IT infrastructure ‘key to investments in Iraq’
Erbil, April 28, 2013
For multinationals investing in Iraq, building a solid IT infrastructure is a major challenge, said a top official, pointing out that oil and gas producers require robust satellite connections from remote locations.
Banks, hotels and service businesses need a full array of digital, mobile and social media services, added Dan Bosak, managing director of Iridium Solutions, a full-service IT company based in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq.
"Iraq remains a difficult, but exciting place to work," he said. "We are committed to the Iraq market, running everything from our offices in Erbil. This gives us a deep understanding of the market landscape and allows us to better serve our customers by having true first-hand knowledge of the obstacles they face."
Established in 2009, Iridium Solutions has built strategic partnerships with Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and VMware to provide complete solutions for IT needs throughout Iraq.
Iridium Solutions signed a contract with Kurdistan International Bank last year to provide connectivity between branch offices, network redesign, filtering, and VoIP services. In the oil and gas sector, major clients include HKN Energy and Hunt Oil.
"We understand the great opportunities that exist in this emerging market, and are dedicated to helping propel the reconstruction efforts and bring true prosperity to Iraq," said Elias Bechara, Iridium Solutions president.
Dalawr Chalabi, director, Department of IT, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – Iraq, says a liberal approach to trade and investment, rooted in free market principles, is bringing more foreign investment into the region.
"There are major opportunities that exist for investors in many sectors of our market, including oil and gas, banking, infrastructure, tourism and education," he said.
However, that lack of IT infrastructure also poses a serious problem for international businesses, according to Bashar Saba, director of information technology of Erbil Rotana, a luxury business hotel in Erbil.
"The original contractor had not conducted a proper study of the IT infrastructure," Saba said. "As a result, our system had serious network problems which inconvenienced our guests and our business operations."
Saba said Iridium Solutions had to redesign and restructure the hotel's entire network, hardware, software and configuration. "They were able to resolve all our problems and save our business and image," he said. "As a remote business travel destination that is lacking most of the IT resources and services, Iridium Solutions is like an oasis in a desert."
Iridium Solutions has also assisted HKN Energy and other leading multinational energy companies that are conducting operations in remote and mountainous areas of the region.
"Drilling locations tend to be at high elevations making communications and Internet coverage a major challenge," said Mark Jackson, HKN Energy general manager. "The power grid in Erbil is better than the rest of Iraq, but outages still occur, taking their toll on IT equipment and services."
Jackson said HKN Energy Ltd. has grown in the past six years from a core setup team to more than 100 people working in its Erbil offices and managing extensive field operations.
"Iridium Solutions has grown with us, providing IT services, equipment and technical support," he said. "They have adapted to the tough environment and working conditions and developed innovative solutions that keep our company up and running." – TradeArabia News Service
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