“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” These words have never been truer in our experience during recent years. The pandemic catalysed moves towards digitalisation, and the need to collaborate with partners to navigate this seismic shift became paramount.
There’s also been a significant shift in expectation across the board; from vendors to their channel partners and finally to customers. There’s a greater need to do more than just deliver a product to customers, who are more outcome focused and looking at how their partners can help facilitate wider digital change. This company-partner-customer ecosystem has seen firms redefine themselves to play a more holistic role across the value chain.
Powering digital transformation
Huawei is a global company that enables enterprises to adopt cutting-edge technology. With a regional presence spanning two decades, we are a trusted technology partner, locally, regionally and globally. In fact, by the end of 2021, more than 700 cities and 267 of the world’s top 500 companies selected Huawei as their digital transformation partner. And in our 20 years of working with organisations across the Middle East, we have helped customers across government, finance, energy, education and many other sectors achieve their goals.
We stay ahead of latest trends and technology by investing heavily in R&D, underpinned by constant innovation in digital infrastructure. Don’t just take my word for it – in 2021 alone, Huawei invested around $22.4bn in its R&D, about 22 per cent of our revenue. The EU Industrial R&D Investment scoreboard ranked us the second-highest investor in R&D in 2021 globally.
Digital technologies must be embedded in enterprise scenarios and combined with business processes – applying digital technologies in core production systems, not just auxiliary systems, in order to create value for a business. We work together with partners to integrate ICT technologies and deliver scenario-based solutions for a wide range of verticals to help accelerate industry digitalisation.
Huawei’s partner journey
Over the last few decades, Huawei has worked tirelessly to gain the trust and support of our partners – the driving force behind our ongoing progress. We are committed to building a robust ecosystem, and we believe that our long-term success is dependent on our partners’ success.
As more and more Middle East organisations choose Huawei as their digital transformation partner, our partner ecosystem has been expanding exponentially. Today we have seven different partner types: sales partners, service and operations partners, solutions partners, talent alliance partners, investment and financing partners, industry partners, and industry organisations.
By the end of last year, our family of partners had grown to more than 2,000, all working with us to help serve the enterprise market. We now have a network of 133 Huawei-certified service partners working with us. As part of our mission to ensure technical support, 3,216 of our partner employees passed Huawei exams and received certifications in 2021.
Another key component of our ecosystem building initiatives is our talent development programs. We launched ICT Academies nine years ago and to date, we have opened 152 Huawei ICT Academies in the Middle East. Globally, we plan to invest $150m in digital talent development over the next five years, and this effort is expected to benefit more than three million ICT talents, including hundreds of thousands in the Middle East.
Partner system transformation in 2022
In 2022, we will continue to follow our three core concepts. Firstly, remaining integrated with our partners, which is the foundation of our enterprise business. Secondly, to share our success with partners and finally, maintaining a fair, just, transparent and simple approach to our partner network.
With such a huge network of partners comes huge responsibility. We continuously optimise our partner policies, and work to improve partner capabilities through certification programs. Partners must feel valued and included, so we strive to constantly improve our partner benefits through dynamic reward and incentive programs, while looking to expand our solutions into different industries by developing more and more joint solutions with our expert partners.
In 2022, Huawei is focusing on four key areas. Partner profitability is key, as are simplified policies to enable efficient, effective communications. We will, of course, continue to assist our partner network in increasing their capabilities and finally, we will keep building our ecosystem. This year, we will see our business continue its focus on major industries such as government, energy, finance and transportation, but we are also accelerating in the commercial market and bringing new SMB solutions for enterprises in hospitality, healthcare, education, retail, and many other sectors. Our commercial business strategy is based on creating new small-scale and simple solutions and continuously optimising these solutions to best address customers’ challenges.
We have also continuously improved our supply chain system over the past 20 years. With our regional supply hub, we have established better supply efficiency. We are now able to serve our customers much faster, ensuring these solutions are readily available to help our partners and customers with fast delivery and quick deployment.
Building new platforms is another way we help our growing partner network. For example, our Executive Briefing Centre showcases the company’s practices in industry digital transformation across verticals like government, oil and gas, electricity, transportation, finance, education and more, based on leading technologies like 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence, connectivity and digital power. Within the centre, the Huawei Data Communication Lab is designed to serve as a knowledge hub for technical experts, partners and customers. It combines a POC lab, training centre, and joint innovation centre for solution development in conjunction with partners.
We believe in continuous innovation and will continue to focus on developing advanced industry scenario based solutions to meet customers’ needs. At the same time, we aim to grow, innovate, and win together with our partners and jointly develop more and more competitive solutions that help customers dive deep into digital and create new value. At Huawei, we know technologies and business models will never stop evolving. Enterprises need to adapt to this ever-changing environment through digital transformation. The requirements for digital transformation, however, are unique for every enterprise, which makes it impossible for any single ICT company to handle the challenges independently. Instead, ICT companies need to cooperate with each other for long-term development. Huawei hopes to grow the whole pie with its partners, enabling them to reap the most benefits from the new value chain. For this reason, our goal goes beyond winning alone: we aim to win together, with our partners and our customers.
Alaa Elshimy is the managing director and senior vice president of Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Middle East