Agents of Change: CIO Embraces UAE Vision 2021 with Digital Transformation

VMware’s Agents of Change initiative celebrates smart CIOs who challenge the status quo. By harnessing the power of digital transformation, they create unlimited possibilities for their businesses. 

Here’s the next technology leader in the Agents of Change series: Ahmed Kajoor, CIO, Dubai Municipality.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a dramatic vision for its golden jubilee celebration. To prepare for the country’s fiftieth anniversary, the Vision 2021 plan targets four pillars of development to make the UAE a global leader, while maintaining its national and cultural heritage. As the CIO of government agency Dubai Municipality, Ahmed Kajoor must weave this vision into his city’s digital transformation.

“To deliver Vision 2021, we have to be very radical,” he explains. “Our leader, Sheikh Mohammed, wants us to be 10 years ahead of everyone. So, we have to look at things differently. We have to be the agents of change.”

Maintaining Dubai City and Citizen Happiness

The municipality is responsible for the city of Dubai’s growth and development. In support of Vision 2021, Dubai’s goal is to be one of the top 10 happiest cities in the world. Since joining the government agency in 2012, Kajoor made profound changes to support Vision 2021. One digital transformation initiative, in particular, enhanced the skills and experience of the Dubai Municipality workforce and the happiness of its citizens.

Kajoor introduced a digital workplace strategy that enables employees with innovative mobile technology and apps. Not only has this transformed their jobs and boosted productivity, it also enables the agency to innovate and provide better services—and happiness—to its citizens.

Learn how digital transformation was at the forefront of Dubai Municipality CIO Ahmed Kajoor's mission for UAE's Vision 2021.

Overcoming Nostalgia and Embracing Digital Transformation

Of course, all digital transformation programs have challenges. “When we started this project there were 75 different environments. Windows, Oracle, Linux—you name it, we had it. We had to bring it all together into a single, centralized platform and allow everything to be accessed remotely. It was tough,” Kajoor admitted. “People have nostalgia for the old ways, even when they aren’t happy with the old systems. But I came with a new perspective. I managed to make the change because I didn’t have loyalty to the old things.”

When reflecting on the project, Kajoor says, “I am proud of how quickly we have achieved it.  We achieved a five-year plan in just three years. It was a huge project, and VMware was key to reducing the execution period. And that reflects the importance of working really closely with your technology partners.”

Hear more from Kajoor in this video on being a change agent through digital transformation.