This time, we find Peter Carlisle visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As VP of Global Sales for Entrust’s data protection solutions, Peter racks up the miles while navigating a host of divergent cultures and gaining insight about global customer challenges.
You can find Episode 1 (Hong Kong) here.
Entrust: Peter, where in the world are you?
PC: Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Entrust: What do you enjoy most about visiting Saudi Arabia?
PC: I find it a very welcoming place – everyone is extremely friendly and polite. Nightlife is a little different to some parts of the world but I find it can be a very calm and relaxed place to spend a few days.
Entrust: What are some localized challenges customers are facing?
PC: There is a lot happening in the Kingdom at the moment. We are seeing a huge growth in internet use, much of which is driven by the under-30 crowd, a demographic that makes up a sizable part of the population. Their love of things such as Netflix and Instagram is really increasing online traffic. As a result, we are seeing hundreds of miles of fibre going into the ground as the network grows and many new data centers are springing up in parallel.
Saudi Arabia is also looking to reduce its dependency on oil so is working to attract overseas business investment as well as developing tourism under the banner of Vision 2030. There are ambitious plans to open a Special Economic Zone at the King Khalid airport, build a major new city to attract international business and radically develop tourism along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline.
Entrust: What type of advice have you given them?
PC: Traditionally, the Saudis have relied heavily on foreign nationals to run a lot of IT projects. Given the scale and ambition of planned initiatives it is clear that they need to focus on training and nurturing local skills in order to successfully scale. Clearly, there is a significant data security aspect to the economic growth plans and partners with a proven track record will be very valuable here. At Entrust we have worked successfully with a number of Saudi finance and telco companies over the years, so we’re in a strong position to support these exciting developments.
Entrust: When visiting Saudi Arabia, is there a specific food or beverage you always seek out?
PC: There is a lot of great food here in The Kingdom. I like Kabsa, which is rice dish made with spices like cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and usually a whole chicken. Mandi is a traditional way of cooking meat in a pit underground and Mandi lamb is wonderful! Mint tea is a refreshing drink in the desert heat and I drink a lot when I’m here. Also – Camel Milk Chocolate is a must try.
Entrust: If you wrote about song about Saudi Arabia for your blues band, what would you call it?
Well – looking at the rooftops blurring in the afternoon heat and feeling the sand in my nose and ears I think I could come up with “Heat, Haze and Dust!”
If you’d like to learn even more about Peter, please visit his LinkedIn page.