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Ghassan Chkaiban

In 2022, Publicis Sapient acquired Changi Consultancy, a leading company based in Dubai and founded by Ghassan Chkaiban, who has since joined Publicis Sapient as Salesforce Practice Lead – MENA. With his extensive knowledge of the MENA region, Ghassan brings invaluable insights to our team. In the following interview, Ghassan reflects on the acquisition journey and shares his unique perspective on how we can all contribute to shaping the future in the region. Join us as we talk to this trailblazer and explore the exciting possibilities ahead.

After living in the U.S. for over 20 years, you decided to move with your family to the region in 2010. What prompted the decision?

Firstly, my roots are here. I grew up in Dubai in the ‘80s and have been here for about 40 years on and off. I had the opportunity to go to college in the U.S. and live and work there for about twenty years. When I decided to move back to Dubai, I wanted to bring back the innovation in technology and digital transformation that I was witnessing in the U.S. and Europe. I saw how cutting-edge technologies were being used to drive positive change in various industries and improve people's lives, and I wanted to provide that value to customers and engagements.

What inspired you to start Changi and what role did you see the company playing in the digital transformation landscape? 

I started Changi Consulting because I saw an opportunity in the market for digital transformation in sales processes, customer service and support, and marketing for organizations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. 

We quickly grew by adding amazing talent from Europe and the U.S. to our team, enabling us to fast-track organizations' digital transformations and projects. It's incredible to think that when we started, there were only three Salesforce partners in the region, and now there are over 50! It's been an exciting journey being part of this growth and meeting the evolving needs of our customers.

When I started Changi, there were only three Salesforce partners. Today,there are approximately 50.

What are some of the key values and priorities that companies in the MENA region look for when seeking out expertise in digital transformation? 

It's been obvious to me, working in the region for the last 13 years and having lived on and off for the previous 40 in Dubai, that companies in the MENA region are looking for expertise in terms of skillset, technology, and best practices when implementing digital transformation. They want companies that get it. They want forward-looking companies that can bring the future here to our region.

In addition, trust is a top value that organizations we work with look for. They want to make sure — regardless of the technology or advice — that at the end of the day, they can trust you and that the partnership can be solidified via trust and a long-term strategic relationship.

What is the future outlook for Digital Business Transformation in the MENA region?

Regarding our region, I'm really excited about the potential of Data Cloud and CDP. We've noticed that many conglomerates and family businesses in our region have diverse portfolios with multiple entities, but they lack a centralized approach or center of excellence to manage data across their businesses. They're looking for automation, 360-degree real-time customer insights, and the ability to apply data across different use cases like marketing, sales and service.

Salesforce Data Cloud and a CDP strategy can be game changers for these businesses. It allows them to integrate, manage and analyze data from various sources in a unified way, providing valuable insights and a holistic view of their customers. That's where the concept of a golden record comes in. Having a single source of truth for data empowers our clients to make better decisions and create targeted, personalized interactions.

One last thing I'll add is that increasingly businesses in MENA are seeking opportunities to monetize their data. Data is such a valuable asset that can be leveraged to generate new revenue streams. With Data Cloud and CDP, we can help our clients unlock the value of their data and explore monetization opportunities. Whether that's data-driven partnerships or data products, there’s much potential.

The innovations that excite me the most are those that simplify life and make things easier.

What personal beliefs or philosophies guide you and your team? 

We're all about creating value and leaving the world in a better place. So, whether that's exceeding the expectations of a client or helping an employee with their family or personal matters, it’s all about going the second mile to make sure that we're serving the environment, our customers, and our country and bringing that success to everyone we work with on a personal and business level.

Because at the end of the day, it's not only about Publicis Sapient’s or our personal reputation but also Salesforce's reputation.

What innovations excite you the most?

The innovations that excite me the most are those that simplify life and make things easier. Not innovations that distract you or increase stress in your life, but innovations that help simplify our daily life, streamline and optimize. There's a lot of white space and opportunity for organizations and innovative companies to innovate where things can be simplified, and steps reduced.

Ghassan Chkaiban
Ghassan Chkaiban
Publicis Sapient Salesforce Practice Lead – MENA

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