We took time out to chat with Sudipt Shah, our CEO and co-founder, as well as Doaa Badran, one of our talented UX researchers ahead of Digital of Things launch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Hereʼs everything they had to say about what the future holds as the business branches out…
The cultural landscape in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has shifted remarkably in the last five years and the changes have had a hugely positive impact on the people living there, their lifestyles, and attitudes.
A big part of this shift is being driven by the much-vaunted Vision 2030, an inspiring and transformative economic and social reform blueprint, which is aimed at opening Saudi Arabia up to the rest of the world.
Now people are seeing and feeling the effects and noticing beneficial alterations to their lives. This ultimately makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia an ideal place to continue our business drive.
Letʼs explore all this a bit more with Sudipt and Doaa.
Localisation is key to navigating some of the challenges that are faced by businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia right now. Sudipt comments that local businesses are already trying to stay ahead of the curve by adopting a lot of current international trends.
Being well-informed means companies in the region are keeping up-to-date with what's going on. The implementation of these trend-led ideas and concepts – which are then localised to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia market means the country is forging forwards and staying at the top of its game.
This isnʼt without its challenges though. There are issues related to opening new businesses in the Kingdom. The rules and regulations mean that a non-Saudi resident canʼt have an entity there. So as a foreign company, even with a more open society and the Vision 2023 scheme, it can still feel rigid.
In terms of clients, there can be a lack of awareness of what a company like Digital of Things does, how long it can take, and the costs associated with it. It requires time to build trust and also communicate that what we do has real value and merit. Sudipt adds that better learning and client education – coming about through mutual discussions can improve all this and show that what we do as a company can have real beneﬁts.
Here, Doaa says there can be polarised opinions on research – but thatʼs not necessarily a bad thing. There are natural concerns about its validity, with worries about it not necessarily being a true reflection of what customers think and feel.
As Doaa points out: “The process of research could hold a little bit of bias”. You canʼt eliminate it 100%, but in the long run, research is always worth doing and worth doing well. It offers a reflection of your true customers, their needs and their feelings.
She firmly believes that most of the people she meets wholly believe in the value of research. The sticking point is perhaps a small gap between seeing the value and being willing to invest in it. However, with time, patience and investment, this will change.
Sudipt tells us that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabiaʼs market has always been considered one of the largest due to its size and population, not to mention the scale of its purchasing power. However, he believes that other Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) like Dubai were always centred as the hub of activity.
He adds that the Saudis are allowing more foreign businesses to enter the market and that this transition is now a lot smoother due to the more open nature of trading. Therefore it automatically becomes more attractive. Sudipt says: “I do think that it was always a rich market with a lot of business and a lot of potential.”
Cultural changes and a more open environment mean that more businesses see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a place they can invest in.
Weʼre hoping to be at the forefront of this as we prepare to launch our service there. Ensuring that clients understand the value and beneﬁts of UX design and research will be key to making sure this works.
The coming months mean busy but exciting times, so watch this space as we continue to develop Digital of Things in a brand new country.
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