Ericsson and SAP anticipate further expansion in Cairo
Ericsson has also leveraged this environment to support its global strategy, by tapping local talent in the fields of artificial intelligence, software development and digitalization. “It is the existence of the required competent engineers, with various backgrounds and capabilities, that makes it very attractive to operate in the country,” an Egypt-based Ericsson executive noted. Ericsson has been operating a digital services hub in the country to serve the Middle East and Africa region. The Ericsson executive stated, “Since we are covering the Middle East and Africa, Arabic is an advantage for working in Arab countries.
Egyptian professionals have relatively better English communication skills as well to add on top. Plus, Egypt provides reliable telecom infrastructure that can help different engineers to communicate and engage remotely with colleagues and customers.” According to Ericsson, the environment has been very encouraging to do more and serve on the global level as well. The Egyptian government has a strong focus on the ICT sector, is making more spectrum available to operators to improve mobile broadband experience, and has the aspiration to introduce 5G. In Ericsson’s estimation, Egypt is a firm believer in building a connected society and smart cities and is already executing on a solid national artificial intelligence strategy.
Notably, in October Ericsson announced the shipment of the first AI-enabled software developed at its Artificial Intelligence & Analytics Hub in Egypt to be used by Ericsson’s customers globally. According to the press release, “The AI & Analytics Hub has accelerated the execution of Ericsson’s focused strategy in Egypt by using AI and automation technologies to create data-driven, intelligent products and services.”
Looking ahead for SAP, Mansour explained that she hopes to hire more resources in digital marketing, digital sales, presales and services, and, if SAP’s management approves, to establish more partnerships with the headquarters of companies serving the region. For Mansour, a true coup would be to convince the Egyptian talent currently employed in Germany to return to Cairo and help “regain historic leadership of the region.” Potentially accelerating that effort would be SAP’s continued success with SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA) implementations and expanded opportunities with IoT, analytics and other emerging technologies. Ericsson’s Egyptian future, according to its executives, depends on ever-increasing internet connection speeds, recruitment of local talent, and support of a wider array of Ericsson products and services.
Building on the company’s legacy in Egypt, which dates back to 1897, when the first Ericsson telephony equipment was introduced in the country, connecting Alexandria to Cairo, Ericsson believes 5G will be next significant step. Ericsson executives noted that the Egyptian government “took proactive steps in launching 4G in the country … a testimony that the country realizes the importance of technology in building economic development. From a technology point of view, [Ericsson is] ready to switch on 5G on the existing 4G networks, so it is all a matter of getting the 5G license in place. [Ericsson’s] focus area now is to offer the latest solutions and technologies to existing customers for their 4G networks while working together on paving the way to launching 5G.”
Earlier in 2020, TBR spoke with Egyptian officials about the country’s continuing efforts to build a robust alternative for companies looking to outsource their IT services operations. As part of a follow-up, TBR also connected with SAP (NYSE: SAP) and Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) executives to understand why both technology vendors have chosen to expand operations in Cairo. The following reflects those exchanges and TBR’s ongoing analysis of offshore IT services centers.