Technology and the Internet are changing the world. We talked to Qais Al Lamki, CEO of Macro Software Systems and winner of Business Worldwide Magazine’s CEO Awards 2017 in the categories of ‘Best CEO – IT/Technology Industry Oman’ and ‘Most Innovative CEO of the Year – Oman’.
We are only just beginning to understand how the Internet and digital technologies are fundamentally reshaping society. A Report by the World Economic Forum called Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Social Impact, cites extensive changes in the way people, and businesses, relate to each other. The report cited six ‘big’ changes:
- The Internet changes how people communicate with each other.
- All transactions are governed by digital technology and the web, raising issues about data and storage.
- The Internet of Things, or the digital connection between inanimate objects.
- Artificial intelligence.
- The sharing economy.
- 3D printing, or the creation of matter.
In this context, businesses need expertise they can rely on to help them navigate the enormous challenges that lie ahead. One such company is Macro Software Systems, headed up by CEO Qais Al Lamki. We talked to Qais about his company, his clients and what lies ahead.
What’s the core business of Macro Software Systems?
Macro Software Systems is an IT services to a broad range of customers. Our engagement model is user-driven, so we respond to whatever our customers need, and we can work onsite, offshore or a combination of services.
In the late 90’s we entered the Omani market aiming to capture business on the then ‘big thing’ in the IT sector, and that was to make systems to be ‘Year 2000’ compliant. From that point, we’ve developed by being innovative and focused on doing business.
The IT sector has always been highly competitive, and if you don’t take your chances, you would be out of the race in no time. We have done a fair bit to survive the ups and downs of the market and industry alike.
The goal for us as a company was always to follow global trends and opportunities in IT, and by taking this stance over a period, we’ve added a range of services to our profile. Whether it has been ERP, Managed Services, Infrastructure or Service Management, we kept expanding our service offerings.
With so much exposure in the market, we have always lived up to the expectations of our clients, and this has only been possible by excelling in our service offerings.
Where is your business based and what are the challenges and opportunities of working in that market?
Our business was launched in Oman, and that’s where our core business is. But we also expanded to markets in the Middle-East/Africa (MEA) region operating from offices in Oman, UAE and Tanzania.
Oman is a great place to base your business, combining good governance with a culture that prides itself on building relationships. Our business model, which emphasises good customer relationships and happy employees, is ideally suited for the context in which we work.
Globally, of course, businesses face many economic and political uncertainties at the moment. But we’ve weathered economic turbulence before, and we aim to build long-term relationships with clients which have helped us remain stable and be very successful.
What would you say was the achievement you are most proud of?
We have always cherished our relationship with our clients and have always been ready to go the extra mile to maintain that relationship over a quick gain. A satisfied client is our utmost goal whenever we engage in a project.
We take pride in the fact that we have a very high retention rate of our clients.
We are also proud of having a 100% successful rate of project implementations so far. That could be either small or midsize projects related to radio-frequency identification (RFID) and mobile app development and custom development. We take on large-scale local and international projects such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and implementations for regional and global airlines, Government Sector, the Banking Sector and the Oil and Gas industry.
What’s your take on the role IT and technology will play in our societies globally? What are the benefits and risks of this technological era?
With the advent of the Internet and mobile technologies, the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) for business and individuals will continue to revolutionise the way we live, work and the way we do business.
We are just at the beginning of this new era whereby our homes, cars, businesses and many social functions are all interlinked through the Internet of Things (IoT) to leverage these technologies for the betterment of our lives.
For businesses like ours, this is a major opportunity as well as a challenge. We must adapt to these new technologies and change our methods and business models. For example, software services are changing from buying licenses and systems development to Software as a Service (SaaS), where customers pay for what they use over the Cloud.
Naturally, there are some risks involved – security is one, and our challenge is how to convince our customers of the merits of working with new technologies, and at the same time mitigating their fears of security risks and possibly higher costs.
The Internet infrastructure itself and Data Centres that provide infrastructure services are the other major risk in this new era.
Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?
At MSS we are working to set up software as a service (SaaS) and mobile computing in line with the new trends in the software industry.
These will provide our customers much better flexibility and enable them to focus on their core business rather than worry about software, networks or even hardware infrastructures.
We, along with our technology partners, take over the headache of the infrastructure, and the customer only pays for what he uses.
What are your plans as a company and as a CEO into the future?
We are happy to look into the new millennium technologies and are confident of the capabilities of our MSS team to take advantage of the future.
We see some fascinating times ahead and look forward to contributing towards the development of the ICT sector in Oman and our other overseas markets.