Top Stories

Al Ghurair enroute to transforming digital landscape

19 May 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • Forming the building blocks for a strong and stable foundation, the agile Future Dynamics Programme provides Al Ghurair with cloud-based solutions taking us a step closer to becoming an agile, smart and data-driven business.
Al Ghurair enroute to transforming digital landscape
Friday 20 May 2022

19 May 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • Forming the building blocks for a strong and stable foundation, the agile Future Dynamics Programme provides Al Ghurair with cloud-based solutions taking us a step closer to becoming an agile, smart and data-driven business.

Our in-house implementation team comprises of over 100 skilled technical and functional consultants, solution architects, data engineers, AWS and Azure cloud engineers and security specialists, who all work in close collaboration with our various businesses across the Group.

Marinda Sheahan, Group Vice President – Information Technology, comments: “Our Future Dynamics programme marks the largest digital transformation in Al Ghurair's 60-year legacy. We are transforming our overall digital landscape, with Dynamics 365 as the core ERP, several industry specific ISV solutions and AWS for our data lake and analytics. We are happy to have achieved 4 ‘Go Lives’ over the past 9 months, including the implementation of 2 ISV solutions! The full programme implementation is being executed in-house, with our own in-house developed ERP implementation methodology. It is normal for a programme of this size, speed and complexity to face several challenges, but we are confident that we will achieve our ambitious timelines and transformation objectives.” 

The latest launch from our Future Dynamics programme was for the Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing business, migrating from Oracle to Microsoft D365, and replacing the legacy Shuttleworth printing application with Dynamics Print.

Commenting on the latest Future Dynamics launch, Arturo Lujan, CEO – AG Ventures, said: “As our AG Printing and Publishing Business continues to grow, the Future Dynamics AG Print solution will improve the operational efficiencies and accuracy of our business processes by eliminating several manual jobs, the automation of repetitive tasks, and the availability of one live dashboard from Dynamics Print. This will surely help us to make better business decisions and accomplish our KPI targets in the coming years.”

We thank our Business and IT teams and ISV partners for their collaboration and relentless commitment and dedication. Collaboratively, we have achieved these significant milestones all of which take us great strides towards become the agile, smart, and data-driven business that we strive to be!

Changing your business mindset from operational to aspirational

12 May 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • In a new editorial with Campaign Middle East, Sara O'Hara (MCIPR) (RPP®), Group Communications and Press Office shares her insights on the importance of utilising the power of Purpose to become better equipped to tackle the ever evolving - and notoriously capricious - consumer landscape.
Changing your business mindset from operational to aspirational
Friday 20 May 2022

12 May 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • In a new editorial with Campaign Middle East, Sara O'Hara (MCIPR) (RPP®), Group Communications and Press Office shares her insights on the importance of utilising the power of Purpose to become better equipped to tackle the ever evolving - and notoriously capricious - consumer landscape.

There’s no denying that brands form an integral part of our everyday interactions with the world around us. From the bed we wake up in, to the toothpaste we use each morning, to the car we drive to work in – brands, and our brand selections, are intrinsic components of our everyday lives.

Although this ubiquity has heavily influenced how companies communicate to their customers over the years, the consumer landscape is ever-evolving and notoriously capricious.

Understanding consumer behaviour, preference and expectations have long been a complex feat, so adding a global pandemic into the mix has certainly changed the playing field. As social and cultural norms have altered, marketers have had to pivot – continuously and reinvent how they communicate with customers.

Many of these changes, including accelerated digital migration and shifts in brand loyalty, are expected to last even after the world recovers from the devastating blow of the pandemic, and brands are standing at an interesting turn of history for consumerism: balancing value and purpose.

Aspirational communications

According to a McKinsey report in 2020, only 7% of today’s Fortune 500 CEOs still believe their companies should prioritise “making profits and not be distracted by social goals.” Although bottom-line results are important for business continuity, long-term relevance entails a much broader perspective – one that broadly captures both economic and social objectives.

Organisations, especially those who operate with a more obvious community impact, should adopt a more aspirational mindset in engaging their stakeholders. Knowing your customer is one thing but demonstrating a higher level of empathy and compassion will make a difference in fostering brand loyalty. Loyalty marketers have an obvious advantage here, as they already have secured data-driven insights and forged close customer relationships, but even the strongest loyalty strategies are not immune to a turn of the tide.

In the West, we see a growing trend toward consumer boycotts of organisations that contradict their own values. This consumer dynamic is slowly reaching the shores of the Gulf, as the call for ESG principles in the region becomes louder. Younger customers in particular display a strong social conscience in the marketplace, with 9 out of 10 Generation Z consumers agreeing that companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues.

Also linked to ESG is trust. Once limited to marketing communities, consumers themselves are now increasingly more astute to the concept of persuasive design techniques, algorithms and how their data is being used. A critical impact of this reckoning is a growing demand for craving for trust and transparency from brands.

Certainly, it’s time for pause and reflection. Companies must review their corporate identity through a modern-day lens and ask: what do we really stand for as a brand? This simple question could lead to crucial changes in the way products are designed, campaigns are curated, and the overall governance of a company.

The power of purpose-led organisations

Much of the discussion around brands being purpose-led comes from an undeniable shift in consumer sentiment. People better respond to organisations that are led by “big picture” goals. As one of the oldest family businesses in the UAE, with varying stakes in regional development and societal advancement, Al Ghurair has embodied the mission of “enhancing life”, since its founding days.

As companies across the globe begin making the shift towards purpose, the challenge for marketers is to ensure this statement is not just a public-facing tagline that smacks of bandwagon jumping. Rather, purpose must be a core guiding principle within the organisation, with company leaders inspiring the entire workforce to be a force for good, and employees embodying what it truly means.

The risk of inauthenticity usually means having to deal with some uncomfortable truths, especially in challenging economic and political upheavals. Companies driven by purpose are better equipped to tackle internal and external uncertainties – what sets them apart from others? Broadly speaking, the answer is simple: they know who they are, and why they do what they do.

This mindset easily filters down to the communities these companies serve, especially for a brand like Al Ghurair, which has deep, embedded roots across the region. It also leads to stronger and more meaningful relationship building with customers, who themselves, seek out purpose and value in their lives.

The family business advantage

The space for purpose and aspirational communications is bigger within family businesses, whose priorities tend to include legacy, long-term vision, and community engagement. In this region, where family businesses contribute greatly to local economies, these values will be crucial to defining the next chapter of post-pandemic growth – ensuring to hit both commercial targets and social goals.

It truly is an exciting time for brands to maximise their impact on society, genuinely enrich the lives of their customers, and ultimately inspire a consumer ecosystem that lives and breathes purpose.

Read the article in Campaign Middle East here: https://campaignme.com/changing-your-business-mindset-from-operational-to-aspirational-by-al-ghurair-investments-sara-ohara/

How family businesses in the UAE can stay relevant and adapt to the changing economy

19 April 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • In a new exclusive article with Arabian Business, our GCEO discusses how the UAE’s old family businesses should be taking the lead in embracing the promises of technology to navigate unprecedented changes
How family businesses in the UAE can stay relevant and adapt to the changing economy
Wednesday 11 May 2022

19 April 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • In a new exclusive article with Arabian Business, our GCEO discusses how the UAE’s old family businesses should be taking the lead in embracing the promises of technology to navigate unprecedented changes
  • Announcement follows recent ‘Friends of Spain’ prestigious award in recognition of forging relationships between Spain and the UAE presented on behalf of the President of Spain to Al Ghurair.

The last few years have seen remarkable changes in the UAE and across MENA – headlined by a global economic transition.

This transformation ushers in new challenges and opportunities; businesses are under renewed pressure to keep up with the times.

Consumer trends and buying behaviours have altered, as have employee preferences, and the fact that workforces are comprised of multiple generations.

Pressure on global supply chains continues to have untold impact on businesses, forcing them to reshape existing models. Recent political developments are also influencing the conversation.

Earlier this year, the Central Bank of the UAE projected the country’s GDP to grow at 4.2 percent in 2022, with non-oil real GDP increasing by 3.9 percent.

Similar growth trajectories are anticipated across the region, supported by a trend of rapid modernisation, where governments have identified ambitious plans to diversify income sources, attract investment, create jobs, and enhance the living standards of people.

The public and private sectors need to adopt a more agile mindset. Governments are not being left to solely deal with social issues, as stakeholders demand corporates to invest in a more equitable and sustainable future.

This raises an important question for companies who play an instrumental role in local economies – one that particularly puts long-standing businesses in the spotlight: how can they stay relevant?

Embrace the promises of technology

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed many vulnerabilities in the global economy – but it has also highlighted a crucial digital imperative among businesses.

An earlier study by the MIT Sloan School of Management revealed business leaders’ lack of urgency in technological adoption, but since then, many companies have pursued initiatives to ensure their business models remain viable.

A McKinsey survey showed many companies were ready to recognise technology’s strategic role as a critical business component, not just another approach to cut costs.

We at Al Ghurair, one of the oldest family businesses in the UAE, have embarked on a transformation journey that places innovation at the centre of our aspirations. The visionary leadership of the country also reflects this optimistic view on technology – with many recent policy initiatives directed towards supporting innovation.

The visionary leadership of the UAE reflects this optimistic view on technology – with many recent policy initiatives directed towards supporting innovation

Digital adoption is also demand-driven, as consumers have evolved through time. These changes will require significant flexibility from companies – whether it’s launching innovative digital-first products or incorporating modern tech applications such as AI.

For some companies it’s not that easy, especially those that balance heritage with what the future holds.

Many reports have shown the immense contribution of old family businesses in the UAE’s GDP and workforce, making them crucial vehicles of progress and development.

We should be taking the lead in embracing the promises of technology, fostering an economic ecosystem that is prepared to face unprecedented changes.

Strengthen social responsibility

These fast-moving changes come with a raft of social and environmental implications, which is why there is a strong global push for corporations to adopt ESG frameworks. Transformation strategies must have sustainability at the core – to ensure hitting a broad range of socially desirable ends.

As a UAE business with varying stakes in different sectors, we understand the extent of our impact, and the gravity of our responsibility to align with the government – a sustainable economy supported by a thriving community of socially responsible innovators.

The impetus to embrace sustainability exists, and research has shown the importance of data analytics around ESG variables to ensure stronger implementation. Big corporations play a massive role in the effective integration of ESG principles – especially in crucial industries such as construction, oil and gas, and retail.

Big corporations play a massive role in the effective integration of ESG principles.

The pandemic has also prompted discussions around the future of employment. As some of the biggest employers in the region, family businesses, such as Al Ghurair with over 28,000 employees, are under strict scrutiny to ensure fair and just labour policies.

Business leaders must not forget that all innovation efforts boil down to one thing – people, whether it be the customers they serve or the employees they hire.

It seems the relevance of multinational corporations has also been measured against their ability to remain conscious of different external issues, especially during times of social and political unrest.

This aggravates the need for companies to fully embrace modernisation, which entails keeping an awakened social consciousness, even sometimes on issues that don’t necessarily have a direct influence on their businesses.

Enduring corporations with a long-standing legacy must set a good example in raising non-financial impact.

We have built a roadmap that stays true to our promise of enhancing life in the communities we operate in.

Our businesses form an important part of social and economic infrastructure, and we are committed, as all diversified family businesses should be, in ensuring our success has impact beyond profit.

With the UAE’s announcement of its plans for the next 50 years, companies are implored to make their next biggest moves with a futuristic approach – one that balances profitability with the intention to make the world a better place for future generations.

Read the article in Arabian Business here: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/opinion/how-family-businesses-in-the-uae-can-stay-relevant-and-adapt-to-the-changing-economy

 

Al Ghurair set to onboard prominent Spanish brands after successful ‘La Tienda’ run during Dubai Expo

08 April 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • Managed by Al Ghurair’s retail arm, La Tienda, the commercial space of the Spanish Pavilion at the Dubai Expo, drew more than 580,000 visitors;
Al Ghurair set to onboard prominent Spanish brands after successful ‘La Tienda’ run during Dubai Expo
Friday 08 April 2022

08 April 2022, Dubai, UAE:

  • Managed by Al Ghurair’s retail arm, La Tienda, the commercial space of the Spanish Pavilion at the Dubai Expo, drew more than 580,000 visitors;
  • Announcement follows recent ‘Friends of Spain’ prestigious award in recognition of forging relationships between Spain and the UAE presented on behalf of the President of Spain to Al Ghurair.

Al Ghurair Retail, part of leading diversified UAE business Al Ghurair Investment, is set to onboard several prominent Spanish brands onto its portfolio, after successful management of La Tienda: Brands of Spain Shop, the commercial space of the Spain Pavilion at the recently concluded Expo 2020 Dubai.

The first-of-its-kind shop, which was a collaboration between Al Ghurair Retail and the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE), counted more than 580,000 visitors throughout its 6-month run. It featured more than 20 brands from Spain, across a variety of categories, including fashion, food and beverage, and accessories.

Commenting on the success of La Tienda, Arturo Lujan, CEO, Al Ghurair Ventures, which includes Al Ghurair Retail businesses, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai was a visionary showcase of synergy: bringing together countries, brands and organisations from across the globe, in an energetic and colourful celebration of cultural diversity.

Through this prestigious platform, we were able to support our representative brands with elevating profile and equity, as well as enhancing consumer choice in the regional retail sector. We are honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event through our Innovation and Sustainability commitments.

Participating brands at La Tienda were selected based on Sustainability, quality, innovation, and design, in alignment with Al Ghurair’s own core values to Enhance Life of our customers, employees and the communities that we serve. Its success has opened talks over Al Ghurair Retail potentially adding several Spanish brands to their diverse portfolio, cementing their footprint in the region.”

Fashion and jewellery brands were the top performers at La Tienda, taking up 53% of total sales, followed by gastronomy brands at 35%.

The conclusion of this triumphant stint at Expo 2020 follows the company’s recent ‘Friends of Spain’ prestigious award by Brands of Spain, in recognition of its contribution to forging economic, cultural, and business relationships between Spain and the UAE, which was presented on behalf of Spain’s President to Al Ghurair.

Arturo Lujan added: “We are committed to pursuing more impactful partnership opportunities that boost overall retail experience in the region, and support the UAE’s vision of sustainability and innovation, as well as its trade relations with international markets. We are proud to play a crucial economic and cultural link between the UAE and other countries. Spain is already a major supplier of fashion, beauty, and leather footwear to the UAE, and we are proud to amplify this bilateral relationship.

Now, we are working on building lasting relationships with several of the brands represented at La Tienda, and we hope to be able to share some exciting announcements about our extended retail portfolio soon!

The Expo 2020 Dubai closed its doors on March 31, reaching a milestone of over 20 million visits.

About Al Ghurair Investment:

Al Ghurair Investment aims to set the standard for family business groups in the Middle East. Al Ghurair is proud of its deep roots in the UAE, which trace back over six decades. Building on this enduring legacy, the Group has established diversified operations spanning more than 50 countries across the globe, employing approximately 28,000 people. Today, the Al Ghurair family name is synonymous with the development of the region and AGI builds on this long history of innovation and entrepreneurship through its operations in seven distinct sectors including food, resources, properties, construction, energy, mobility and ventures.

From its modest beginnings as a local trading business, the investment Group continues to be guided by its purpose: ‘Enhancing Life’. In order to fulfil this, AGI is dedicated to the adoption and implementation of best practices in all areas of its business, including investment and governance, in order to enable and drive future prosperity and benefits for the communities within which it operates.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Sara O’Hara
Head of Group Communications & Group Press Office
Al Ghurair Investment
Email: media@al-ghurair.com