Dan Quinn of Tejari: An Englishman In Dubai (and Loving It!)

When I was in Dubai recently for the Real World Procurement events there, I took the opportunity for a chat with Dan Quinn, the relatively new SVP in the region for BravoSolution and Tejari (the BravoSolution joint venture in the UAE).  He took on this role earlier this year, but is no stranger to the firm, as he explained.

“I worked for BravoSolution for seven years up to the end of 2011. I remember doing a web demo to Tejari management in 2010 at 5am on a Sunday morning - this was BravoSolution’s first contact with the firm and they were prospective clients, so I spent six hours taking their people through the product on a Webex! I had no idea then that I would end up being here myself. I have enjoyed my last few years at Achilles and especially The Smart Cube but it is great to be back”.

What has been the biggest change in BravoSolution while you’ve been away?

I think the completeness of the product suite. We were very much sourcing-focused, certainly when I joined in 2005, now we have a more mature, deeper, more user-friendly platform. The integration of the Puridiom P2P capability into the BravoAdvantage platform, will move that on even further. The culture and spirit hasn’t changed though, which is good – passionate, loyal, knowledgeable, with a desire to bring people through the ranks into management roles. That is happening here as well as in other BravoSolution businesses.

Just remind us of the Tejari background and how BravoSolution got involved?

Tejari was a local firm in the United Arab Emirates with particular Oracle expertise. When the Joint Venture was created in 2011, BravoSolution brought our software to the venture, Tejari brought their proud heritage, strong existing business and a network of clients and contracts. It was a smart move for both parties, I believe. We’ve seen consistent double-digit annual growth in the last five years, the firm is stable and growing with around 70+ staff now. We have around 60 clients, some very big names and a real mix of government bodies, oil and gas firms and customers in many other sectors.

So can you explain the dual nature of your job title?

In the United Arab Emirates, we have Tejari, which is a venture jointly owned by BravoSolution and Istithmar World (part of the Dubai World group). Tejari is well known and has a strong reputation in the UAE. In other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, Tejari is not known so we use the BravoSolution brand with customers in Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for instance – all growing markets for us.

Does the client base differ in different countries?

To some extent, each country has its own comparative advantages and champion industries – but a common theme across the region is state-owned enterprises, federal/regional government, transportation & tourism, retail and of course a huge oil and gas / petrochemical sector.

What is the competition like? And how do you position your competitive advantage?

As you might expect, the big ERP providers, Oracle and SAP, are strong – they are the main competition still. But in addition to a large in-region support team, we believe we offer more flexibility in terms of how customers want to deploy the software; we can offer on-premise software provision or hosting in region/local country for cloud-based services. That is a big advantage as there is a real demand for those options here, mainly for security-related reasons.

Have you found many cultural differences working here?

It’s sometimes challenging when travelling around the region but mostly a very positive experience, I am very lucky that most folk I deal with are very tolerant and aware of different styles and cultures and don’t really let that get in the way of doing business.

If you take a specific look at living and working Dubai, it is quite different from other parts of MENA, it has a strong Arab and Islamic heart and tradition, but it’s also such a fascinating and cosmopolitan melting pot of different nationalities and religions. So we can’t really view it in terms of a single culture, with so many people here from the Indian sub-continent, from around the wider Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Far East and elsewhere, people are used to dealing with different cultures including us Brits. I think it encourages most people to take a pretty positive and flexible approach ...  and the food is amazing!

20160922_122349_resizedHow have you found the move out here personally?

There have been a lot of the usual priorities for my wife and I – finding somewhere to live, buying furniture and so on. But we’ve survived our first hot summer and feel very much at home – everyone has been very welcoming. And we have enjoyed a bit of dune-busting!

At this point, Dan had to go to the airport for a quick trip to Egypt; he is seeing plenty of Dubai Airport, that is clear!  Our thanks to him – and you can contact the firm here if you want more details about Tejari.

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