Yusuf is a high-performance executive with 25 years of experience and awareness of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and international markets in both government and private domains. A deep understanding of the involvement of the government sector in business helps to build a strong relationship to improve market share. He is highly capable of driving businesses through innovation, maintaining market leadership while implementing revenue enhancement to the business capitalization strategies.
He is PMP and Six Sigma certified with the ability to take on responsibilities, overcome complex business challenges, and make high stake decisions using experience-backed judgment, strong work ethic, and integrity.
He is currently the Head of Technology at twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s leading media and entertainment hub. Here he manages corporate programs and supports the management and the Board with technology-based market research.
Hi Yusuf, let’s start with an intro on yourself and what brought you to the UAE?
My name is Yusuf Buti. I have been in Abu Dhabi for over 11 years now, working hand in hand with my colleagues, developing the media industry in Abu Dhabi. I have a great deal of experience in media technologies, digital transformation, telecom, and satellite technology. I am also leading a consultancy firm specializing in technology transformation, industrial revolution 4.0, and media development. Since I am working in the creative and technology industry, this helps develop my technical skills more creatively by providing a broader and comprehensive solution for different interlink market segments. UAE is one of the most attractive places where you can make your dreams come true. Being a GCC citizen, I do not feel the culture changes and raising my children and family, and we feel we are in our home.
Can you tell me a bit about digital evolution in this region, seeing that you have been here for over ten years and seen it firsthand?
MENA region is an essential part of the world in terms of technology development and fast implementation. People or the end-users are receiving high quality and modern educated, the financial ecosystem is good, and infrastructure allows the technology to be adapted smoothly. During the last ten years, we can observe the remarkable development in many directions in our lives, especially the telecom’s growth as the digital industry infrastructure. Look into the 3G, 4G, and now the 5G. Also, there is a growth in the number of international cloud providers launching services from the MENA region. As a result of all the mentioned factors, we can see an increase in the number of global and regional technology companies established in the MENA and help transfer modern knowledge to the market.
What potential does this region have in terms of product and tech? In your opinion, would you say there are enough faith and buy-in from the corporate world into digital and tech?
Money, knowledge, and government desire are the main factors that help to give the industry momentum to lead economic growth. We can see the government’s initiatives in this direction such as; developing the education curriculums, presenting incentive programs for the new and international companies, developing the telecommunication infrastructure, establishing incubators, and more. All these initiatives give investors the confidence to move or expand the business to the MENA region. In a different direction, during the last few months, GCC countries showed an extraordinary effort in controlling the pandemic, some European and Western countries requested support from the medical and crisis management team. For example, the “Al Hosan App” in UAE or “A conscious community” in Bahrain became a standard application worldwide. Why did I mention that? The region approves that they have high life quality, making it a trusted international business hub.
How do you think technology advancement has impacted your role/career, especially this year with COVID-19 and the “new normal”?
As technology experts, the pandemic forces the organizations and companies to utilize modern technology. Additionally, the service providers have the reason to develop and improve the infrastructure and applications related to remote working, smart offices, collaborative corporation applications, and more. COVID-19 accelerates a thousand projects worth millions of dollars, which they have been on hold for years. On the other hand, now I see the organization strategies are shifted to align with the pandemic; this includes developing the digital strategy and operation plan. Indeed, tomorrow will not be like yesterday. I will give you an example; for years I am trying to persuade the media people that the world is on an edge of technology disruption, and we need to be ready in terms of remote production, building cloud applications, small and portable systems, and e-events production readiness. Unfortunately, few people find this might be an opportunity, and we need to be ready. I worked with some companies to develop this solution, and now these solutions become standard due to the pandemic. I can see that technology changes the world for the best and shows the importance of technical skills and knowledge
What are some unique skillsets you look for when hiring someone?
Technology is one of the fastest developed industries, making it challenging to find the right people and updated skills. Today, it is not only the technical skills required when you are hiring a specialized talent. You need to find a creative person with non-technical comprehensive knowledge of the field; agility, critical thinking, crisis management, collaboration and leadership, coding, data management, time management, and client management. The mentioned skills will help the person be essential in the team and be an indispensable member of the organization. Nevertheless, some of the skills need to be part of the undergraduate program curriculum and HR development programs.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization/team?
It is a fundamental question, and my answer is that we must believe not all people are leaders, and in most cases, you cannot instruct a person to be a leader, but they can on the border between leadership and management skills. The most important and crucial way to create and encourage creativity in your organization is the “Organization Culture.” Building a well-designed and efficient organization culture helps the people with leadership characteristics be a leader, helps the managers work more as a leader, and encourages everyone to explore ideas in free space. I believe that organizational culture is the driver of creativity; a lousy work environment can kill leadership skills and demotivate people.
What are the biggest challenges facing leaders in digital and tech today?
Many challenges are faced, not only by the leaders but also by the development of various industries. The first challenge is the deep understanding of the technology by the decision-makers. These gaps present a massive resistance to developing the digital business. Not only financially, but in terms of understanding the positive impact on the company itself. I believe everyone knows the digital transformation phase; however, few leaders understand the digital transformation concept.
In many cases, I found they think the corporate software is the digital transformation; few people understand that the digital transformation is a full transfer of your core business processes to a new method. The second challenge is the lack of understanding engineers, IT specialists, telecommunication, programming, and so on. There are different specializations; gaming, database, application, media, medical, system architectures, and others, even at the programmer level. The misunderstanding of these areas can result in massive mass in the organizations.
What qualities do you think would make an organization more attractive to tech and product talent in the region?
The first factor is by building an attractive and professional work environment and create a suitable organizational culture. They should establish a clear path for developing talents across the organization. Keeping your eyes on the future by being proactive, the company must show the team they are happy to adapt to the needed changes. Being a dynamic company is also essential to attract more international market talents to transfer knowledge to the local market. Of course, suitable payment terms and benefits are necessary for the teams.