InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Customer-Centricity to be Key Focus”

Sajid Azmi, the Founder, and CEO of Yegertek says opportunities do not spring up out of nowhere, they are created.

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
As far as the industry is concerned, there is no set pattern — some niche businesses have posted meteoric growth, while some have barely managed to stay afloat. It is par for the course, considering there are so many evolving variables in the equation today. There are challenges due to lingering uncertainties as well as opportunities due to post-pandemic recovery and increased digitalization. Thankfully, we are looking at more opportunities than challenges.

Most importantly, we improved our learning curve substantially, enhancing our readiness for the next growth cycle. Meanwhile, we have achieved market penetration in sectors as diverse as retail, ride-hailing, and hospitality. All in all, we are glad to be in the position we currently find ourselves in, entering 2022.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
We did, and continue to, ride the pandemic-induced digitalization wave. As a digital-first company, the transformation underway is a much-needed tailwind for us. Previously, digitalization was limited to certain industries and verticals; it is now ubiquitous, which spells opportunities for us. This undercurrent fueled our recent funding from NB Ventures. And we aren’t alone — VCs are rallying behind digital-first, customer-facing businesses. The cash inflows will provide a fillip to new service/product development, benefitting the customers and the ecosystem at large.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Of course! What’s a business without challenges? However, 2021 was more of a crisis than a challenge. Overnight pivot to remote working, delays in project kick-off, and shelved projects were some of the anticipated challenges. As a digital business, we had the necessary tools to maintain continuity, so we did not lose much productivity in translation. However, there are systemic challenges that we continue to navigate methodically.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
The key achievement was standing shoulder to shoulder with our clients as they grappled with lost productivity, gaps in customer engagement, and business continuity in 2021. We customized our loyalty, customer engagement, and CRM offerings to assimilate with clients’ evolving circumstances, helping them optimize a range of functions. Our latest clienteling solution Puzzle was born out of our learnings and efforts this year. With Puzzle, we embarked on a whole new trajectory of hyper-personalization and customer-centricity.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
We see 2022 through the lens of optimism. The results of the measures taken in 2021 will manifest better next year. It is true for both the public and private sectors. The UAE government’s Dubai Next platform for digital startups and entrepreneurs is an example of initiatives that will be consequential in 2022. There is more clarity emerging on the COVID-19 cycle and virus management, which will help businesses stay more resilient in the face of disruptions. We may finally get to put the pandemic concerns to bed and channel our complete attention towards growth.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Opportunities do not spring up out of nowhere; they are created, through strong foundations and systematic efforts. Middle Eastern economies have done an exemplary job in this regard. Take the Expo for example — it has had a cascading impact on service sectors, real estate, and retail. It was the UAE’s resolve to host the mega event that led to these opportunities. Reforms like full ownership rights and golden visas serve the same purpose. The cumulative effect of such initiatives will help the new markets take shape.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
The current dynamism in the tech domain makes it hard to accurately predict trends. At Yegertek, we expect AI analytics, ML, Microsoft CRM, and Engage 365 (our loyalty offering) to find greater application and adoption in 2022. Big Data will continue to make inroads into all facets of the business. The uptake will be more pronounced in technologies that help brands establish long-term relationships with customers, based on preferences, behaviours, and purchases — which bodes well for clienteling solutions.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Customer-centricity has been, and will continue to be, Yegertek’s key focus. At the same time, we have equally prioritized employee experience (EX) this year, in response to the growing need to optimize internal productivity, wellness, and HR interactions. We will build on these priorities in 2022. We will leverage innovations and breakthroughs to enhance our existing product/service portfolio and ensure that our clients are constantly ahead of the curve.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
We will expand our footprint in the KSA and Africa — markets with massive untapped potential that we hope to tap in 2022. Both these economies have burgeoning growth sectors with opportunities for new, data-driven value propositions. We hope to enable these propositions in 2022.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
We got our strategies right in 2021 as we posted steady growth and achieved financial backing from marquee investors. Not only do we hope to build on these strengths in 2022, but also grow exponentially, by creating a solid growth structure within the organization.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
Yes, new African markets are on our expansion agenda for 2022. Product/service development will be in line with the market needs and forces. Each market represents unique opportunities and customer behaviours, which we will factor in and tailor our offerings accordingly. “Yegertek” is the German word for Warrior — which is how we see ourselves in the customer engagement and loyalty solutions space. This energetic approach will propel us towards leadership in the domain 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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