'Five Minutes' with Taj El-Khayat, regional director, MENA, Citrix

Taj El-Khayat tells Network Middle East what makes him tick

El-Khayat: To help employees stay ahead of the (data) sprawl, organisations need platforms and IT tools that are optimised to reduce distractions, automate workflows and anticipate tasks.
El-Khayat: To help employees stay ahead of the (data) sprawl, organisations need platforms and IT tools that are optimised to reduce distractions, automate workflows and anticipate tasks.

What is your current role in the ICT industry in the Middle East and what are your responsibilities?

My current role consists of leading Citrix in the MENA region with a focus to empower, coach, and enable human capital to reach their full potential. My responsibility is to pave the way for the Citrix field organisation to deliver exceptional customer satisfaction and guarantee customer success for organisations embarking on a digital transformation journey while delivering value through the Citrix digital workspace. 

What is the best thing about your job?

The best part of my job is the people interaction. Whether it is dealing with partners, customers, or colleagues, I take the opportunity to learn and, more importantly, ensure that I reciprocate by providing value. I owe my career progression to the people that I met along the journey as the interaction and diverse exposure made me who I am today. 

How innovative do you think the network industry in the Middle East is and how can it improve?

I believe the Middle East is maturing given the rise of blockchain, automation, AI, and digital adoption. Definitely, the last three years have seen an accelerated shift to modernisation and digitisation of IT through software-defined everything. The current challenge when it comes to the network industry is the lack of capabilities and skills that are required for the future technological needs (more data to deal with, in a different manner, etc.) The talent war is already there and might become tougher if not addressed with appropriate training and capacity building.

What are the upcoming trends or products in your sector?

The next big quest at a global level is productivity. Businesses start to realize that there is a flip side to the abundance of apps, data, systems, devices: complexity. To help employees stay ahead of the sprawl, organisations need platforms and IT tools that are optimised to reduce distractions, automate workflows and anticipate tasks. This intelligent workspace is being built. Technologies like cloud, machine learning, and AI are at the heart of it.

Does your company utilise virtualisation or cloud computing?

Citrix is 30 years old this year. And at some point of our history we, if not invented, at least made virtualisation (of servers, apps and desktop) popular. Today, while we can no longer be referred to as a virtualisation company, we are proud to continue to improve these technologies and leverage them to meet our customer needs when it comes to accessing securely to desktops, apps, data. As for the cloud, it is the mantra of our strategy. All our products are available on the cloud. The business and transaction models the cloud implies are now part of our DNA.

What are your out-of-office hobbies?

I am curious culinarian who enjoys trying different ingredients to make the perfect fusion dish. I enjoy food in all aspects – cooking, eating, and experiencing.

Top 5
Favourite film? 
The Godfather

iOS or Android? 
iOS

Favourite gadget?
My augmented smart notebook

Favourite band/musician?
Yanni /Guns and Roses

Favourite book? 
Business Adventures by John Brooks

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