InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Challenges Are Good to Have”

Mario M. Veljovic, the General Manager of VAD Technologies, says 2021 was again another proof of how resilient the ICT industry is

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
2021 was again another proof of how resilient the ICT industry is. In fact, for us, it was a fantastic year and we are very pleased with the results. We have seen very strong growth, especially during the second half of the year. We are back on our 5-year budget numbers, which is remarkable and thanks to the hard work invested in previous years to establish a product portfolio that is more than ever in demand today.

What sort of opportunities did 2022 bring along?
From our data, we can already see that many of our partner’s clients are up for technology refresh. Fortunately, our vendors never stopped investing in strong R&D and are able to address today’s challenging requirements of clients in all industry verticals. The pipeline is building nicely in this regard and we are looking optimistically into the future.

In addition, we see more clients moving towards adapting smart analytics, artificial intelligence, and hybrid cloud solutions to streamline their operations and create more efficiencies in their business. We have built a comprehensive product and solutions portfolio for that over the past few years and have always been an early adopter for disruptive technologies. Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination they say – and it’s true.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Challenges are good to have, as this means we have an opportunity to add value. Many of our partners needed financial support, especially as the second half saw a very strong and for some unexcepted growth. We have been able to put our financial strength to work here and were able to ensure partners’ cash flow was not disrupted.

The overall industry supply constraints have been a challenge for all of us, though our vendors have been able to hold on to their delivery commitments. But we saw other vendors having major challenges and accordingly entire projects were delayed as a result of this.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
As I mentioned, we are back on our 5-year budget numbers, which is the biggest achievement, I would say. But furthermore, we have seen our partner ecosystem expanding across the region and our product and solution portfolio widening, with more artificial intelligence solutions being successfully added.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
We can be very positive about the new year, as investments into digitalisation in the region will continue. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar will be high growth pockets in the MENA region, and we will see the UAE not stopping from growing either.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
We remain focused on the Middle East markets and will continue to further invest in those markets to cement our position, as a leader in bringing disruptive technologies to the Middle East.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
High-Performance Data Centre Solutions are key to coping with the increased demand for faster access from everywhere. Hence, this is an area that will never stop growing. In addition, we see many businesses understanding the power of using artificial intelligence to optimise their operations. Here we talk about AI for everyday use and not about just a concept. The market for AI has developed very positively in this aspect.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
We will continue to strengthen our product and solutions portfolio and are committed to exciting more and more partners across the region for our disruptive technologies.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
To support our exponential growth, you will see VAD Technologies adding some major brands to its portfolio in 2022 and the opening of additional regional offices in the MENA region. Qatar probably being the first and as early as January 2022.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
We could have started earlier to grow the team and be even more bullish about our plans. Furthermore, I wish we could have started to visit our key markets much earlier, rather than supporting them remotely only.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
We won’t enter new markets, but rather increase our investments into our existing markets to offer better support to vendors and partners.

Gitex 2021 was a big success for us and it was proof that people need to meet face to face. There is no substitute, though virtual events got a lot better during Covid. We will invest in a lot of face-to-face events in 2022.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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