Microsoft addressing mobility: Nahas

Charles Nahas, Microsoft General Manager during the interview Charles Nahas, Microsoft General Manager during the interview

When we talk about digital and modern technology, everyone will surely agree that Microsoft is among the leaders in this field. Microsoft General Manager Charles Nahas spoke to Kuwait Times in an exclusive interview about product and service solutions.

KT: What is Microsoft's role in the E-Gov forum?

Nahas: Microsoft is known to all governments around the world. We are the most trusted brand in digital and electronic solutions, probably the reason why we are at the forefront of e-government programs for many governments around the world, which includes Kuwait. Our role is to help agencies modernize and adapt to technology for better services. We provide them with the necessary tools. We've been launching new products and services to help reduce government cost and deliver better services to people - we've been doing this for years now for the ministry of finance, ministry of health, ministry of education and almost all government agencies in Kuwait. We are at the forefront of modernizing their services to cope with the fast-changing world.

KT: What is the latest technology at Microsoft these days?

Nahas: We've been launching several new technologies - we are addressing mobility and making sure that we can provide applications and services to any type of mobile. We are putting technology in the infra and the cloud, so that it can launch services. Digital transformations nowadays are powered by the cloud; it powers businesses, governments and empowers communities and people. We are investing greatly to meet the demand and bring customers choice and flexibility.

KT: What are your achievements so far in Kuwait and the Middle East?

Nahas: The achievement we can really be proud of is the continuous trust and confidence of every satisfied customer over our products and services. We have more than 130 partners in Kuwait, from local Kuwaiti companies to the government. We are also committed to transfer knowledge to be able to serve customers the best. The good thing about my job is that we understand our customers' needs. We are happy that the government of Kuwait is realigning itself to the plans already in place for the digital world.

KT: How is Microsoft coping with the current political situation in some parts of the Middle East?   

Nahas: Here in the region, it is a part of daily life - probably we are immune to it now; there are always ups and downs in everything. Whatever happens, we are bound to navigate around that. It is sad, but we always hope for the best. In short we are coping and doing business regardless of the political situation on the ground. In fact, we are growing despite political issues in some countries in the Mideast.

KT: How many Microsoft employees work for ME/MENA operations?

Nahas: Plenty. More than 2,000 Microsoft employees are present in the region including Africa.

KT: How are smaller competitors working with Microsoft?

Nahas: The market is already prepared for this. We treat them as our competitors regardless whether they are small or big. There is always competition in the market and this is good. It's very healthy and you are actually forcing yourself to provide better services and products to valued customers. At the end of the day, competition makes people happy and we are proud that Microsoft is a known provider of products and services with quality.

KT: Can we see a wider expansion in the next 5-10 years?

Nahas: We are growing rapidly. This is the market that we really putting our strengths and we also see a lot of desire from the consumer's side.

KT: What about training and development?

Nahas: My team is constantly training for products knowledge and services. This is the way to let them understand the customers' landscapes. This is what we do with our partners; we do a lot of trainings and seminars as well to help them. For example, at the Ministry of Education, we've been training teachers on the use of new technology, how to share, how to do the job easier and faster. The teachers will also share their knowledge with their students.

KT: What's the difference between your previous jobs to the Microsoft one?  

Nahas: All jobs have their own interesting challenges. For me, Kuwait is completely new, but this job is the most exciting one. Kuwait has vast opportunities. With my small team ever-ready to do the job and perform any task necessary, Kuwait has turned out to be a wonderful country to live in. Kuwait has been making an impact on my personal life and career, and meeting new people and facing them individually is really amazing.

I've been in Kuwait for the past three years, but the experience is really great! I have been with Microsoft for the past 10 years and my current position takes me to serving the Levant area, Middle East and Africa. We have a very strong team that has been working very hard to achieve our goals.  I think to be successful, you need to make sure that your team is motivated to work and provide learning facilities so that we can all move in the same direction.

KT: What about Microsoft CSR within the community?

NAHAS: We are building our CSR based on two pillars: 1) Education: We are focused on developing programs to especially educate the youth, like how to use technology, how to start a business and how to make a business plan. 2) Enabling government to provide better services, so we are helping the government provide better services to its people and citizens.

By Ben Garcia