Interview with Waleed Ali

After 2020 being a roller coaster ride for everyone, what do you think is now the role of the Chief Digital Officer in an organization?
Chief Digital Officer should lead the organization digital innovation ecosystem building and start partnerships with internal and external stakeholders to lead the design and implementation of futuristic customer experience that can compete and win in todaysfast changing consumer behavior and market demands. We can commonly agree that 2020 forced us to change not only the way we think or form our strategies, but also the way we get things done. Working from home is the new normal now, and this new remote collaboration environments need to depend heavily on innovative digital solutions to allow agilityrequired to achieve strategic goals and better serve targeted customers and here where the role of CDO to orchestrate and sustain the organization digital ecosystem.

What is it that organizations are lacking in their digital transformation journey and why?
Digital transformation strategies are the key instrument in shaping the innovative application of ICT in any domain. That’s been said, the technology use/upgrade is not enough for benefit realization, which is the main driver for digital transformation. Some organizations are lacking the alignment between the digital transformation goals and benefit realization for internal and external stakeholders of the organization.Also we should take into consideration the cultural and behavioral changes and transformation of the human factor. In today’s digital transformation strategies, most of organizations lack clear plan for cultural shift.

What is your ideal Digital Growth Vision for the Next 5 Years?
I would say building multi-domain digital synergy. Public and private sectors are currently serving digital by default generation with evolving needs and expectations.

To be able to keep up with emerging trends and technologies, we need to build multi-domain digital synergy to break working in silosand allow the ecosystem to collaborate in the digital space and build more inclusive services based on the industry 4.0 standards.

How valuable was data in 2020, and how will data impact your 2021 strategy?
According to, there was an increase in the volume of data/information created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide from 41 zettabytes in 2019 to 59 in 2020 and expected to reach 149zettabyte by 2024. This means the world has produces more data in 2020 due to the pandemic and shift in user interactions. This data was vital to decision / policy makers, business owners, researches around the world to guide them navigate the path full of rapid changes and challenges as well as forecast and predict future needs for business continuity.

2021 will continue the same pattern with increment of 15 zettabyte from 2020 to reach 74 zettabyte of data worldwide. We need this amount of data more than ever to form data driven strategies that will achieve economic recovery globally.

How do you think attendees will benefit by attending the MENA CDO Connect 2021?
By attending MENA CDO Connect 2021, attendees can interact and connect with CxO, experts, and professionals form public and private sectors along with teach giants and SMEs. Connecting with this unique mix of minds can greatly benefit the process of exchanging knowledge, experiences and lessons learned to prepare us for the post COVID world.

Waleed Ali