Digital transformation: Lessons learnt from the UAE’s journey

Digital transformation: Lessons learnt from the UAE’s Journey

Reimagining the digital age is no easy feat, as it is a continuous process that relies on devising and implementing strategies in the right place at the right time while taking into account the ever-changing business and technology ecosystem.

Digital transformation, the process of leveraging the latest technologies to create new or modify existing processes, cultures, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements, has long been a key part of the UAE’s strategy to achieve an all-digital government.

In fact, the UAE’s foresight when it comes to digitisation dates back to 2001 when it disrupted the world of financial technology by introducing the eDirham, which was eventually launched by the eGovernment in 2011 and the smart government in 2013.

The UAE has been leading the way globally in its efforts to achieve continuous digital transformation. According to the UAE Digital Transformation Report 2020, it was ranked first globally in 23 indicators in vital sectors including health, labour, and telecommunications.

Home to one of the most diverse and forward-thinking economies in the world, the UAE government has been diligent in its approach towards establishing a strong digital economy to leverage the many advantages that digital transformation has to offer, such as automation, stronger resource management, and increased productivity.

For instance, Dubai’s government announced in December 2021 that it would become the world’s first paperless government, with savings of AED 1.3 billion ($350 million) and 14 million man-hours.

Digital Transformation is Not a One-Time Project

As time goes on and as technology continues to evolve, businesses will need to continue to adapt to these changes.

The well-known proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” comes to mind when thinking about a very important lesson learned from the pandemic, which is to react quickly and adapt quickly to changes and business trends, a factor that has become crucial to business survival. This also applies to businesses on a micro-level. Identifying areas that need improvement and implementing the right technology and necessary processes can go a long way.

Turning a business into a modern, technology-driven organisation is an integral part of the process. One of the biggest mistakes companies around the world tend to make is approaching digital transformation as a one-time project rather than a continuous process that should not stop at tech adoption.

Embracing a continuous transformation model involves paying close attention to the ever-evolving business and global technology landscape in order to spot emerging trends and implement changes accordingly in due time.

Adopting a People-Centric Approach

Losing sight of the key elements needed to achieve digital transformation is also where the problem lies. Adopting the latest technology is of no use if an organization’s workforce is not prepared to utilise these new tools appropriately. Upskilling existing staff through training and boosting employee engagement, as well as hiring new tech-savvy employees, could easily solve this issue.

Changing the way people approach their work at all levels of an organisation is an instrumental factor that needs to be taken into account when applying a digital transformation strategy.

The Value of Strategic Partnerships

Beyond sharing insights, expertise, and solutions, forming strategic partnerships with other businesses can accelerate an enterprise’s digital transformation journey by helping them quickly identify places and functions that could benefit from an upgrade in technology, find the best solutions, and properly implement them. The Seed Group has been a key facilitator of that in the region.

Over the past 16 years, the Seed Group has formed several strategic partnerships with leading global companies looking to accelerate their sustainable market entry and presence in the MENA region, including companies that specialise in AI and Big Data, key components of technology commonly adopted by firms around the world looking to begin digital transformation.

Some recent key partnerships that were formed by Seed Group to enable this include partnerships with MIR Digital Solutions, Limelight,, and Synerise, among many others. These companies have helped many businesses in the UAE and the wider Middle East to strengthen their digital capabilities, disrupting their respective industries and transforming organisations in the region from the inside and out. The impact of these partnerships was felt by employees, end-users, and the overall business ecosystem.

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