Innovate, Adapt, Succeed: The Mourad Younes Approach in the Cloud Revolution

Mourad Younes | Cloud & Services Segment Leader. MEA Region at Schneider Electric
Mourad Younes | Cloud & Services Segment Leader. MEA Region at Schneider Electric

Venturing into the realm of cloud and service providers, seeking guidance from a seasoned leader with a knack for driving business growth and innovation can be daunting. Consider encountering a leader—a dynamic and successful business manager with over 15 years of experience, adept at navigating shifting business environments and dynamic economies. Meet Mourad Younes, the Cloud & Services Segment Leader for the MEA Region at Schneider Electric.

In a world where adaptability and strategic prowess are paramount, Mourad stands out as an inspiration. His journey is characterized by excellence, marked by a track record of success in sales management, account management, business development, and product management within the cloud and services providers industry. With a determination matched only by his strong interpersonal and negotiation skills, he has implemented the best strategic practices to propel businesses forward. He’s a transformation agent, shaping the future of cloud and services provision in the MEA Region.

Responsible for piloting business growth within the industry, Mourad’s vision extends beyond mere profit margins. He’s committed to fostering innovation, sustainability and customer-centricity in every aspect of his work.

Thriving in the New Normal

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, the ability to navigate crises effectively is paramount. “The COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call, revealing the vulnerabilities of traditional data storage and processing methods,” notes Mourad. Many companies found themselves ill-prepared for the sudden shift to remote work. Enter cloud technology, a game-changer in the face of adversity. “Cloud computing emerged as a lifeline during the pandemic,” explains Mourad. “It not only facilitated remote work but also enhanced efficiency in ways previously unimaginable.”

The transition to cloud computing wasn’t just about survival—it was about thriving in the new normal. “We assisted our clients in transitioning to cloud solutions,” says Mourad, “and now, it’s become the norm for businesses worldwide.” The momentum behind cloud adoption is undeniable. “Gartner’s forecast speaks volumes,” says Mourad. “By 2025, the majority of organizations will prioritize cloud technology, underscoring its critical role in modern business strategies.”

The pandemic accelerated a shift that was already underway, catapulting cloud computing to the forefront of organizational priorities. “Cloud technology isn’t just a trend—it’s a necessity for staying resilient in an unpredictable world,” states Mourad.

Teamwork to Autonomy

In my career journey, I’ve come to realize the immense power of team autonomy and individual leadership,” shares Mourad, reflecting on a pivotal moment shaping his leadership style.

He strongly believes in fostering teamwork and acknowledging the unique contributions of each team member.

For Mourad, leadership is about empowering others to take charge. “I encourage my team to take ownership of their regions and lead with confidence,” he affirms. This approach not only unleashes their potential but also fuels strategic thinking. By entrusting autonomy, Mourad’s team can delve deeper into their strategic goals. “We’re able to execute our plans with precision, setting ourselves apart from competitors,” he explains. “Our focus is on achieving sustainable growth, driven by a culture of leadership at every level.”

Central to Mourad’s strategy is the concept of mentorship. “Experienced team members mentor newcomers, ensuring the transfer of knowledge and fostering a culture of continuous improvement,” he states. This allows for dedicating more time and energy to refining the strategies and driving excellence across the board. Mourad’s leadership philosophy centers on empowering individuals, fostering teamwork and driving sustainable growth through mentorship and strategic focus.

Leading Through Change

In our industry, the landscape is constantly evolving, influenced by a multitude of factors,” observes Mourad. From global health crises to geopolitical shifts and technological breakthroughs, staying informed is essential.

For Mourad, collaboration is key to navigating these changes. “We must maintain strong connections across different domains,” he emphasizes. This involves actively engaging with colleagues, attending industry events and staying updated through various media channels. Central to success in this ever-changing environment is fostering a culture of openness. “We need an environment where everyone feels empowered to share their insights and perspectives,” he asserts. “This ensures that valuable information is not overlooked amidst the noise.”

When faced with significant challenges or opportunities, Mourad stresses the importance of decisive action. “We must be agile in our response,” he urges. “Whether it’s adopting new technologies or addressing potential threats, prompt action is crucial for maintaining our competitive edge.” Mourad’s approach revolves around staying informed, fostering collaboration, promoting openness, and taking decisive action in the face of change.

Adapting to the Cloud

Understanding the client’s needs is paramount. Mourad stresses the importance of tailoring solutions to meet specific requirements. It’s a continuous process that starts from day one and extends until the solution is successfully implemented. In his role, Mourad emphasizes the need for engagement and transparency. “We strive to anticipate challenges and keep our clients informed every step of the way,” he explains. This builds trust and ensures delivering solutions that exceed expectations.

Recent trends in the cloud computing market further underscore the significance of strong client relationships. Mourad notes that the growth in cloud infrastructure spending speaks volumes. “Cloud infrastructure services spending increased by 29% in a quarter compared to the previous year,” he stresses, indicating a rapidly expanding market. It’s clear that businesses are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to meet their evolving needs. Of particular note is the shift among small and medium-sized businesses towards cloud services. Mourad emphasizes that with a significant portion of 57% SMB workloads and 56% SMD data now residing in public clouds in 2022, tailored solutions for this segment are crucial.

Moreover, the rise in demand for multi-cloud solutions highlights the complexity of customer requirements. “Businesses are seeking value and flexibility in their cloud solutions,” explains Mourad. The increasing preference for multi-cloud solutions by 89% of businesses indicates a diverse and complex customer requirement landscape. Mourad’s approach accentuates the importance of understanding client needs, fostering transparency and offering tailored solutions in an evolving cloud computing landscape.

Future-Proofing Strategies

We’re constantly analyzing current trends in our industry to stay ahead,” shares Mourad, emphasizing their proactive approach. He adds, “We share our insights through various channels—white papers, blogs, social media, and in-person interactions.” This analysis isn’t limited to popular trends alone. Mourad explains that his team is considering a wide range of technologies relevant to the business to ensure a comprehensive approach.

One area of focus is cloud and edge computing. Mourad notes that these technologies are steadily evolving with broad applications. Trends in 2024 focus on their expanding role including the integration of Generative AI, specialized quantum computing and advanced hybrid and edge solutions.

According to a Gartner report, the future looks promising. Mourad reveals that by 2025, half of cloud data centers will deploy advanced robots with AI and ML capabilities resulting in 30% higher operating efficiency. Mourad’s team remains vigilant, analyzing trends and innovations to better serve their clients and stay at the forefront of the industry.

Seizing Opportunities

Mourad recognizes the evolving landscape of cloud computing is driven by AI and the emergence of the Metaverse and sees it as an opportunity to enhance their services and uphold their commitment to innovation and sustainability. He observes that the rise of AI and the looming presence of the Metaverse are reshaping cloud computing, highlighting the transformative impact of these technologies. AI requires a fresh architectural approach to handle big data efficiently, raising questions about power and cooling needs.

The global cloud AI market is experiencing rapid growth. “Valued at USD 62.63 billion in 2023,” Mourad shares, “this expansion is driven by technological advancements and growing demands for virtualization, storage and analytics.”

For Mourad’s company, this presents an opportunity. “We aim to augment our cloud services with innovative AI-driven solutions,” he explains, “in line with our commitment to sustainability and cutting-edge technology.”

Building Blocks of Innovation

Mourad stresses the symbiotic relationship between security and innovation in cloud services advocating for a proactive and integrated approach to both. In the realm of cloud services, balancing innovation with security is imperative, Mourad highlights the critical importance of this equilibrium. Security isn’t just a foundation—it’s the catalyst for innovation.

For instance, Accenture’s approach underscores this synergy. “Ninety-five percent of their applications are in the public cloud, supported by a platform economy that prioritizes security,” explains Mourad. This strategy has yielded impressive results, including a 70% reduction in build costs and a threefold increase in speed for build and go-live operations compared to legacy security tools.

Moreover, integrating security from the outset proves cost-effective in the long run. Avoiding additional expenses from redoing work later is key. A robust security framework not only protects but also enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of cloud services driving innovation forward.

Collaboration and Progress

Mourad’s leadership journey exemplifies how challenges can be turned into opportunities through collaboration and a shared commitment to sustainability. “Reflecting on my leadership journey at Schneider Electric, one major challenge was related to managing environmental impacts in cloud and service provider operations, particularly with data center energy use and CO2 reduction,” recounts Mourad. This issue, however, became a growth opportunity.

The main challenge was our operations’ high energy consumption, which was environmentally concerning,” continues Mourad, highlighting the pressing nature of the problem. “We tackled this by focusing everyone on the common goal of decarbonization.” This meant not just cutting carbon emissions, but also building a shared responsibility and collective action mindset. “We encouraged open dialogues, allowing all parties to share their concerns and views, which was key to finding common ground.”

As a result of these efforts, the challenge transformed into an opportunity for collaboration and progress. “We saw increased proactive involvement across the ecosystem,” notes Mourad, “with service providers seeking energy-efficient solutions and a shift towards sustainable practices.” He also adds, “Our joint efforts started showing results, advancing us towards our decarbonization goals,” shares Mourad, highlighting the positive outcomes of collective action and shared responsibility.

Global Expansion and Sustainability

In an era of intense competition, products and services must align with clients’ expectations for innovation, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Cloud services are continuously expanding, with new offerings being developed to fill gaps in domain- and industry-specific needs, thereby enhancing innovation, agility and scalability. Additionally, a strong commitment to sustainability is vital, as cloud providers strive to reduce carbon footprints and improve energy efficiency.

Global coverage is also expanding, with cloud services now available in most commercial centers worldwide, offering high bandwidth and optimized performance. Mourad’s opinion, “However, leaders should be aware of the slowing growth and penetration in the cloud industry and plan strategies accordingly.” Keeping pace with these trends will enable leaders to navigate this fast-moving industry effectively and make a significant impact​.

The Power of People

Mourad highlights the importance of nurturing a culture of growth and innovation within the team, ensuring they are well-equipped to meet and exceed client expectations. “Our team’s success hinges on our consistent investment in our people,” emphasizes Mourad, underlining the critical role of employee development. To outperform competitors, the need is for each team member to be a step ahead of their counterparts.

That’s why we prioritize a culture of continuous learning, career development, experimentation, and risk-taking,” explains Mourad. By doing so, the team creates a dynamic and fulfilled workforce that is always ready to respond to the company’s clients’ needs with energy and creativity.

Uncertainty to Empowerment

Mourad’s journey underlines the transformative power of embracing uncertainty and fostering a culture of collaborative learning and adaptability within a team. “The most unexpected yet profoundly impactful lesson I’ve learned is the importance of acknowledging and embracing the unknown,” shares Mourad. “Early in my career, I often perceived leadership as having all the answers. However, I’ve come to realize that true leadership involves recognizing the limits of one’s knowledge and understanding that there are aspects within any environment that are unknown or unclear.”

This insight has significantly influenced Mourad’s approach to leadership. Mourad continues. “Now, I prioritize identifying areas of uncertainty or gaps in my understanding.” Once he recognizes these gaps, the next crucial step is to assemble a team with the necessary skills and expertise to address them. This approach fosters a collaborative environment where leadership is not about directing others with a rigid set of instructions, but rather about learning from the team and leveraging their strengths to navigate through unknown territories.

Adopting this mindset has shifted my perspective from being a leader who tells people what to do, to one who learns from others to better understand what needs to be done,” states Mourad. For him, it’s a humbling and empowering experience that has not only enhanced his effectiveness as a leader but also enriched the collective knowledge and capabilities of the team. He shares, “By embracing what I don’t know, I’ve been able to foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, which is crucial in today’s ever-evolving landscape.”

Crafting a Winning Strategy

For professionals aspiring to leadership roles within the cloud and services providers sector, Mourad offers valuable insights, “my advice would center on the crucial importance of customer orientation and customer intimacy.”

It involves deeply understanding the needs of the target customers where Mourad stresses the depth of comprehension required. “Not just superficially, but in a way that appreciates their short, medium and long-term goals and challenges.”

To effectively implement this philosophy, building a strong team is essential. This team should be driven by the principle of developing close relationships with clients enabling a profound comprehension of their needs, expectations and aspirations. Such understanding allows to tailor services and solutions more accurately to meet specific requirements, explains Mourad weighing the practical implications of customer intimacy.

Additionally, a key aspect of the company’s strategy should be the integration of sustainability into your value proposition,” advises Mourad. In today’s world, where environmental and social responsibility is increasingly important ensuring that a company’s offerings align with these values can set one apart and resonate deeply with clients.