UAE government’s vision has positioned the country as a global hub of the fourth industrial revolution due to its continuous efforts in investing in advanced innovation and future technologies. The strategy has also helped outline the path for government services by making it intelligent and interactive achieving customer happiness and ranking the country as a model for interactive cities using AI to achieve sustainability.

The leadership vision has always motivated Etisalat to build one of the most advanced networks in the region and globally. With the majority of the global population predicted to live in smart cities, the new city inhabitants will need advanced infrastructure and services. The journey towards digital transformation in the country was possible due to the continuous support of the government to enable futuristic services having a direct impact on the lives of the citizens in the country. 

Etisalat’s digital transformation journey and key milestones

Innovation and digital transformation was always at the core of our strategy to ‘drive the digital future to empower societies’, putting our efforts on providing innovative solutions enabling connectivity and mobility.

There is a collaborative effort in the company, which is much more agile to focus on the development of customer driven applications and technologies.

This digital innovation has led to an increase in the number of customer service touchpoints and several digital initiatives in digital infrastructure, entertainment and smart cities.  

Today we are able to play a greater role in the digital lives of consumers and enterprises with the backbone of a robust and one of the most advanced, fastest and widest networks in the region.

Our robust network is a pillar in our long-term digital journey that has helped in maintaining consistent leadership globally in setting benchmarks in the telecom industry.

This year 5G is a reality. Our pioneering efforts in investing and building the network of the future enabled our subscribers to enjoy and experience 5G technologies from AR & VR to IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics, 3D printing, wearable tech and more.

The launch of the first 5G network in the region is a major achievement as it opens up massive opportunities and adds value to our customers; it will help fast-track new innovative digital services.

Through our network rollout and the pioneering launch of the first 5G handset in the MENA, we managed to provide our UAE customers with an opportunity to experience the power of 5G technology before many others. 

Transformation from physical to digital, becoming a completely digital organization

An industrial revolution requires many fundamental technology breakthroughs. The combination of AI, robotics and machine learning are only some of what is necessary to embark on the journey of digital transformation.

These technologies play a major role in the transformation journey, focusing on all processes and the entire organization getting digitally centered. In order to embark on this journey, it requires a complete shift in processes, culture, operating model, employee skills and so on.

Customer experience remains at the core of everything we do, with 5G now we are able to harness technologies to provide a customized and connected consumer experience by unifying data, taking advantage of AI-powered insights and create personalized consumer experiences.

We launched multiple product automation frameworks, electronic billing, rollout of smart store concept, segmented customer experience, introduction of customer journey management, increasing use of digital and self-care channels and revamping of Etisalat app.

Robotic process automation within Etisalat also helped deliver automated solutions for greater efficiency and enhanced customer experience. This was part of our endeavor to bring digital transformation across our services. The ‘Robotic Center of Excellence’ focuses on performing monotonous tasks more accurately, securely and reliably. Software robots are supporting back office agents to complete repetitive tasks about 70 percent faster making sure that along with the robots work is carried out efficiently.
The center has software robots performing hundreds of thousands of autonomous transactions in Etisalat's business care and order management back office functions.
With 5G, such a center will get a further boost to address the evolving needs of our customers, with services improving overall efficiency, speed and accuracy of our back office team, with the aim of further enhancing customer satisfaction.
The vision helped Etisalat manage future challenges allowing us to transform and play a greater role in the digital lives of consumers and enterprises. As a company, it enables us to set new goals create value for shareholders in the long term by coupling growth and efficiency. We focused on innovation across our core propositions with the support of technology fostering a positive regulatory environment.
In IT, we were able to improve time to market, increase throughput and digitalization drove efficiencies and adoption of agile operating models. On the network, we continue to modernize the world-class network delivering outstanding broadband experience with coverage expansion, network optimization and modernization.
This digital enablement becomes the main engine of growth powered by the development of new capabilities.
Main driver behind digital transformation-people, process, ideas or technology
Etisalat Group had launched the vision with the bold, supporting corporate strategy to maximize shareholder value in light of ongoing changes within the macro-economic environment along with digitally powered developments within the telecoms and adjacent industries.

The telecoms industry itself is undergoing unprecedented transformation driven by emerging technologies, new business models, changing customer behaviors and over-the-top competitors. These drivers are affecting traditional core telecoms services revenue albeit at this stage they continue to remain sizeable across many of our markets.

Underpinning the transformation of the telecoms industry and in fact all industries is end-to-end digitization, which manifests itself within a telecoms operator both internally, in terms of a new operating model as well as externally, in terms of new business models and value propositions. This digital transformation is increasingly enabling consumers to adopt more digital lifestyles, businesses to change the way they operate and deliver value and governments to increasingly offer smart solutions on the route towards true smart governments and cities.

This all-encompassing digital transformation provides the telecoms industry with significant growth opportunities, as the demand for high-speed and low-latency data, smartphones, digital solutions and appealing content across multiple digital channels is continuously increasing. In addition, digitization is enabling telecom operators to play more significant roles in adjacent industries due to the integration of cross-industry value chains in verticals such as: media, finance, healthcare, education and automotive.

This provided Etisalat Group an opportunity to unite all of its operating companies under one powerful digitally inspired vision: “To drive the digital future to empower societies.”
Key learnings from this digital transformation journey
In the journey of digital transformation, Etisalat Group has enabled to improve the market position of all operating companies while defending their core businesses and enhancing digital capabilities.

The focus was on driving excellence across: sales and marketing, IT/network, procurement and regulatory agenda management. Also, in particular, Etisalat Group prioritized on enriching the customer experience through a transition to the management of end-to-end customer journeys and blending the optimal mix of digital and traditional channels in order to offer a true omni-channel experience. Complementing and enabling our focus areas is end-to-end digitization, which was centered on key technologies such as: big data, artificial intelligence and robotics. Overall, this led to a portfolio of stronghold operations thus maximizing shareholder value.

We were able to maximize our digital opportunities with Etisalat Digital, a dedicated unit driving digital transformation by enabling enterprises and governments to become smarter. The unit has now become a major contributor of incremental revenue growth for Etisalat UAE. The unique competencies developed within Etisalat Digital will be further extended across Etisalat Group’s footprint to capitalize on the growing opportunities within the region.

Realization of Etisalat Group’s new vision and execution of the associated strategy requires robust capability and competence development. As such, Etisalat Group focused on enriching and developing a digitally aligned culture, enhancing collaboration both within and between operating companies, ensuring effective succession management is in place, facilitating the development and retention of existing talent as well as putting in place robust and efficient measures to acquire new talent to meet the growing needs of the digital world.

As the rate of industry disruption is becoming exponentially faster, Etisalat Group will accelerate and enrich the development of its portfolio of open innovation initiatives, which it deems essential to compete in the digital world. A key principle of Etisalat Group’s innovation strategy will be to maintain relevance with the core business and targeted digital adjacencies.

In addition, we will anchor our innovation strategy to focus on revenue growth, digital capability development, customer experience improvement and efficiency optimization. Etisalat Group will adopt a range of open innovation tools, such as scouting in major global innovation hubs, working more extensively with ecosystem partners including start-ups and remaining open to different investment vehicles to fast-track Etisalat Group’s innovation ambition.

Main trends in digital transformation important for companies undertaking the journey
We expect businesses to lead the 5G revolution driven by their desire to meet their varied requirements from connecting a single location, to using networking to connecting smart facilities with the latest technologies like AI and robotics. All of which will open opportunities to increase revenue, reduce operational costs and create unique experiences.

You can witness the power of digital transformation in Etisalat’s major projects like Dubai Parks and Resorts, our partnership with Ministry of Interior on creating a centralized smart fire alarm system ‘Hassantuk’ using state-of-the-art IoT systems, and mega projects like Expo 2020 to be one of the most connected places on Earth with 5G powered innovations.

Our teams work closely with large enterprises as well as the SMB sector. The opening of the ‘Hello Business Hub’ added value through innovation enabling them with the right tools and services to drive into this digital future. We have also empowered small businesses by doubling of broadband speeds giving them the professional edge with higher speeds and making their business future ready.
With 5G, all businesses will leverage the low latency, high bandwidth and mass IoT ability to connect IoT devices. This will allow the deployment of integrated solutions and accelerate digital transformation, drive productivity improvements, efficiency gains and enhance customer efficiency faster than before.
Etisalat is well geared for the future offering high capacity solutions enabling new possibilities. We are working closely across different sectors in the adoption of 5G solutions mainly energy, manufacturing, healthcare, real estate and property. Technologies like AI and robotics will facilitate remote monitoring, analyzing real time data, bring energy efficiency and enable autonomous transportation.