SME Tech Innovation Summit & Awards highlights key themes of digital transformation


Awards of recognition for IT leaders and companies were presented in a fitting finale at the event

The 2023 edition of the SME Tech Innovation Summit & Awards held at Hotel Conrad Dubai on 16th February saw an impressive gathering of mid and senior-level IT and Business heads from UAE-based Businesses in attendance. The event was organized by Leap Media Solutions, publishers of CXO DX, a leading publication for the CXO community in the region, and organizers of large format industry events like Future Workspace Summit & Awards in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

SME Tech Innovation Summit & Awards focused on the objective of facilitating dialogues and a better understanding of as many Technologies related transformation aspects that can fuel growth for SME companies.

The day’s journey unfolded through various sessions of insightful keynotes and panel discussions and culminated with a spectacular awards ceremony including recognitions for high achievers from the Tech industry of the region.

There were several insightful keynote speakers throughout the day.

Massimo Angelucci, Senior Solution Architect at Lenovo

Charbel Zreiby, Director, Channel Presales, Dell Technologies

The first keynote speaker of the day Charbel Zreiby, Director, Channel Presales, Dell Technologies spoke on Accelerate Intelligent Outcomes everywhere with AI. The second keynote speaker was Massimo Angelucci, Senior Solution Architect at Lenovo who spoke about ‘The Next Digital Transformation’. The next speaker Harsh Thakkar, Distribution Sales Manager at VeeaM Software spoke on how to ‘Keep your Business running with Veeam Data Protection Platform’.

Samer Semaan, Channel & Alliances Manager, Middle East & Emerging Africa, Pure Storage discussed ‘Pure Storage’s Pillars of Digital Transformation’ in his presentation. Following his address, the next speaker, Farid Najjar, Area Distribution Lead at NetApp spoke on ‘How to manage applications and data everywhere across hybrid multi-cloud environments.’

Harsh Thakkar, Distribution Sales Manager at VeeaM Software

Samer Semaan, Channel & Alliances Manager, Middle East & Emerging Africa, Pure Storage

Aaamir M. Sheikh, Channel Lead GCC at Freshworks spoke about ‘Key CX Trends’ in his keynote address and he was followed by Rejeesh Kumar, Director of Technology & Services at Mindfire Technologies who spoke on ‘Why Managed Security Services is crucial for effective cybersecurity’.

The first panel discussion of the day highlighted how several Businesses in the UAE have been able to innovate and introduce new business models using digital technologies and channels, thereby broadening their customer and market reach. The discussion brought into the spotlight ‘How going digital helps innovation and raises competitiveness’.

Farid Najjar, Area Distribution Lead at NetApp

The distinguished panelists of this session included:

  • Nader Amiri, Founder & COO, elGrocer
  • Neelam Keswani, General Manager-UAE, PayTabs
  • Anuvrat Gaurav, Regional Country Director,
  • Omair Siddiqui, Regional Commercial Director of Grocery, Careem
  • Charbel Zreiby, Data Center Channel at Dell Technologies Middle East, Russia, Turkey & Africa (MERAT)
  • Samer Semaan, Channel Manager Middle East, Pure Storage

The second panel discussed the topic ‘Optimising Cloud Transformation Strategies for the Mid-Market’ and brought to the fore different views about what next companies need to do and what they shouldn’t in terms of their cloud strategies.

Aaamir M. Sheikh, Channel Lead GCC at Freshworks

The eminent panelists of the second session included:

  • Santhosh John Thomas, Head of IT, African+ Eastern (NE) BVI Ltd
  • George Akhras, CIO at AMSI
  • Neeraj Giroti, Senior Manager IT at Century Financial
  • Sayed Habib, General Manager of Business Development at Danube Home
  • Harsh Thakkar, Distribution Sales Manager, Veeam Software
  • Farid Najjar, Area Distribution Lead, NetApp
  • Wael Mustafa, Country Manager for the Gulf Region at Lenovo

The topic of the third-panel discussion was ‘Optimising an omnichannel CX experience’, wherein the panelists from different verticals had interesting perspectives to offer on how Omnichannel CX is today quite integral for Businesses and organizations to have an effective reach out to their customers/clients/consumers or users.

Rejeesh Kumar, Director of Technology & Services at Mindfire Technologies

The expert panelists of this session included:

  • Sagarika Nayak, Regional Customer Success Manager, GMG
  • Kowshik Bhattacharjee, Head- Service Excellence Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres
  • Sun & Sand Sports Sanjeev Nichani, Head CRM & Loyalty, Apparel Group
  • Abdulrahman Khaiwi, Head of Information Technology, Emirates National Schools
  • Akhil Desai, Head – Customer Experience & Service, Udrive
  • Shreyas Nandennavar, Head of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances – M

    Panel Discussion on ‘How going digital helps innovation and raises competitiveness’.

    EA, Freshworks

The fourth panel of the day held an exhaustive discussion on the topic

Role of technology in making Corporate TAX, less-TAXING!’. The session was powered by Tally and was moderated by Priyesh Sethi, Senior Marketing Manager of MENA at Tally. The eminent panelists included:

  • CA Jai Prakash Agarwal, Managing Partner Smart InfoPark Technologies
  • CA Harikishan Rankawat, Managing Partner – RNG Auditors and Vice Chairman – ICAI Dubai Chapter
  • CA Atul Gupta, Board Member IFAC and XBRL International, and Chairman GST Committee at FII (Federation of Indian Industry), President ICAI (2020-21)
  • Hany Elnaggar, CA, M.Sc, Group Head of Direct & International Tax (ME&GCC)

The final panel discussion of the day focused on ‘Managing cybersecurity challenges in a post covid hybrid work era.’ Anoop Kumar, Information Security Manager from Gulf News brought his industry expertise into making the session quite insightful along with the other cybersecurity experts who were part of the panel. The panelists of this session included:

Panel Discussion on ‘Optimising an omnichannel CX experience’

  • Shahab ud din, Group IT Infrastructure & Security Manager, Al Ittihad Investments
  • Bilal Lodhia, Enterprise IT Security Manager at Daman Investments,
  • Shoeb Pawaskar, Head of Cybersecurity and compliance in Ducab
  • Jishant Karunakaran, Founder and CEO of Mindfire Technologies

A spectacular Awards ceremony brought up the finale of the day’s agenda. The Awards recognized IT and cybersecurity leaders from different verticals as well as CX experts from various industries.

The recognitions were for the outstanding contribution in their respective roles to the continued pursuit of digital transformation. A select number of companies were recognized for outstanding digital transformation from across key sectors.

Awards were also presented to leading vendors, distributors, and SIs across different categories who provide solutions that are helping drive technology transformation across the SME sector.

The SME Tech Innovation Summit & Awards was sponsored by Platinum Sponsors – Dell Technologies and Ingram Micro as well as Intel-Lenovo. The Gold sponsors included Pure Storage and Vad Technologies, Logitech and Newcom, Veeam and Redington, NetApp and Ingram, Freshworks and DMWorld, D-Link as well as Mindfire Technologies. The silver sponsors were Finesse, Cloud Box Technologies and Barracuda Networks, the supporting partner Exclusive Networks as well as Knowledge partners- Tally Solutions.



SME Tech Innovation Awards 2023 Winners list
Winners of the  ‘Technology Transformer of the Year category
Winner Name Company name
1 Abdulrahman Khaiwi Emirates National Schools
2 Ali H Ghunaim Canadian Specialist Hospital
3 Aliasgar Bohari Zulekha Hospitals
4 Arun Kumar Mohta FJ Group
5 Ashraf Salah ElDin Hilton Hotels Worldwide
6 George Akhras AMSI
7 Gigi Mathew Thomas Al Ittihad Investments
8 James John Emirates National Investment
9 Khaqan Shaheen MIR Plastic Industries
11 Mahesh Pillai Biolitec Healthcare Group
12 Manoj Gopalakrishnan Al Abbar Group
13 Mario Foster Al Ghurair Group.
14 Mohannad Hennawi NAFFCO FZCO
15 Mudassar Ali International Modern Hospital.
16 Muhamed Noufel International Modern Hospital.
17 Mustansir Aziz Automech Group
18 Padam Sundar Kafle Aster Hospitals
19 Ramakrishnan Natarajan Emirates Hospitals Group
20 Sageer NK Emirates Hospitals Group
21 Sanil Manoly University of Wollongong
22 Santhosh John Thomas African + Eastern
23 Shijin Prasad Cure Medical Centers & Pharmacy
24 Shon Philip Concorde Corodex Group
25 Tamer Hamed  DUCAB
26 Umesh Moolchandani Bin Dasmal Group
27 Vimal Rama Chandran HLB HAMT


Cybersecurity Transformer of the Year
Winner Name Company Name
1 Abbas Sabuwala DMCC
2 Bilal Lodhia Daman Investments
3 Jayesh Nandanan Mediclinic Middle East
4 Rami Mardini Robodin
5 Shahab ud din Ittihad International Investment


Technology Accelerator of the Year
Winner Name Company Name
1 Aliakbar Patwa Kitch-in Portal Ltd
2 Farathullakhan Delma Exchange
3 Mohammad Bilal Emirates Hospitals Group
4 Mohammad Hicham Alrayis airssist
5 Mohammed Azeemuddin Al Rawabi Dairy
6 Nizamettin Gulener Turkish Village Restaurant & Cafee LLC.
7 Robert Araniego HAJT
8 Sabin Subramannian Class Hotel Apartments
9 Saravanakumar Dhinakaran BITS Pilani Dubai Campus
10 Shabeer Mangattu Parambil Abu Dhabi University
11 Yousif Odeh Emirates Driving Institute
12 Zahid Ali Majestic City Retreat Hotel


CX Transformer of the Year
Winner Names Company name
Akhil Desai Udrive
Kowshik Bhattacharjee Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres
Qusai Almeqdadi EY
Sagarika Nayak GMG
Sanjeev Nichani Apparel Group
Sheeba Hasnain Sharjah Document and Archive Authority


Outstanding Technology Transformation
Category Winner
1 Outstanding Technology Transformation African + Eastern
2 Outstanding Technology Transformation Ali & Sons
3 Outstanding Technology Transformation AMSI
4 Outstanding Technology Transformation BITS Pilani (Dubai Campus)
5 Outstanding Technology Transformation Dubai Taxi Corporation
6 Outstanding Technology Transformation Emirates Hospitals Group
7 Outstanding Technology Transformation Emirates National Schools
8 Outstanding Technology Transformation HLB HAMT
9 Outstanding Technology Transformation Khamas Hospitality


Winners of the Vendor Awards
Category Winner
1 Digital Transformation Vendor of the Year Dell Technologies
2 Backup and Recovery Solutions Vendor of the Year Veeam Software
3 Multi-Cloud Data Management Vendor of the Year NetApp
4 Cyber Protection Vendor of the Year  Acronis
5 Cloud Networking Vendor of the Year D-Link
6 Collaboration Solutions Hardware Vendor of the Year  Logitech
7 Storage  Solutions Vendor of the Year Pure Storage
8 Storage Hardware Vendor of the Yea Toshiba
9 Digital Workspace Solutions Vendor of the Year  Freshworks
10 Cloud Application Security Vendor of the Year Barracuda Networks
11 Datacentre Infrastructure Vendor of the Year  Lenovo
12 Cybersecurity Vendor of the Year Sophos
13 Leaders In Driving Compliance Awareness  Tally


Winners of the Distributor Awards
Category winner
1 Regional VAD of the Year Ingram Micro
2 Digital Transformation VAD of the Year  Mindware
3 Storage VAD of the Year VAD Technologies
4 Networking Distributor of the Year  Logicom
5 Information Security VAD of the Year  Bulwark Technologies
6 Cloud Solutions VAD of the Year  BPS
7 Best Security Services by A Distributor  DigiGlass by Redington
8 Collaboration Solutions Distributor of the Year  NEWCOM


Winners of the SI Awards
Category winner
1 Digital Transformation Integrator of the Year  Finesse
2 Cybersecurity Solutions Provider of the Year  Mindfire Technologies
3 Infrastructure Solutions Integrator of the Year  Cloud Box Technologies
4 Emerging SI of the Year  DM World

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