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SAS Brings Regional Leaders to Set the Pace for Sustainable Future

SAS hosted an exclusive executive event in one of the most emblematic venues of Dubai, the Museum of the Future. “Executive Experience 2022 – Building the Future with Sustainable AI” brought together regional and business leaders across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa to discuss how to continue accelerating economic progress and digitalization of society while ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

During his opening remarks, Tayfun Topkoc, Managing Director, META at SAS, said: “For executives across the region, sustainability, talent growth and Cloud adoption are on the top of their agendas. Our goal is to empower companies to become truly data driven and make sustainable decisions based on analytical insights. SAS is committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in alignment with UAE’s Sustainability Agenda,” said Topkoc. The UAE pledged to “leave no one behind” and to shift the world to a sustainable and resilient path.

Emphasizing the importance of sound business practices and praising the UAE government’s commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions, Meghan Gregonis, United States Consul General in Dubai, said, “Achieving net-zero carbon emissions and limiting the negative effects of climate change require partnership, innovation and action.  SAS has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and aligned its business with the ambitious aim to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As the UAE prepares to host COP28 in November 2023, we are delighted to see U.S. companies, such as SAS, aligned with the UAE’s vision to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  SAS plans to partner with entities in the UAE to educate the next generation of data scientists and explore innovative ways to leverage artificial intelligence to build a more sustainable future.”

Shukri Dabaghi, SVP of Emerging EMEA & APAC at SAS, underlined that disruptions we are seeing now are the beginning of a prolonged period of volatility which only the most resilient and innovative of organizations will walk out unscathed. “Previous experience tells us that it is possible to maintain, or even increase growth during periods of turbulence. Organizations that take bold and flexible approach by transforming their operations, adopting AI driven digital technologies and exploring new collaborations with customers, suppliers, and partners – will be in a stronger position to build momentum and power through volatility and to stay ahead of the market,” said Dabaghi.

“We in SAS are working closely with our business partners across the public and private sectors in addressing those strategic imperatives but specifically we have been focused on building the frameworks for the adoption of Analytics and AI, sustainability of those organizations AI practices especially when deployed on Cloud, and skilling of the resources for prolonged success,” said Dabaghi.

The participants agreed that cloud computing is key, as it allows companies to shift focus and resources from operational work to innovation and agility. Being a fundamental part of the country’s digital transformation as outlined in the UAE’s Vision, cloud computing makes companies more resilient and agile to withstand difficult and volatile times.

The talent gap was also addressed to great extent by the participants. While investing in a team of data scientists with complementary talents could deliver significant value for organizations, the lack of skilled employees is becoming a challenge globally, with demand outstripping supply. To address this problem, SAS is collaborating with universities across the region, bridging the gap between businesses and academia. In addition to existing programs, SAS announced nation wide program to be launched by the end of the year. Goal is to equip the next generation of Emirati youth with the digital skills needed to compete in the current and future marketplace, contributing to the UAE’s Vision and driving the nation in the next 50 years.

Adding to its sustainability efforts, SAS opted not to print any materials for the event and rely only on digital assets. Moreover, the organizer partnered with My Farm Dubai, a sustainable and educational organic farm, to plant a tree for each participant at the conference, leaving a mark for the future.

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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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