diversity of Saudi Vision 2030 programs.

7. What would you like to say to prospective delegates of the Forum?

Registered delegates will enjoy unmatched learning and networking experiences, as well as opportunities to make a difference not just in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also in the region and the world as a whole.

It is imperative to clarify that the forum is primarily created for delegates, as they are the only people who can provide input on critical technological issues; it’s for the Saudi Community, by the Saudi community.

The Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum’s delegates will not only earn an attendance certificate but more importantly, they have the potential to make a lasting impact on critical technological issues across the entire Kingdome of Saudi Arabia and the region.


About the Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum, Riyadh 11-13 November, 2019 at Burj Rafal Hotel,

The Forum will host a group of world-class speakers and industry leaders from National Digitisation Unit, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture, Monshaat, Capital Market Authority, The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Aramco and others, to be the first platform of its kind in Saudi Arabia in terms of the diversification and inclusiveness of all domains of future technologies.

Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum will be the largest R&D and investment technology event in the region and will showcase the most disruptive technologies set to power cities and economies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Gathering government entities, C-suite executives from the private sector as well as the top tech players, the conference will exclusively unveil the latest applications of IoT, IIoT, AI, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Cloudification, Blockchain, AR/VR, Robotics, Deep learning (DL), Machine learning (ML) and Coding 4.0 and the role they will play in powering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the global epicentre of tech research & development of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Finyear is a media partner of The Saudi Emerging Technologies Forum.


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Jeudi 25 Juillet 2019