Riverbed, an American IT company that develops products to improve application performance across wide area networks (WANs), recently commissioned a study surveying 1,000 IT decision makers globally to explore the impact legacy and next-generation networks have on cloud adoption and digital transformation. Telecom Review discussed the findings with Charbel Khniesser, Riverbed's Regional Presales Director for Middle East, Turkey and North Africa.

Read more: Riverbed: SD-WAN essential for building next-generation networks

UAE telecom provider “du” (EITC) has over ten years’ experience dealing with multiple partners from various industries. Bundling everything together that those partners bring to the table means du can give its customers the best value for money and significantly improve processes, said du’s chief commercial officer, Fahad Al Hassawi, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: Partnerships benefit customers, says du CCO

Saudi Arabia is going through rapid transformation, according to Deemah AlYahya, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU), a government arm mandated to accelerate efforts to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives, an initiative to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence. This transformation, Ms. AlYahya said, will require collaboration, open data sharing and injecting innovation into citizens.

Read more: Saudi NDU CEO: 'We want to inject innovation into citizens'

Exclusive Interviews
Typography

Starting off as an analyst-programmer back in 1988 and growing year by year, pursuing the IT and telecom business sector, to establishing her own company,  Zakie Karam, General Manager & Co-Founder of DON TELECOM is definitely an inspiration in the world of Telecom.

DON TELECOM is an independent vendor with a wide experience in IT and telecommunication; they can be the ideal consulting partner to propose the most optimized solution customers may need.

In an interview with Mrs. Karam, we got to know more about her career history, her significant role as a woman in the IT and Telecom's sector and the company's future plans.

Can you start by telling us more about your career history and what has lead you to become the General Manager & Co-Founder of DON TELECOM?
I have studied business computer and I have started as an analyst-programmer in 1988 to become later the department manager. Then the company has decided to introduce the internet in Lebanon and I was assigned to be the system administrator of the internet domain including mail, web, & newsgroups, etc. I have worked in the internet field as a technical, pre-sales, and sales person, which has lead me to become the general manager of the company, specifically responsible for the international business. After 5 years, I have decided to establish my own company to pursue IT and telecom business.

We barely get to see women in the IT and Telecom's sector, what has attracted you towards this field?
I have always liked IT and especially everything related to programming. I am also fascinated by the telecom world, its capabilities, and how it is evolving. IT, internet, and telecom are just amazing ways for people to express themselves, to stay connected and to get access to information. It is reshaping our world across all the industries. Social media, a combination of IT and Telecom, has opened new communications channels. Digitization is offering companies and individuals countless windows of opportunities to be innovative with no limits.

We can talk for hours and hours about this subject, and that is what makes it so fascinating. It is a world where one can never be bored and where there is always room for creativity, innovation, and most importantly, revolution.

Are you working towards integrating the female gender in this sector?
Yes of course. I am supportive of such initiatives, and I am personally involved in coaching females who want to advance in this sector. I am also willing to be more supportive for any initiative of that sense.

We are experiencing more initiatives supporting women in the business sector, all supporting gender equality, and showing the importance of the female gender in the business environment and their valuable input. I believe that women should have a fair chance and a fair access to all positions available in any given company and in any given industry with no discrimination.

Women have made it clear they have the ability to perform with the same skills and success in every endeavor engaged in by men, and IT and Telecom are no exception.

As a woman in a leading position in a man's world, what kind of challenges are you going through?
I have learned not to take things for granted and to negotiate and ask for what I want. Unless you ask, you will not get it; and this goes for both genders equally. I have also learned not to underestimate my competencies and not to question whether I can fulfill any role.

There is always the challenge to be taken seriously. This however mitigates very quickly when the parties see that they are dealing with a professional and a serious person; so, they connect with the mind rather than the gender.

I in turn support all people working with me regardless of their gender. This creates a positive spirit to appreciate the minds and the ideas rather than to be influenced by the gender. The less ego involved in the business, the better it is for all parties.

How are you driving DON TELECOM towards further success?
We need to remain on the cutting edge of technology while keeping an eye on our customers, our strategy, and our finances, and while keeping the development of our human resources. We aim to constantly review and update our products and services so we are sure to offer a higher value and a better overall customer experience, while generating profit to sustain the growth and the innovation.

In what way are you helping the company to propose the most innovative solutions for the clients?
We realize that in today's marketplace, the practice of innovation is more than just about creating new products. It is more about discovering completely new markets that meet untapped customer needs.

In the age of internet and globalization, the act of innovation becomes an even greater challenge. The innovation is in selecting and executing the right ideas and bringing them to market before our competitors do, while keep managing our privileged supplier-customer relationship.

We are mostly concerned with anticipating market trends and innovative practices to come up with our products and services.

What are your future plans and projects?
Now that DON TELECOM is on a cruising speed, we have recently opened a new company to cater for software development as IT goes hand in hand with Telecom. We will be using our expertise and our existing customer base to develop the software business.

We plan to keep growing the business and inspire others to succeed and excel in their jobs. I strongly believe in paying it forward and spreading positivity around. This is to the benefit of our society at large.