Deloitte initiative to encourage women in cybersecurity expands to Middle East

02 August 2018

Big Four professional services giant Deloitte has launched an initiative in the Middle East aimed at promoting greater gender diversity in the cyber-security sector.

Originally launched by Deloitte in the UK in 2015 in an effort to increase female representation in the cyber-security segment, the firm’s Women in Cyber initiative is now being extended to the whole of the EMEA – Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The project seeks to raise awareness of the current gender disparity and promote a career in the sector as a viable one for women by initiating a dialogue between sector professionals and stakeholders.

The need for such initiatives is clear, and the benefits manifold – not in the least with respect to the projected 1.8 million global short-fall in skilled cyber personnel by 2022. According to data from research and strategy consultancy Frost & Sullivan, women in 2016 made up just 11 percent of the global information security workforce, and just 5 percent in the Middle East. Women were even further unrepresented in managerial positions globally – including almost no presence in senior and executive leadership in the Middle East.

One of the issues of such a male-dominated sector, and one the Deloitte Women in Cyber initiative hopes to address, is that prospective new female employees may be put off or intimidated by a potentially discriminatory culture, dismissing a career in the sector or perhaps not even considering one in the first place – thus engendering a self-perpetuating stasis.

Lisa Hamilton, Deloitte UK cyber associate director and leader of the Deloitte EMEA Women in Cyber initiative, said, “Deloitte’s Women in Cyber initiative aims to bridge the gender gap among cyber security professionals. “We bring together our clients and colleagues across EMEA to find ways of creating awareness and collaborating on joint initiatives. We want to encourage more women to choose cyber security as a career.”Deloitte initiative to encourage women in cybersecurity expanded to Middle EastThe Deloitte initiative hopes to demonstrate the potentiality of such a career for women, in part by showcasing its current female cyber practice leaders as industry role models. “To start the dialogue, we interviewed prominent female cyber leaders in Switzerland to learn about their journeys, hear their views on their current roles and the opportunities the profession has to offer,” said Patricia Egger, leader of the Women in Cyber programme in Switzerland.

She adds: “Cyber is a multi-faceted field that can seem obscure to those on the outside. With this initiative, we hope both women and men will be able to get a better understanding of what it means to be a cyber-professional and why it’s a great career choice.” Egger herself, who has a background in mathematics, has provided an account of her own journey to cyber and what inspires her about her job in the information security profession.

“After my first year at Deloitte Cyber Risk Services, I can say that I have never felt bored. I have been able to work on interesting and complex client projects, spanning from identity and access management to privileged access management and cyber security risk assessments, which provided valuable learning experiences.”

In addition, she says, “Being part of a Women in Cyber team that contributes to changing the perception of the cyber security industry from the ‘hoody-wearing hacker in the dark room’ to a career with exciting opportunities that do not require a computer science background, is incredibly motivating. Supported by both my senior management and my peers, I have been given a platform to make an impact that matters; a privilege that I do not take for granted.”

Recently, Deloitte announced that it would invest £430 million into further developing its global cyber practice, and will establish a Digital Delivery Centre in Saudi Arabia with support from the Saudi Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Meanwhile, fellow Big Four firm EY late last year established an advanced multi-million dollar regional cybersecurity hub in Oman. 

Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultancies

11 April 2019

Saudi Arabia’s leading pharmacy retail chain Nahdi has undergone a recent transformation with the help of two consulting firms; Resilience& for a business process re-engineering project and Redbox Digital for an omnichannel commerce implementation.

With a vast network of outlets in 140-plus cities and villages across Saudi Arabia, the Jeddah-headquartered Nahdi Medical Company oversees the biggest retail pharmacy chain in the Kingdom – serving millions of customers every year. Stating a goal to remain at the forefront of innovation, Nahdi has recently undergone two transformation projects with the aid of consultancies Resilience& and Redbox Digital.

The former project, which commenced last year, has seen the team from management firm Resilience& partner with Nahdi’s Business Process Re-engineering leadership team to institute a more efficient and agile manner for serving its customers. For the strategic transformation, Resilience& among other activities assessed processes against best-practices and benchmarking tools and applied a performance review mechanism to aid with any future fine-tuning.

Founded in the UK in 2015 and with further branches in Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco and Greece, Resilience& describes itself as a network of consulting firms and independent experts – among them; UAE-based principal partner Ahmed Ragab, who has 15 years of cross-sector consulting experience across the Middle East – including a brief stint as a deputy director with Baker Tilly in Kuwait; and senior manager for digital transformations Tamer Montase, a former manager at Ernst & Young.Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultanciesMeanwhile, Nahdi has also seen an UX overhaul with the implementation of a complete omnichannel commerce experience across its retail stores and digital channels delivered by global digital commerce and creative design consultancy Redbox Digital – a leading global elite Magento partner in the Middle East. According to the firm, Nahdi experienced its highest ever site traffic and best basket size and conversion rates in the week following the launch.

Built on Magento Commerce Cloud and Magento Order Management (while integrating Nahdi’s existing back-office Oracle systems), Nahdi’s head of omnichannel and former Accenture management consultant Pawel Dabrowski described the implementation as an amazing achievement given its size and complexity. “There were so many elements to consider from mobile application and single sign-on to loyalty programmes and single customer view,” Dabrowski said.

“Being able to bring all these together required knowledge, skill, understanding of the wider eco-system and more importantly team-work. There were challenges along the way, as with any large-scale implementation, but Redbox’s technical understanding, flexibility and ability to swiftly solve complex issues was behind the project’s huge success. They have a long history in the region and an excellent reputation for delivering high-performing omnichannel solutions.”

Founded in 2004, Redbox has a regional hub in Dubai (established in 2013 and serving clients in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar) with further operations in the UK, US, Italy Australasia, South Africa and Mauritius – the digital consultancy having since its inception built up an impressive roster of clients including Universal Music, Sephora, AXA, Nespresso, The Body Shop and Abul Latif Jameel, the parent of lean management specialists Four Principles.

Elsewhere in the regional healthcare sector, Four Principles itself recently celebrated a total supply chain and procurement processes lean transformation project for the Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group – naming the company its inaugural Kaizen Awards’ winner – while specialist consultancy GE Healthcare Partners has just picked up its own award, being highly commended at the prestigious MCA awards in London for a transformation project in conjunction with the Dubai Health Authority.