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'

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Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance based in London, values the brands of thousands of the world's biggest companies. The Middle East's 50 most valuable brands, classified by both their industry and their nation, are featured in the Brand Finance Middle East 50 ranking.

As part of its overall assessment of brand value, Brand Finance looks at two key factors. The first is revenues (both historic and forecasted) and second is the strength and familiarity of each brand. On this latter factor, Brand Finance looks at aspects such as marketing investment, preference, sustainability and margins. By stripping out the effect of revenues, it is possible to get an even clearer picture of what the brand power brings to the overall business and the effective it has on the success of its team's customer-focused efforts.

Excluding financial indicators, Zain was ranked the second most powerful home-grown brand in the region behind Emirates, the UAE based airliner. The valuation of Zain's brand for 2017 was calculated at US$2.34 billion, a 9% increase on its 2016 valuation.

Zain has been a recipient of numerous regional and global awards since the introduction of its inspiring brand in 2007. This year's high ranking and increase in valuation has been driven by the tangible developments occurring within the company, where talent development and customer-centric programs, heavy investment in network upgrades, and technology innovation is impacting customer experience positively. Additionally, Zain's Corporate Sustainability programs and eye-catching marketing and widespread social media campaigns have captured the imagination of the whole region.

The company's marketing campaigns across the region on various media channels have captured the hearts and minds of millions of people across the Arab World and further afield. Zain's Ramadan 2016 TVC had a remarkable 12.5 million views on YouTube, with the company's Ramadan EID 2016 TVC also attaining 22 million views to date, both relevant and indicative factors of the brand power of Zain!

Today, Zain Group and its eight mobile operations now boast more than 8.3 million friends on Facebook, 5.7 million followers on Twitter, and 1.1 million followers on Instagram. Over the past 4 years, Zain Group's and all mobile operations' numerous YouTube channels across the region have had more than 200 million views.

Sustainability, transparency and thought-leadership are at the very core of Zain's business and this is reflected in every aspect of the company's day-to-day operational activities. Zain's annual Sustainability Report highlights the company's regional leadership in pursuing its sustainability agenda and supporting its communities through outreach activities such as capacity-building, education, socio-economic development, and environmental stewardship. In addition, with a focus on supporting the entrepreneurial start-up ecosystem, Zain has partnered with the MIT Pan Arab Start Up Competition for the past three years and the global MIT Innovate for Refugees competition.