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National Forum on Business Transformation: Opportunities and Challenges


Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU) organized and hosted “First National Forum on Business Transformation: Opportunities and Challenges” on 30 November 2019 in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The forum was aimed at presenting the concepts, trends and future directions of business transformation from theoretical frameworks to applications. The Theme of the forum revolved around discussing the linkages between Saudi Vision 2030 as socio-economic transformation, digital transformation and organizational transformation in Saudi Arabia.

This event took place under the auspices and patronage of Prof. Abdullah Al-Rubaish, the President of Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University who graced the event by his presence along with Dr. Omar Mummar, the vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship and the deans of different colleges of IAU. At the outset, Dr. Hoda AboAlsamh the chair of the event and the vice dean of post graduate studies and research at college of business administration thanked the university for hosting the forum on a very important topic of national interest as the Kingdom is going through a positive transformation and diversification of its economy in the pursuit of Saudi Vision 2030.  




Prof. Muhammad Khurram Khan from the Center of Excellence in Information Assurance (CoEIA) at King Saud University was invited to deliver a speech on “Cyber Insecurity: A Stumbling Block for Digital Transformation of SMEs”, at this overwhelming forum. 

On highlighting the importance of the event, Prof. Khurram in his speech stated, “Digital transformation offers a multitude of opportunities for businesses to grow with increasingly faster, smarter and more connected systems and technologies. Digital transformation is not just about technology and its usage, but it is more about how organizations keep up with the demands and requirements of their digital-intensive consumers to sustain their business in the competitive global market”. 



“Digital transformation in the era of emerging and enabling technologies e.g. IoT, cloud computing, big data, and 5G also exposes organizations to a set of peculiar and unexpected cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Digital transformation for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide, is daunting due to their budget and resources restrictions to address endless cybersecurity challenges. Though, cybersecurity could serve as a competitive edge in the digital business journey of SMEs, but cyber insecurity and susceptibilities could pose a great risk and threat to the whole digital ecosystem”, he further elaborated on the challenges SMEs face in the cyberspace. 



“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are among the most important agents of economic growth as they create jobs, support innovation and boost the national economy and competitiveness. Saudi Vision 2030 articulates to increase SME contribution to GDP from 20% to 35%, hence, we need to make a resilient ecosystem to protect SMEs from cyber-attacks and data breaches”, he further stated in his speech. 

Prof. Khurram also discussed some strategies, which could help out SMEs to forge ahead with a secure digital transformation. Moreover, he discussed a set of recommendations for policy and decision makers to build a resilient digital transformation ecosystem for local SMEs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Other notable speakers of this event included, Dr. Khalid Al-Ghamdi  (Head of Digital Centers of Excellence, Saudi Aramco), Dr. Khaled Al-Falah, Dr. Mamdouh Najjar, Dr.Moudhi Al-Jamea (ICT Academy, STC), Dr. Khalid Al-Eisa, Dr. Abdullah Almuhaideb (Dean College of Computer Science and Information Technology at IAU), Dr. Mourad Mansour (KFUPM), etc. The event was attended by a large number of attendees, including students, faculty members, researchers, professionals, and officials.