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When five IBM engineers began working on a project to build an in-house IT system in 1971, they could not have known they were laying the foundations for the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software.

Having officially separated from IBM in 1972, the company now known as SAP embarked on a period of rapid growth and acquisitions, adding punch card systems and mainframe programs for payroll and accounting to its service portfolio.

Today, the five-person team has expanded to over 100,000 in more than 180 countries, making it the world’s largest non-American software company. SAP now offers over 100 cloud solutions, including ERP, cloud-engineered systems, human capital management, customer relationship management, product lifecycle management, and supply chain management to over 24,000 partner companies and 280 million users.

This incredible solution portfolio, along with 55 data centres in 15 countries, makes SAP one of the largest and most comprehensive cloud vendors on the planet.

Its global client base is just as impressive, generating 87% of total global commerce ($46 trillion). It also counts 99 of the world’s top 100 largest companies and 97 of the world’s top 100 greenest companies as customers.

SAP leads the way in innovation, too. With 100 development centres worldwide, the company invests 20% of its revenues into research and development, oversees more than 50 transformational AI use cases, and invests billions in emerging and disruptive startups.

Unsurprisingly, the company’s industry-leading performance has been recognised on numerous occasions. SAP is featured among the Forbes Most Valuable Brands list and Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies rankings. It has also won numerous awards for its innovation, workplace and software solutions.

The company’s financials often take the headlines, too, with annual revenues closing in on the USD 35bn mark.

Started by a then-unknown Larry Ellison in 1977, Oracle wasted no time taking its place as one of the largest software companies in the world. By the end of the 1980s, the company was posting annual revenues of USD 584m, with USD 82m profit.

Today, the company serves more than 430,000 customers in 175 countries, offering over 100 cloud services across 42 public cloud regions. These services include database software and technology, cloud-engineered systems, and enterprise software products – such as enterprise resource planning software, human capital management software and customer relationship management software.

To achieve this incredible reach, Oracle has invested over USD 110bn in more than 150 acquisitions, formed relationships with 20,000-plus partners around the world, and employed 20,000 implementation consultants, 48,000 developers and engineers, and 15,000 service specialists speaking 29 languages.

Underpinning this rapid growth is a long-standing commitment to innovation. SAP has invested over USD 64bn in research and development since 2012, operates the world’s first and only autonomous database, has 18,900 registered patents, and boasts a developer community membership of over six million.

Its investments in sustainability and community projects is equally impressive. SAP has donated more than USD 20m to 7,000 non-profits across 62 countries and achieved its target of reducing its emissions by 47% by 2020. At the same time, SAP employees have volunteered over 15,000 hours to various education and development projects around the world.

On the financial front, Oracle posted USD 42bn in revenue in 2022, up by almost 5% from the previous year.

Cognizant was launched in 1994 with a team of 50 in Chennai, India, to implement large-scale IT projects for its parent company. Less than ten years later, it posted revenues of USD 229m.

Driven by rapid growth and acquisitions in the late 1990s and 2000s, Cognizant has led technological transformation across 20-plus industries, helping its clients become modern, digital and future-proof enterprises. And these are not just any clients. Cognizant works with 29 of the top 30 pharma companies, nine of the top ten European banks and seven of the top ten internet companies.

Today, Cognizant is one of the largest global professional services companies in the world, with more than 355,000 employees. It posts revenues of over USD 19bn and sits at number 194 in the Fortune 500.

Needless to say, this colossal rise has not gone unnoticed. Over the years, the company has been featured among Fortune’s Most Admired Companies, listed in the Forbes Global 2000, and won several C100 Awards, which recognise organizations that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology.

Here in the Middle East, Cognizant helps the region’s businesses to modernise technology, reimagine processes and stay ahead of the competition from its offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

As well as continuing to grow its vast operation, Cognizant is committed to making a positive impact on its communities. Through the company’s Go Green initiative, it has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. At the same time, it works to create educational opportunities for children and underserved communities and improve the lives of disadvantaged segments of society in India and North America through its Cognizant Foundation.

Launched in 2010, Azure rose quickly to become the cloud platform of choice for most organisations around the world. The Microsoft solution has almost one billion users and is trusted by 95% of the Fortune 100. Globally, Azure’s cloud computing market share stands at 21%.

Originally developed to provide access, management, and development of applications and services through global data centres, it has expanded to include more than 200 products with thousands of capabilities from software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) support to AI and machine learning (ML).

Its Azure Machine Learning solutions are instrumental in bringing advanced, business-critical ML models to the mass market at scale. It is used by thousands of data scientists, developers, and engineers to build, deploy, and manage high-quality models faster and more reliably.

Azure Machine Learning is credited with making the complex simple. It allows users to evaluate ML models with reproducible and automated workflows to assess model fairness, explainability, error analysis, causal analysis, model performance, exploratory data analysis and much more – capabilities that were, until its launch, out of reach for all but the largest data science and analytics organisations.

Microsoft is committed to rolling out Azure to as many markets and territories as possible. In 2018, it was the first primary cloud provider to open a facility in Africa, bringing its reach to 54 global regions. A year later, Microsoft announced the establishment of two new cloud regions in the UAE to make it easier for businesses here to further embrace the opportunities of cloud technologies.

Such is its international reach and continued adoption that Azure generated around USD 75bn of Microsoft’s 198bn annual revenues in 2022.

The platform that would become Amazon Web Services (AWS) started life as an in-house development project in the early 2000s. Amazon set out to scale its engineering capabilities and speed up the improvement of its operating software.

By 2002, the idea of an ‘internet operating system’ was born. In 2003, AWS released its first web services solution, opening up the platform to developers beyond Amazon. The platform quickly evolved to include database, storage and computing capabilities and just four years later, its first ground-breaking release, Amazon S3 cloud storage, was available to all.

Today, the AWS portfolio includes over 200 services from data centres worldwide. It is the most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform in the world, supporting millions of customers, from startups to multinational conglomerates and government agencies.

More recently, AWS has been leading the charge in the widespread adoption of AI-powered technologies. Its pre-trained AI Services provide ready-made intelligence and can be easily integrated with in-house applications.

By far the most transformational benefit of AWS AI Services is that it does not require machine learning experience. Essentially, AWS has put advanced, continuously-learning APIs in the hands of its users, whatever their technical capabilities.

AWS’s global market domination has seen it recognised as a Gartner Leader for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services for 12 years in a row. It is also credited as being the most flexible and secure cloud environment, with more services and customers than any other provider.

This global reach translates to out-of-this-world revenues of USD 80bn in 2022, with an operating income of USD 22.8bn. Here in the UAE, the recent establishment of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is estimated to support 6,000 jobs and bring over AED 20bn in investment to the country.

Infosys is one of a growing number of multinational conglomerates to build a strong base in the UAE, with four offices across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

Incredibly, the company was established in India in 1981 with capital of just USD 250. Over the next 40-plus years, Infosys has been the catalyst behind the technological advancement of the country, helping it become the global destination for software services talent – and eventually the first IT company from India to be listed on the NASDAQ.

The company’s employee stock options program also created some of India’s first salaried millionaires.

Today, Infosys has grown to generate revenues in excess of USD 17bn with a market capitalisation of approximately USD 75bn. During this time, the company has built a global reputation as a leader in next-generation services and consulting, supporting clients across 50 countries in navigating their digital transformation.

It achieves this through its AI-powered core model, which can help deliver agile digital at scale, drive continuous improvement and power the transfer of digital skills, expertise, and ideas from its ecosystem to that of its 1,850 clients.

Alongside digital transformation support, the company offers a wide range of additional services to its clients, including cloud, blockchain, DevOps, cybersecurity and digital marketing solutions.

And its success story shows no signs of slowing. In 2022, the company was recognised as the Fastest-Growing IT Services Brand by Brand Finance and one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere.

In the UAE, Infosys has collaborated with several government and private organisations to develop innovative solutions that help drive the country’s digital innovation. This strong partnership has helped the country establish itself as a digital-first hub, attracting entrepreneurs and business owners from every corner of the globe.

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