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Interviews

The Business Year Interview on Cybersecurity, with Claude J. Bahsali, Chairman & CEO of ITG (Holding)

December 27, 2017 - Beirut, Lebanon

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How are you changing your portfolio of offerings and services to adapt to new technologies and demands?

 

CLAUDE J. BAHSALI As a group, we have traditionally operated under a 'value-added reseller' model. Under that scheme, we basically buy products and solutions from major IT brands, such as HP, Cisco, Canon, Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, and others, and we resell them providing added-value services, such as implementation and local support. However, the IT market is changing. This kind of model is old and will be transformed into something new whereby customers will buy technology differently. They do not want to buy IT products, manage them, install them, and have employees run and support them. They want to buy IT as a service. They need a credible company that has all of the skills and expertise to provide them with “managed services," though some people call that cloud-based services. There could be different names, but it is not a new idea; it is the concept of outsourcing. Today, many businesses find that complicated to handle IT internally. We are proposing services to manage customers' IT infrastructure, hence removing the IT complexity while improving their operations. They can focus on their core business, while we take care of their IT infrastructure and security. We have built data centers in Lebanon and can provide top-quality, managed services and solutions.

 

What developments are set to come this year?

 

CLAUDE J. BAHSALI We are always watching and assessing. In 2016, we were more in a mood of consolidation and restructuring what we have because, over the past few years, we made a number of acquisitions. We acquired one company that specializes in Microsoft customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions. It was a skill-set that we lacked, so we assessed that company and acquired a team of around 10 persons and integrated the CRM solutions within our software offering. The general situation during the last couple of years has not encouraged us to undertake more acquisitions. Rather, we are focusing on transforming ourselves to embrace the new trends and challenges. That is our priority. In parallel, we are assessing some companies that need the financial backup of a group like ours, and whose acquisition will expand our reach to more customers. M&A is something that is always in the back of our minds.