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I was born into a family of builders. That taught me the importance of a strong foundation, of creating solid structures that resist unforeseen conditions, and that in the business sense has helped me in my work over the last 28 years.
This work has spanned consulting with my graduate school advisor on computer-aided constructed facilities assessments, to working with an international multimedia establishment on knowledge-based systems, to leading a national reform program with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Now, I’m building and guiding the firm’s digital practice in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Based in Beirut, Lebanon, Dr. Raymond Khoury leads Booz Allen’s Digital Solutions business in the MENA region. He and his team focus primarily on taking clients’ digital agendas from mere concepts to operating realities.
His areas of expertise in the digital domain include:
Raymond specializes in large-scale transformation programs in the public and private sectors. His project areas include next generation smart government strategies, intelligent infrastructure designs, sector-specific mobile app prototyping, location-aware services applications, big data analytics, and strategic program management constructs.
Before rejoining Booz Allen in 2014, he served as a partner at Booz & Company in the Middle East. He previously served as a senior associate and principal at Booz Allen and as government technical cooperation director at UNDP in Lebanon. Prior to that, he was a senior information communications technology advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and an international business development manager at Multinational Multimedia Computing, a U.S.-based firm.
Raymond is a member of the Chi Epsilon and Sigma XI Scientific Research engineering honor societies, and was awarded the Golden Merit Medal for Good Governance by the Tatweej Academy for Excellence.
He holds a Ph.D., an engineer’s degree, and M.S. in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a B.S. in engineering from Northeastern University.
What makes you passionate about your work at Booz Allen? Just as in the building business one changes the landscape of an urban or rural space, through my digital work at Booz Allen I am quite passionate about changing the operations effectiveness and efficiencies of my private or public sector clients through leading-edge digital technologies and infrastructure. It’s what keeps me excited and motivated.
What exciting innovations do you see coming in digital practices? The immediate trend will continue to move to mobile. Everything will be available on a smartphone. Predictive intelligence will increase with the advancement of data analytics capabilities available now. Years ago, my Ph.D. thesis was on artificial intelligence, so I’m excited about smart personalized and predictive services that we’re only seeing a glimpse of right now. We’ll see faster mobile networks and more cloud computing. The Internet of Things will be more prevalent across urban and rural areas. Blockchain technologies will continue to be more secure and offer faster transactions. 3-D printing will generate larger and larger real-life or future objects. The true digital revolution is a seamless transition from a faster Internet to a more hybrid, speedier infrastructure with a larger content storage platform to provide what we need, when we need it, and in the most suitable format.
What kind of risks do these innovations bring? First, digital security. As we move into the Internet of Things, we want to keep our eyes on those that would do us harm, either by stealing or falsifying information. Second, technology will affect the workplace and the role of employees. As we automate the workplace, we need to transition civil servants into knowledge workers or “super civil servants,” not linked to only one function. Third, information risk. The libraries of content volume for just social media can be overwhelming. We need predictive intelligence and other advanced data analytics mechanisms so information insights don’t get lost.
What is a great piece of business advice you’ve heard? If one fails in achieving the sought-after result to try and try again, and success will prevail. This is the spirit of innovation that is based on iterative trial and error until that novel invention or creation is realized. In a region that is developing in the presence of changing geopolitical dynamics, this advice always comes in handy.
Did you always want to work in digital services? I grew up in a real estate development family that built single-family homes in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. When I was 9, we moved to Lebanon where my family continued building residential towers. My family liked changing how things looked and developing future cities. From that, I developed a sense of how important foundations are, how to create a strong structure, and how to create an enjoyable space. When I went back to the U.S. for college, I aspired to get a civil engineering degree and run the family business. I ended up in graduate school at MIT and, as the war in Lebanon continued, I stayed in the U.S. for more education. In graduate school, I became more of a technologist than an engineer. But I kept the same principles—the importance of foundation, sustainability, and resilience. In technology, if you have a solid foundation, you can do almost anything in delivering services. That has been my anchoring philosophy. I’m still a builder at heart, working as a professional in delivering with my team leading digital consulting services.
What’s something that many people don’t know about you? I am a craftsman of sorts. I like to develop wood structures that either add new usable space to a home or can be used as decorative items. In my pre-teen years, I crafted a decorative crescent moon with a railed staircase on it. It symbolizes evolutionary achievement with high aims.