Giza Systems has been operating successfully since 1974 and has grown to be a provider of niche systems integration solutions across Africa and the Middle East, implementing projects as far afield as Russia and Latin America. Effectively combining decades of experience and market-breaking foresight, the company has struck a seemingly magical formula for growth in all directions: from its revenues, to its capabilities; from its employees to local communities.
The company provides a range of industry specific technology solutions to asset-intensive industries which include telecoms, utilities, oil and gas, real estate, transportation, and manufacturing. Although its remit generally covers large scale, long term projects, it also provides operations and maintenance services as part of its portfolio.
Chairman and CEO of Giza Systems, Shehab ElNawawi has been shrewdly monitoring systems trends, he said: “Over the past five years, developers in the power sector, which is traditionally the field of engineering, are looking at using ICT to effectively manage demand, and that needs our technology.” His observation can be seen in the simple but extremely effective blue ocean strategy that the company adopts across all of its operations; it is certainly one that has allowed Giza Systems to expand across into many countries, into new areas of technology and to become a strong regional player.
Giza Systems has continuous improvement at the core of its business practices; Shehab said: “We have a scorecard system that we use to measure our corporate performance; this is cascaded to departments and individuals; we track how we are performing year on year.” Using this system not only instils a feeling of progress within the company’s ethos, it also provides employees and management teams with hard facts to build on to ensure future success. It has cemented this initiative through its continued adherence to the ISO:140001, ISO:9001 and OHSAS:18001 global standards.
Shehab explained how the business was able to weather economic uncertainty and regime change in Egypt: “It forced us to expedite our business in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria; our business in Saudi Arabia also kept growing.” It is therefore clear that diversification has enabled Giza Systems to remain profitable despite a major slowdown a key territory.
In order to remain commercially agile and to maintain focus on its corporate objectives, the company maintains a wide range of partnerships across multiple sectors across Africa and the Middle East. Alongside partnerships with the Egyptian state water and electricity authorities, Giza Systems’ technological solutions are utilised by large providers such as Kenya’s KenGen, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO), and Ethio Telecom of Ethiopia.
‘Blue Ocean’ technology
Shehab explained the subtly sophisticated tiers of thinking that go into Giza Systems’ blue ocean strategy: “We are 45 years old but we have the mind-set and energy of a 20 year old, and the curiosity of a 5 year old. We try to blend these together, encouraging our employees to question the group’s performance. Everybody understands this exercise.”
Recognizing current and future technological trends has enabled Giza Systems to become instrumental in orchestrating convergence between differing sectors; Shehab explained: “Over the past five years, developers in the power sector, which is traditionally an engineering field, are moving into using IT solutions. But you need an SI (Systems Integrator) that understands the power industry in order to make that transformation. That is where we come in: we offer the best of both worlds.”
Utilising Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, the company has been able to supply data management to one of humanity’s oldest practices: irrigation. In short, SCADA enables organisations to control equipment remotely, while simultaneously capturing data in the process. Shehab said: “We automate irrigation outlets – these are the biggest plantations in eastern Saudi Arabia which again proves that we are a leader in this space; we implement the systems that collect the data, consolidate it through our cloud offerings and analyse it through our business intelligence portfolio.”
He added: “On our commercial side we are developing a portfolio of IOT products; our long standing partnerships mean that we have a tremendous understanding of what is required by our clients.” Working closely with clients has therefore enabled the company to remain in a position to not only offer clients the newest technology, but solutions that are customised to the particularities of each client and sector individually.
Working for a leading niche company provides Giza Systems employees with unique opportunities for growth and development, Shehab was keen to link this with the success of the business, he said: “There are always opportunities because the company is growing.” Employees can therefore reap all the benefits of being part of a growing, in-demand organisation, but are also subject to the often all too rare experience of occupying a unique space in the market.
This aspect of the company is leveraged to provide a particularly rewarding experience for engineering graduates beginning their career with Giza Systems; Shehab said: “We make sure that the environment for our graduates is friendly, unencumbered and simple – the projects are always challenging and the tech is always cutting edge.” From the outset, employees can see a clear line of career progression, alongside a bonus system linked to the company’s improvement score card and pension plan.
Giza Systems has involved itself in a range of initiatives aimed at improving the conditions of its employees and the communities it operates in. Shehab elaborated: “In order for us to win business, we have to establish trust with our customers; we don’t plan hit and run opportunities. We employ local people, develop them and get them to volunteer to help others in their country. The private sector must pay back to the societies it works in, if not it is not conducive to long term business growth.”
Giza Systems offers funding, technology, and expertise to initiatives in Cairo. It has pioneered a project that supports local women making schoolbags by hand using recycled materials by providing them with business support and assisting with microfinance arrangements. The company also sponsors a fabrication laboratory (FAB lab) that provides students with cutting edge design technology for free.
As a company whose success is so nobly tied to the prosperity and development of its clients, Giza Systems has set a precedent for businesses everywhere. It has developed its own unique success story by concentrating on innovation and breaking new ground, as well as only competing the standards it has set itself.