Hatim AL Abri, an adept professional and the Co-Founder of ZabonEx, brings incredible expertise to the table. With a commitment to contribute towards digital transformation, Hatim has established himself as an industry leader associating with several roles in this industry. In this insightful interview, we delve into Hatim’s vision and perspectives gained from his journey in a dynamic industry.
From the rapid transformation of the ICT sector in recent years to playing a major role in uplifting the organization amidst these transformations, Hatim shares his insights that are visionary and people-centric alike.
Can you walk us through your professional journey, highlighting key milestones that have shaped your career?
I began my career as an R&D Engineer at SolarCity, New Zealand, researching Home Energy Management technology. Transitioning to Datacom, I played a key role in delivering diverse ICT projects and providing third-level support. Joining Omantel as Business Systems Team Leader, I oversaw critical systems and project governance.
In the role of IT Business Partner at AMDOCS, I led IT consultancy and agile delivery management, integrating solutions into clients’ Enterprise IT ecosystems. Alongside this, I pursued a Master’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Auckland, focusing on M2M application services.
Throughout my journey, I’ve built a robust skill set in Enterprise ICT technologies, project management, and vendor collaboration. Notable achievements include spearheading Omantel Innovation Labs and receiving recognition for contributions from top leadership.
What was the driving force behind your decision to join this sector?
The driving force behind my decision to join the Telecommunications and ICT sector stems from a passion for leveraging technology to drive innovation and efficiency. Beginning with research on Home Energy Management technology, I was fascinated by the transformative potential of cutting-edge solutions. Working on diverse ICT projects at Datacom further fueled my interest, showcasing the power of technology in addressing complex challenges.
Joining Omantel provided an opportunity to lead Business Systems, ensuring seamless operations and project governance in critical areas. Subsequently, as an IT Business Partner at AMDOCS, I played a pivotal role in integrating solutions into clients’ Enterprise IT ecosystems.
This sector allows me to continually engage with emerging technologies, contribute to digital transformation, and navigate the dynamic landscape of telecommunications and ICT. I am driven by the constant evolution and the opportunity to shape the future of technology solutions in a rapidly changing industry.
Who or what has been your biggest influence or mentor in your career?
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to encounter various influences and mentors who have played instrumental roles in shaping my professional journey. Early in my career, my experience as an R&D Engineer at SolarCity exposed me to innovative thinking and research methodologies, setting a strong foundation.
During my time at Datacom, working on diverse ICT projects, I had the privilege of collaborating with experienced professionals and project managers who served as informal mentors. Their guidance significantly impacted my approach to problem-solving and project execution.
In recent years, while leading the Business Systems team at Omantel, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with inspiring leaders within the organization. Their strategic vision, leadership style, and commitment to excellence have been influential in shaping my managerial skills and approach to technology solutions.
I also draw inspiration from industry thought leaders and continuously seek insights from various professional development platforms, including certifications in emerging technologies. This collective mentorship, both formal and informal, has been pivotal in my career growth, instilling in me a commitment to continuous learning and a holistic approach to leadership in the ever-evolving field of Telecommunications and ICT.
How would you describe the evolution of your sector within the UAE’s context in the last few years?
In recent years, the Telecommunications and ICT sector in the UAE has undergone a remarkable evolution, driven by a commitment to innovation and digital transformation. The adoption of cutting-edge technologies has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape. The UAE has positioned itself as a global technology hub, with substantial investments in infrastructure and a concerted effort to embrace emerging trends.
One notable aspect is the rapid deployment of 5G networks, transforming connectivity and enabling advancements in areas like smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality. The sector has witnessed a significant shift towards cloud computing, with organizations leveraging cloud platforms to enhance scalability and agility in their operations.
Moreover, there has been a strong emphasis on cybersecurity, reflecting the growing importance of securing digital assets in an interconnected world. The UAE has actively embraced artificial intelligence and data analytics, contributing to more intelligent and data-driven decision-making processes.
Government initiatives, such as the UAE’s Vision 2021 and the National AI Strategy, have further propelled the sector forward. These initiatives not only highlight the commitment to technological advancement but also create a conducive environment for startups and innovation.
Overall, the evolution of the Telecommunications and ICT sector in the UAE reflects a dynamic and forward-thinking approach, positioning the country as a leader in technological innovation on a global scale.
In your opinion, what qualities make a successful leader in your industry?
In the dynamic landscape of Telecommunications and ICT, I believe successful leaders possess a unique set of qualities that navigate the complexities of the industry and drive sustainable growth. Firstly, visionary leadership is crucial. A successful leader should have the ability to anticipate technological trends, envision the future of the industry, and guide their team and organization toward innovation.
Effective communication is another key quality. Given the diverse and often technical nature of the work in this sector, a leader must be adept at conveying complex ideas clearly and understandably. This includes not only communicating within the team but also articulating the organization’s vision to stakeholders and clients.
Adaptability is paramount in an industry that undergoes rapid technological advancements. Successful leaders embrace change, remain agile in their decision-making, and foster a culture of continuous learning within their teams.
Collaboration and relationship-building skills are equally important. The interconnected nature of projects in Telecommunications and ICT often requires collaboration with cross-functional teams, external vendors, and clients. A leader who can build and sustain effective partnerships contributes to the overall success of the organization.
Strategic thinking is a foundational quality. Leaders in this industry must be able to align technological initiatives with overarching business goals, ensuring that technological investments translate into tangible outcomes and value for the organization.
Lastly, resilience is key. Given the dynamic nature of technology and the potential challenges that may arise, successful leaders must demonstrate resilience in the face of setbacks, learn from experiences, and guide their teams toward continuous improvement.
In summary, a successful leader in this industry embodies visionary thinking, effective communication, adaptability, collaboration, strategic acumen, and resilience.
How has your startup responded to the ongoing digital revolution and tech-driven changes?
At ZabonEx, our response to the ongoing digital revolution and tech-driven changes has been rooted in innovation and agility. Established as part of the Fikra program at Omantel Innovation Labs, we are committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements.
One key aspect of our response has been the integration of cutting-edge technologies into our business model. We recognize the transformative power of digital solutions and have strategically adopted technologies that enhance our services and improve the overall customer experience. This includes leveraging artificial intelligence for enhanced decision-making processes and exploring the potential of blockchain platforms for secure and transparent transactions.
Our startup places a strong emphasis on continuous learning and adaptation. We actively participate in industry events, conferences, and training programs to stay informed about emerging trends. This commitment to knowledge acquisition allows us to anticipate changes in the tech landscape and align our strategies accordingly.
Collaboration is a cornerstone of our response. We actively engage with the vibrant tech ecosystem, partnering with other startups, and industry experts, and leveraging the expertise within Omantel Innovation Labs. This collaborative approach ensures that we tap into a diverse range of insights and capabilities, fostering a culture of innovation within our startup.
Furthermore, ZabonEx is committed to a customer-centric approach in the digital era. We have invested in robust digital platforms to enhance our online presence, streamline customer interactions, and provide personalized services. This not only meets the evolving expectations of our customers but also positions us as a tech-savvy player in the market.
In essence, our response to the digital revolution is characterized by a proactive embrace of technology, a commitment to continuous learning, collaborative partnerships, and a customer-centric focus. Through these strategies, we aim to not only adapt to tech-driven changes but also to drive positive disruption in our industry.
What advice would you give to someone just starting in your field?
For individuals entering the dynamic field of Telecommunications and ICT, my advice is to foster a mindset of lifelong learning, building a strong foundation in the fundamentals while actively seeking hands-on experience through internships and projects. Prioritize networking, engage with industry professionals, and cultivate adaptability in the face of rapid technological changes. Effective communication skills are essential, as is the exploration of diverse specializations within the field. Seeking mentorship, being proactive and innovative, and balancing technical expertise with soft skills contribute to a well-rounded professional profile. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and remember that a career in this field is a continuous journey where curiosity, resilience, and a commitment to excellence are key drivers of success.
As a parting thought, what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? we asked Hatim AL Abri
The most impactful piece of career advice I’ve received is to approach my professional journey with a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability. A mentor once emphasized the importance of staying curious, actively seeking new knowledge, and embracing change in the ever-evolving landscape of Telecommunications and ICT.
This advice has guided me to proactively pursue opportunities for skill development, stay informed about emerging trends, and navigate challenges with a resilient and open-minded approach. It’s a reminder that in the rapidly changing tech industry, the ability to learn and adapt is not just an asset but a cornerstone for long-term success. This perspective has shaped my career journey, influencing how I approach challenges, seize opportunities, and contribute to the innovative growth of the organizations I’ve been a part of.
Connect with Hatim AL Abri on LinkedIn.