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January 7, 2022updated 31 Jan 2022 1:32pm

Will a new approach to partnerships be a ‘game changer’ for businesses in the Middle East?

In the digital age, companies need to find the agility to respond to technological advances and a dynamic marketplace in which there is no time to stand still. Increasingly, that agility will come through the procurement process and the ability to engage with and promote the right partners and suppliers.

“We live in a fast-paced society that has to deal with the challenges of complex supply chains that are constantly evolving,” says Philip Clarke, SVP for strategic sourcing and partnerships at digital transformation specialist Injazat. “Without focused partnering, you won’t be able to create, scale and disrupt those supply chains.”

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Injazat is a recognised market leader in the Middle East region for digital transformation, cloud and cybersecurity. It empowers organisations to optimise their business goals, utilising cloud and other emerging technology solutions, and by co-creating transformational digital platforms and services through public-private partnerships.

“We are not here just to push technology,” insists Clarke. “It is our responsibility to take our clients on a journey, focusing on valued business outcomes by generating the right solutions and infusing the right ecosystem of partners with Injazat. All clients have different needs and we aim to meet those needs with agility and speed to market that was never there in procurement before. We are pulling procurement out of the dark ages.”

A maturing Middle East mindset

A dynamic partner ecosystem necessitates a framework and a robust validation process to ensure clients are engaged with those partners best suited to address their specific requirements.

“Historically, procurement was focused on the process of three quotes and selecting the cheapest,” explains Clarke. “We now focus on the right value outcome at the right cost/risk point. It is about creating the right solutions and engaging with the right partners for each client’s needs.

“There are always new partner entrants, start-ups and new market opportunities, so we want to engage with that process of change, find innovative solutions and engage at the right risk point. We obsess about our clients through selecting partners to infuse with Injazat on the basis of value alignment.”

Having been in the market for 16 years, Injazat has seen how the partnership model has evolved, but the Middle East also presents specific challenges and opportunities when it comes to strategic sourcing and partnerships.

Born from experience

“The Middle East had not had that concept of deep, risk-based partnering; it’s been more transactional,” Clarke explains. “We are proposing a different model where there is a risk and value balance between clients and Injazat and our partners, for whom we create partnerships in a transparent and ethical manner.

“The region is embracing this new model and we are in the vanguard. Our engagement model is a game-changer. We are focusing on outcomes in procurement now, and we are fully infused in their value realisation.”

Injazat was born in the region, having been initially a semi-governmental entity, and it has unique insight into the challenges its clients face. This provides a potential edge over global players in the concept of risk-based partnerships, who may not understand the intricacies of doing business in the Middle East.

“We want to benchmark ourselves against global best practice, but we are different from our global competitors,” Clarke agrees. “We have embraced change ourselves and made a 180-degree turn from where we started. With the constant rapid evolution of technology, we know you can’t survive on your own, so partnering is the way forward. The idea is to go deeper with fewer partners.”

Teamwork and technology

Injazat applies a thorough partnership framework to assess and validate potential partners. It ensures strong value alignment, vertical capability understanding, risk sharing and a go-to-market approach, infused with effective governance via partner relationship management to achieve optimal outcomes.

In doing so, Injazat has become one of the first enterprise in the UAE to deploy the Coupa procurement and partnership system. In Clarke’s eyes, this will be the enabler to leap procurement and partnerships forward. It identifies spending patterns and areas of inefficiency, providing actionable insights that can lead to more efficient and effective engagements. For Injazat, Coupa will also create a digital dashboard to map the relationship between clients, Injazat and Injazat partners.

“Coupa is the leading strategic sourcing system, but it has minimal penetration in the local market,” says Clarke. “It is a good fit in terms of its functionality, and it is a good way to differentiate what we do. It will change the marketplace with its capabilities for onboarding, evaluation and tracking of partnerships.”

Companies across the region are waking up to the importance of having a risk-sharing partner like Injazat to create procurement relationships focused on real business outcomes. They are seeing how it can raise standards for the entire region by driving value propositions that carry businesses forward into the digital age.

“If you are working in isolation, how are you going to survive in a fast-moving market?” Clarke asks. “If you are not adapting and listening to market movements, how can you be successful? Everything has to be connected now and, with our partnership ecosystem, together we are stronger.”

To learn more about participating in Injazat’s dynamic partner ecosystem, contact Philip Clarke directly.