Middle East UAE Tejari
Empowering Dubai's Small to Medium Enterprises with a B2C E-commerce Solution, Enabling Them to Sell Their Products and Services Online
Monday, June 25, 2012
UAE

Aside from being a major business hub in the Middle East, the Dubai Economic Department (DED) also wanted Dubai to be the main e-commerce centre for the region. Tejari, with assistance from Microsoft, created a B2C e-commerce platform that would enable Dubai SME’s to market their goods and services, giving them much broader penetration into the GCC market - all for a reasonable fee and without any capital investment from their side. The project allows, Dubai SMEs to increase their sales and brand visibility while enhancing profitability at low costs.

Business Needs

As one of the successful units of Dubai world, Tejari is the leading B2B online marketplace for emerging markets. The company was established in June 2000, by HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the current UAE Minister for Foreign Trade. One of its objectives is to be the first e-commerce choice in the GCC market; which covers the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Oman. With only 1.2 million internet users in 2000, GCC is the world’s fastest growing internet market with approximately 18.7 million users since 2010. And with e-commerce expected to reach $15 billion by 2015 in the GCC, Tejari wanted to be the first to offer an online shopping mall (eMall) for SME’s of Dubai to attract shoppers across the region.

eMall a strategic solution capitalizes the incomparable e-commerce experience of Tejari and the inspirational vision of the Dubai Economic Department (DED) to:

  • build a first-of-its-kind e-commerce B2C platform supporting the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of Dubai by providing them with an additional channel of commerce to market their products and services on a single virtual eMall locally and internationally. The intended effect is to make Dubai, the shopping hub of the Middle East for both traditional and online commerce.

  • increase eReadiness among UAE residents to maximize the role of technology in their business, personal, social, and educational goals with an objective to enhance welfare and prosperity.

  • create new revenue opportunities for SME companies to leverage the internet power in driving innovation and opening up new markets, industries, and customers with competitive advantages.

Despite the obvious financial benefits of e-commerce, only a very small percentage of Dubai’s SMEs are harnessing its potential. Factors attributed to this include the perception that developing an e-commerce website and infrastructure is complex and expensive, requiring substantial upfront investment; longer payback period due to start-up, as well as fear of online fraud and credit card risks. Tejari realized that these concerns needed to be addressed in order to get Dubai’s SME’s onboard.

Solution

Due to the complexity of this project, Tejari was looking for both a strategic and technical e-commerce adviser. They contacted several potential partners to hear what they could offer. After a careful deliberation, Tejari selected Microsoft.

"Our decision to choose Microsoft was based on a number of important factors, such as a clear track record of implementing a lot of successful projects both in the private and public sector- particularly with initiatives geared towards small and medium business enterprises," says Ayaz Maqbool, Managing Director for Tejari’s B2C business.

"We also wanted a company that could provide us with a complete stack of technology as well as a vast pool of subject matter experts who are available globally, which can help ensure the success of our project. In this regard, Microsoft was a clear winner."

Equally important is the total cost of ownership. Tejari wanted to be sure that the costs of setting up, developing and maintaining the B2C e-commerce solution would be reasonable.

"We found out that by using Microsoft’s technologies, our costs would be lower as opposed to using technologies and services from other competitors. We are building an e-commerce business where cost efficiency is a major factor. We looked at Microsoft's cloud computing and the benefits of using Azure. This seemed the ideal approach."

"We heard about the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program. In a nutshell, subscribing to this program would mean that Microsoft provides assistance in defining the solution roadmap, business model, capabilities, features, technical and business requirements to ensure that we are on track for this project. For us, this was a perfect solution."

Microsoft then worked with the Tejari team to develop a detailed multiple-year delivery plan. It included initiatives such as B2C roadmap, Azure, Mobile, Surface Computing and customer relationship management. In addition, Microsoft prepared a business value model detailing projected IT investments over the short, mid, and long-term periods to support the strategy and map the cost and respective return on investment.

Microsoft also put the Tejari team in contact with industry experts and product teams at Microsoft. The two parties discussed the business and technology requirements of Tejari B2C platform and how to fulfill them. In addition, Tejari team attended the Azure Microsoft Strategic meetings, where they shared best practices with the Microsoft IT architecture team.

Benefits

Subscribing to the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program has gained Tejari many benefits.

Solution Roadmap and Strategy

Since the arrival of the Enterprise Architect and by using Microsoft's enterprise strategy framework, Tejari has seen significant improvement in how it plans, manages, and delivers B2C solutions. In particular, better alignment and integration with the business, and establishing a dedicated enterprise architecture capability, processes, and standards.

One-stop shop for Business Processes and Technical Expertise

Throughout this project, Tejari has relied primarily on Microsoft's expertise and technology in defining, developing and executing the solution. Furthermore, a lot of time and money was saved, since having Microsoft as a partner insured that all issues could be adequately addressed without the need to contact other third parties.

"Microsoft’s Enterprise Strategy Program, has provided Tejari access to the best resources and technology available - at a very competitive cost. The project is a great success because of it."

A cost-effective way for Dubai’s SMEs to sell online

For a reasonable fee, and without any capital investment, Dubai's SMEs now have the opportunity to engage in B2C e-commerce. This translates to greater profitability, the ability to reach a much wider consumer audience, and increased visibility within Dubai and internationally.

"By joining, SMEs can just focus on driving their business instead of having to worry about online fraud, maintenance and infrastructure costs associated with online commerce. Additionally, we will help SMEs by getting their ecommerce business up and running within a few weeks of signing up.

The project also brings valuable analytics for the Dubai Economic Department (DED) to further develop the SME sector by enhancing revenues, management of online consumer protection and thus help maintain Dubai’s competitive advantage as a shopping hub.

Developing an e-commerce website and infrastructure individually can be complex and expensive for SME’s. This process can take up to 2 years from start to finish and is in need of constant development and monitoring. We help SME’s to overcome all these obstacles through our platform and are continuously guiding them on building their e-commerce businesses.

For Tejari and Dubai’s SME community, this is definitely a win-win situation.

Tejari is so pleased with the clear benefits of the Enterprise Strategy Program, that it has renewed its subscription in order to obtain further assistance from Microsoft in defining the roadmap further.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft opened its Dubai-based Middle East office in 1991. Microsoft today has four subsidiaries in the Middle East region: Microsoft Gulf which oversees Microsoft activities in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Yemen, Microsoft Arabia covering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Microsoft Egypt and Microsoft North Africa East Mediterranean and Pakistan that oversees Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine Territories and Pakistan.

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Microsoft Middle East's Web site is: www.microsoft.com/middleeast

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