Industry Thought Leadership

Use the Technology. Don't Buy it.

September, 2021
Shaista Shaw
Head of Global Marketing


OmniClouds has a simple proposition — use the technology; don’t buy it. Spread across 23 countries, it offers ICT as a service and wants to be your partner in the cloud. OmniClouds’ unique proposition is to empower organisations to reach cloud services — or even their local and international branches — economically and reasonably where they pay as per their usage.

Tell us about OmniClouds and its operations.
At OmniClouds, we solve complex problems with simple strategies, with one of the world’s most comprehensive platforms to cross the chasm of the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector. OmniClouds has a simple proposition — use the technology; don't buy it. Instead of investing in Information & Communications Technology (ICT), you should be simply using it to grow your business. This greatly reduces CAPEX and OPEX for organisations making it much easier to launch and create leaner more versatile verticals that can address a disruptive market environment.

What does OmniClouds offer, and can you explain briefly what the term 'cloud' refers to in the technology world?
In the old days, the ICT industry was on-premises, where you hosted your servers and software, took care of your security, and had your own IT people. The word "cloud" often refers to the Internet, which more precisely means a Data Centre full of servers connected to the Internet performing a service. However, the term "cloud computing" refers to the on-demand availability of computer resources such as storage and computing power without the end-user having direct active management on them.

In a classical technological world, every single company has its own set of applications installed on its premises at their own ‘Data Centres’, so this is what we refer to as an on-premises solution. Now, unfortunately, these solutions are very costly. It costs a lot of money and requires full-fledged maintenance, upgrades, updates, software, and hardware compatibility issues and upgrading systems after every two or three years result in very high capital expenditure. If you were a big organisation, you ended up with armies of technology people to help you do your business. Now we have moved to the cloud, which can be leased. All you need to do is pay a monthly recurring cost for the services you consume, which is a subscription fee to be able to use these services.

What does OmniClouds offer to strengthen the SME sector?
The GCC, especially the UAE, takes great efforts to encourage homegrown businesses. For SMEs, it will be no less than 40-50 per cent in terms of transforming Capex required into Opex. More importantly, it is the safety of the spend since you have not invested in routers, switches or servers. Tomorrow if your business slows down, for example, because of a lockdown, you can reduce your ICT spends accordingly. OmniClouds’ services have also made it possible for everyone — from global contact centers to retail chains — to have their employees working from home.

What strategies is OmniClouds adopting to address the growing concern of security and data privacy?
Yes, it differs from one industry to another industry. There are two important things I would like to mention here, the first one is regulations and the second is all of the technology that accompanies cloud access and it must provide secured connectivity to these applications and information. In a nutshell, we do ensure that the users’ information and access to the clouds are highly secured. Our cloud partners like Microsoft, AWS, ensure that the application itself and access to the data are entirely safe within their premises.

Our cybersecurity gurus ensure your network is equipped to respond rapidly to any threats. We have launched the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) with which users at home can use an agent to connect to a domain controller, cloud or office with full network control without any hardware deployed. Customers get the best range of firewalls right at their home or office, for just a nominal fee.

How has the pandemic affected the cloud computing industry?
The pandemic brought about the age of innovation. UAE has adapted rapidly to the new work-from-home environment and the cloud computing world is blos¬soming because of it. The Covid-19 pandemic sent many OmniClouds customers into a spin, including a global contact centre operator, whose agents were locked out of office by stay-at-home orders. An OmniClouds device called OmniRemote saved this company from potential collapse. The OmniRemote connects through an ADSL line and a SIM card, which enabled employees to connect to their contact centre and continue making calls. “Eventually, this business eliminated its office space by moving call centre operations to its home-based workforce, while expanding their agent number by 50 per cent,” says Shaista.

Another customer in the banking sector is in beta testing for an encrypted virtual desktop, where the bank officer will be able to work from home at the same level of cybersecurity as if he were sitting in the office. With technologies built for the new way of working, OmniClouds is expanding fast.

What products and services does OmniClouds offer its customers?
We provide a range of services ca¬tered towards SMEs, bigger cor¬porations as well as industries such as retail, automobile, educa¬tion, finance, contact center and more. We also offer our services — OmniBranch to connect your branches, OmniConnect to link you to the cloud, OmniRemote to enable remote working, and OmniSec to take care of your security needs. By combining our products and services, we support businesses and companies to scale their operations and reach new markets.

Why is the education sector a key market for OmniClouds and what type of services do you offer in this sector?
Education is a key market for Omni Clouds, with both public and private providers in the region quick to jump in with the unique structures that cloud computing and remote education can provide. For students, we offer flexible plans at single-digit dollars per month, for access to all their online course materials from K1 to K12, which is helping governments and schools move their entire offering online. We have created credits, with some education ministries in the Middle East, where OmniClouds is partnering to transform education from certificate oriented only to knowledge-based with access to thousands of library and approved curriculums along with accelerated access to top online games at a record low latency. We added this as part of our solution, communities loved it, governments loved it, we have people asking if they can use our service. To that our answer is always yes because they can use the service for one month and decide after that if they wish to terminate it.”

Finally, how has 2020 shaped your thinking and influenced your plans for 2021?
The first thing we’ve learnt in 2020 is that we will not go back to what it used to be before the pandemic. Similarly, the economy of sharing is here to stay and you will share everything — a ride, a residential place, the workplace, computing resources. Besides, the world has become a place where remote interaction is a must. Cloud is the future and the present in the IT world. We can’t downplay the importance of cloud solutions. Our respective governments are adopting cloud solutions. No one can stay away from the cloud. The people will definitely adopt this technology, when they realise that it is safe, cost-effective and easier to operate. We are helping organisations in these areas to transform and economise their business. OmniClouds are also working on the next generation of AI technologies, from software that lets banks identify customers on the end of a video call using facial recognition technology, to mesh networking that can route around physical Internet infrastructure in an emergency or the developing world. They have ideas for temporary buildings that could be classrooms by day and libraries by night, filled with digital books and learning materials. They will continue to push the boundaries and will be expanding into several more countries this year.

Definitely, a business to watch in 2021 !