The Global Impact of Digital Transformation

In this episode of Cybersecurity (Marketing) Unplugged, Shoushany also discusses:

  • How to tackle the global talent shortage;
  • The differences in the UAE and the US’s approach to digital transformation;
  • How adopting a digital transformation strategy can solve the problems our world is facing.

Rudy Shoushany has wide experience in the information technology field, particularly in the financial sector with over 20 years of experience which gives him the ability to aid organizations. His specialty is in ICT governance, compliance, strategies, and cybersecurity in digital transformation of fintechs. Shoushany has been an active speaker, board member, coach and mentor for startups. He is also the host and moderator of the DXTalk Series, a Digital Transformation talk show, for which he has been selected as a top 50 Global Thought Leader and Influencer.

As we’re all rushing madly toward the fourth industrial revolution, it is putting tremendous pressure on cybersecurity efforts. Rudy Shoushany, an expert in digital transformation strategy weighs in on what digital transformation means and where we stand in terms of progress on the digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new, or even disrupt the current business processes, the culture, customer experience, to meet those ever changing business and market requirements.

Full Transcript

This episode has been automatically transcribed by AI, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors. 


Steve King 00:13
Good day everyone, I’m Steve King, the managing director of cyber theory. Today’s episode is going to focus on digital transformation and its global impact. Joining me today is Rudy Shoshone, the founder of dx talks and a top 100 thought leader on digital transformation. With a 20 year background in financial services technology leadership in both United Arab Emirates and Middle East and North Africa, Rudy also serves on the Osaka board, and sits on the strategy committee for digital transformation and Lebanon. So welcome, really, I’m glad you could join me today.

Rudy Shoushany 00:58
Thank you for the invite. Really pleasure for me to be on this podcast today to try to really enhance the meaning of digital transformation and try to lightly touch base and get more information on the topic.

Steve King 01:15
Yeah, and it’s a topic of topics isn’t that we’re all rushing madly toward the industrial revolution for Dotto, which is putting tremendous pressure on cybersecurity efforts. So we’re in 5g is right around the corner. So it seems like we’ve been talking about this for years now, in your view, and you come at this from a part of the world that has more recently embraced digital transformation. What does digital transformation mean? And where do we stand in your mind on on progress there?

Rudy Shoushany 01:54
Thanks for the question. Well, as you know, you know, digital transformation means many things for different types of people, wherever they are coming from their background, and so on. Let me try to simplify it in a way that digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new, or even disrupt the current business processes, the culture, customer experience, to meet that ever changing. Today, we’re living in a really changing business and market requirements, especially after COVID. So in other words, creating that new business model inside your organization.

Steve King 02:34
I know the Middle East, and in particular, the UAE differ from the United States in the way that they’ve gone about embracing what we call the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Can you give us some examples of those difference?

Rudy Shoushany 02:50
Yeah, sure. Sure. I’ll just want to give a background, the 2020 you N E government survey, that was released in June 2020. That was the last one that was created by by the world united nation survey. And it says the, you know, there’s 30% of governments that are somehow on advanced and advanced level. And we’re talking here more on the upper hand hemisphere, where it is really advanced, and all of the lower hemisphere is really lagging a lot. And also the same thing goes to companies and organization. Now there’s a variation between the developed and underdeveloped. But again, thanks to COVID, you know, the word is trying to pick up. But let’s focus a little bit in the Middle East. That’s where the beauty in UAE in specific that they are not wasting a moment of time, nothing nada, at younger generation, very vibrant nation, good purchasing power, no poverty, good infrastructure, no issues, you know, to waste your effort, and so many things, like what’s happening in other places, it’s more agile, and their perspective, with really futuristic and advanced strategies, targets, and most importantly, you know, visions, and if we look today, around the world, you rarely see any government that is really looking for a vision towards 2030. It’s not much, you know, happening in the world. But if you focus in UAE, in specific, they have that 2030 vision, that’s an amazing vision where they want to be, you know, leaders on many aspects of many things. And one of them is digital transformation across the board. And when we say digital transformation, you know, we mean a lot of verticals. So it’s not really funny what’s happening there. It’s they are really capitalizing on the advancements of the world that really has gone through and trying to adapt to the latest technologies in a very, you know, futuristic way and in a much quicker ways than traditionally they are doing in the rest of the world.

Steve King 05:04
Yeah. And for those of us who have worked in the Middle East to try to help that progress along, what I’ve noticed is that there’s kind of a, what’s lacking of skills resources to do that kind of work locally isn’t. And it’s been a few years since I’ve done that. Is that still prevalent in terms of resource restraints?

Rudy Shoushany 05:31
Yes. And, you know, talent shortages is actually not just specific to the E or the Middle East. That’s a worldwide phenomenon now.

Steve King 05:38
Yeah, of course. But the, you know, the kinds of initiatives, you know, the smart city, the sort of all encompassing Smart City initiatives require some fairly large leaps in technology from, you know, infrastructure as a platform or services platform point of view. Um, you guys think that you guys, meaning that that part of the world is ready to pull this off? Do you believe?

Rudy Shoushany 06:06
Yeah, let me you know, as I said before, the talent shortages is really really hitting every part of, of any field and, and especially in the future technologies and AI cybersecurity, Blockchain, you name it, smart cities, smart Dubai, for example, whatever they needs, you know, a lot of a lot of talents. And one of the things that what they did is in UAE, they opened the first they have the First Minister for artificial intelligence in the world, that is something totally new. They have one of the best universities and especially for bringing new technologies to curriculum, which, you know, that is also something different. So that that brings more people towards learning that stuff. But this is on the learning part. Now you need more the workforce to be agile, and to have the knowledge. And this is where they opened recently, brand new legislations towards new visa types for digital nomads or for entrepreneurs, which wasn’t available last year. So they’re trying to, you know, to capture the talents of the world. And in the same time, if we look at the Europe, for example, just a small example, by 2025, we will have almost 1 million talent shortage, which also you know, pushed was pushed more due to COVID. So 1 million cybersecurity talent shortage is the real number in Europe. Imagine what’s happening here. But most importantly, in the digital transformation, we need to understand it’s not only the technology that is really needed, it’s also about the culture, culture, to innovate, culture to change, and the culture of data. And this is where the mix shortage is really put transformation at a slower pace worldwide. Whereas in UAE, you know, they’re driving their Ferraris towards digital transformation. So they need really the resources. And this is where incentives comes in. And this is where Secondly, we need to start also talking about upscaling and those companies, and how we can really empower that new workforce or the older workforce. Also, according to another survey, 67% of those decision makers says that skill shortages is preventing companies from keeping up in the face of change. So we really have a worldwide issue. Now just really focused on you, he but he is really trying to embrace that shortage in a way where, you know, opening up a lot of incentives, a lot of possibilities. The employer of choice now in the whole of Middle East is up. Now all of the MENA region, not just Middle East and North Africa. If you tell them you want to travel to work in Europe, or you ask, they will tell you no, I want to go to UAE and in specific Dubai.

Steve King 08:59
We know that there is a significant talent shortage, as we discussed, in your opinion, what are the skill sets that are most urgently in demand?

Rudy Shoushany 09:08
We have a lot of skill set that are, you know, largely in demand in the world, you know, coming from AI to blockchain, and all of those future technologies, we really need them to be on the next forefront of shortages, where we need to educate those people. Also on the transformation, you know, that’s where we see winning, the digital transformation is about solving problems, you know, not just having the skills and so on. If we look at the micro level level, this is where AI is really solving certain problems and certain issues. But when we look at the macro level, it’s another ballgame. Who is adopting digital transformation really also has a chance to survive more, not just you know, because today we’ve been disrupted since 2008. It’s becoming you know, a 10 year disruption more or less, where you know, every 10 to 12 years or 15 years, let’s say you are being disrupted. So you really need to update those skills, you need update this workforce. So there’s a lot of, you know, adaptation to the market conditions where it become the dominant players in those undersea. Also, we have to talk about, you know, in the next five years, what jobs are there going to be today, we might be talking about jobs that doesn’t exist today, but they will be there. You know, also we need to focus about the data and data more on the data, because we’re going in lakes. Now. IoT innovation is something big robotics playing a big role in our day. We’ve seen with meta Facebook being renamed to meta, they launched, you know, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and then later on bionics, for you know, reaching to that Metaverse, which is the hype now. And then if you see if you follow it, that needs a totally set of skills. Blockchain, as we said, is a big player and as already being a big piece of their work, and you eat. So there’s a lot of advancements. And this is where we need to really focus all our efforts. And we also have to define one last thing that in the last 100 or 150 years, companies used to last, you know, the average life expectancy was was higher than today. Today, if we look at the top 15, or top 100 companies, or even top 500 companies, their life expectancy is today is around 1515 years. So you need to transform otherwise, you know, you are out of business and your company is

Steve King 11:41
closed. Yeah. Okay. In addition to AI and machine learning, and you know, blockchain and the rest of it, digital transformation has been hyped to solve a lot of global problems, what are the most practical solutions that you see, are going to be available in the short term. For me,

Rudy Shoushany 12:02
this is the, you know, when we will now we’re talking about really an agile and agile world. And if you look at what’s happening, you know, in the advancements of cars, for example, or smart cities, this is real, and it’s becoming really a hype now that we need, we really need practical solutions now, to solving our city problems. So with that comes, you know, I spoke earlier on about IoT. 5g is another set of things and a set of information or set of skills that we need to advance on the need to deploy. And this is happening today, it’s not in the future, we need our cities to be for example, smarter. IE, it means that we need to put a lot of new set of skills into into the game. And this is where things really changed now that we have to advance in a quick way, even AI, you know, we have general AI today. But in the near near future, we’re going to be having something called Super AI, which is more about to be built on not exceeding the human cognition, by an extent, by very many extent that will help beyond our imagination we are going to be so a lot of advancements is happening. Drones, for example, you know, you need knowledge not to operate a drone, but how you’re going to be using that drone into our daily lives also. So as I said, robotics is a big thing. I’ve been into GiTex last month, and it was crazy filled with robotics. They still at the early stage, of course, but there’s a lot of advancements couple of days, a company also released an advanced version of robotics, you know, this is where we are really heading towards a future of transformation and digital space. So we need really those skills to come in play and get our workforce jump towards the future in the next five years.

Steve King 14:08
Yeah, to me, you know, that raises two very large problems. One is I don’t education, I don’t see anybody, although they’re, you know, it’s 70 players or something and the online education space, not one of those companies offers a curated or purposeful or intentional set of career paths with guidance. And the key there is with guidance to help companies get their workforce to where it needs to be to meet what you’ve described as the challenges in the next decade or so. That’s one problem. This is a two part question. So before you answer that, the second problem is that when you build these large project undertaking said, are dependent upon leading edge technologies like aI like ML, like all of the subsumption technologies within digital transformation domain that we don’t understand very much about, frankly, right? We’re expanding our our threat landscape dramatically, Doesn’t it bother you that, that we’re in the same way that we’ve, you know, headed toward the cloud with very little understanding or, or preparation from a cybersecurity point of view? Doesn’t bother you that we’re really paddling along here in very unsafe waters. Yeah. And

Rudy Shoushany 15:39
that’s, that’s something you know, it’s a, we’re definitely going in uncharted waters here. But let me go first by the first question, and then we’ll jump to the second bar. As far as skills, yes, as we see, today, it is somehow limited. And that’s where, you know, innovation and ad tech comes in. And we need more of, you know, new ways of today, to educate the mass in general. And also to try to find ways, new ways and more innovative ways. You know, we’ve seen like PWC and big force, they are no longer taking the requirement of, you know, university part of their job offerings. So that’s a new way of thinking, why because they really need that experience. And that success stories more than having a certificate or not certificate having a university degree. I’m not saying I’m not against that. But we need to really approach this in a different way. There are shortages of educators in that space, also, on the cyber security as a whole. That’s where we need to, you know, I’ve seen, I’m going to start a business also. So I’ve seen many startups coming in at that place, trying to create new ways of adapting. This is where your role also, you’re trying to educate the masses, and you’re trying to really preach and do many things on that front. So all the best on the on also on that way. Many other companies are also leaders, their culture is somehow advanced, where they acknowledge cybersecurity at the board level, and that’s where it falls down to the whole company’s employees. So they can be educated, they are providing them with internal education using white labeling, or some other sorts of education or maybe, you know, partnering with other education partners. And that that topic by itself is not a one time thing. Know, when we talk cybersecurity or the advancement of technologies in general, it’s not a one time thing that you learn, and then you leave it on, and then you have it for the rest of the life. For your life. It’s something that you know, every three, four years, it’s changing, so you really need to always stay updated. So, there’s a lot of challenges. Of course, there’s a lot of solutions in the same times, but definitely, we need more on both fronts to really try to achieve that balance somehow of education, knowledge, and security. Now, going on to the second part, this is where we were talking about the risks of cybersecurity now, with new technologies, you know, jumping all over, this is where, you know, also companies, they need to venture into those uncharted waters. So otherwise, there was, as we say, there’s no America for the nobody arrived to the other side of the sea. And the same thing for human advancements. And we’re not talking about only today we’re talking about the future. So somebody has to create new technologies and somebody has to follow and this is where the laggers this is where, you know, the leaders are playing a game here, how much you can adopt in a very risk saving way. Everything must be weighed. Nowadays, with risk management, you cannot just really come and deploy it. You need to do your due diligence in terms of cybersecurity. Also, not forgetting that we are an undeclared cyber war, you know, regardless if it’s claimed or not, it is happening underneath where we are today between me and you. We don’t know if that call is intercepted or not. Or we don’t know what’s happening as governments also. So cyber espionage or cyber warfare, hackers activism, and you know, I can name you a few more names. So advances in artificial intelligence, for example, is a big problem for cybersecurity also, because the the hackers or the bad elements they can utilize it against you. The high speed of networks like 5g also are providing, you know, gateways for cyber criminals to attack on any geographical and geopolitical landscape in a much quicker way. enterprise’s don’t have the talent today, or expertise to fight those governments or to fight those hackers on a mass scale. So it’s not even advisable or practical, you know, you cannot just, for example, you cannot say, every successful company or every unicorn company or every fortune 1500, you name it, try to match the security defense of, you know, nationally funded cyber attack, or even an enterprise, you know, how much can they spend on cybersecurity, there is a limit for that they have to do their spending. But even today, you know, things are changing, you know, the mentality is changing. And this is where one of the major and biggest threats is our old way of thinking, you know, we are running with old some of the world, like, even in, in UAE, which is somehow you know, it has a new infrastructure, but it has old infrastructure, as far as technology often, we don’t have that advanced and strategic alliances, and the most important part is really the human factor, the knowledge and skills. And this is where really, cloud solutions, and cloud offerings and cloud security come in play, who can fight 600 GB distributed denial of service, and everyday, it’s growing, and growing and growing. So really, they must unite, we really must think about how the future is gonna be at all of those advancements that are happening, and we need to be smart in our decisions, and how we’re going to take the skills, the knowledge and where we’re going to invest our money on what technology that can help us today, you know, even innovate, grow faster, in a much cheaper way, and definitely protect us in the near future.

Steve King 21:48
Well said, I’m conscious of the time. Rudy, I have one. One last question here, the zero trust movement has begun. There probably are as many opposing market forces to zero trust this there are proponents of zero trust, what are your thoughts about zero trust as a strategy?

Rudy Shoushany 22:11
Well, it falls on, you know, never trust and always verify. Even if you’re talking about admins, you know, because that zero trust is really going on from within your internal process your internal procedures towards, you know, the final last mile, let’s call it to your customer. So all of this has to be secured it with advanced encryptions. You know, there is no point of an encrypted traffic by no means. I’m even protecting my, you know, admins today. Some admins don’t like zero trust, because are you doubting in my work? Maybe I am. So I’m in the same way, I’m protecting you from any theft or any, you know, future, whatever bad things that happens, because I’m now able to give you access without you knowing what’s happening inside. So in that way, you are really protecting also your company, your data, and everything else. So having that zero trust, in my belief, I am a big believer in that initiatives. It really prevents data breaches, and then try to offer something that is trustful and this is where we are looking today, if How can I you know go to a cloud or go to any third party, if they don’t have that zero trust built in, or even security built, and we need all of those to be implemented. So we can really now achieve more, not just worry about, you know, if my data is residing in a good way or a bad way, will it be accessed by somebody? Or will it not be accessed by somebody. So I eliminate all of this and I focus on my main thing, which is the business.

Steve King 24:04
I agree with your assessment. And thank you, we are out of time today. I do want to thank our guest, Rudy shiny again for taking time out of his crazy schedule to join me in what I think was a thought provoking exchange about digital transformation and new technologies and the challenges we all face here in the coming years and, and decades. So thank you, Rudy,

Rudy Shoushany 24:30
thank you again for the opportunity. And one last part of you know, before we end, if you don’t transform today, we’re talking on digital transformation, you’re gonna be challenged in your business. So do it in a secure way. Do it in a, you know, empower your board, empower your employee as a business decision maker. Try to really bring change into your agile change into your organization. Otherwise You will be challenged and whatever decisions or technology you will be implementing, will also be challenged or possibly fail.

Steve King 25:08
I couldn’t have said it better. And thank you to our listeners for joining us in another one of cyber theories unplugged reviews of the complex and often frightening world of cybersecurity technology and our new digital reality. Until next time, I’m your host Steve King, signing out