Tell us about yourself and your role as a CIO/IT Head in this company.
Graduated as a Mechanical engineer in India back in 1990, I initially pursued a five-year career in manufacturing for Larsen & Toubro, where my desire for technology grew. I later moved to Saudi Arabia and spent 17 years working at what was formerly Citibank-owned Saudi American Bank – and is now known as Samba Financial Group. My major project during my lengthy tenure in this bank was with Saudi Aramco to automate the company’s initiation of transactions to the bank using its SAP ERP system. I then joined First Abu Dhabi Bank – formerly First Gulf Bank in 2013. There I played a lead role in ensuring all the merger requirements for all business areas are executed in FGB IT systems for day 1 of Merger.
Last year I joined Sharjah Islamic bank (SIB) as Head of Information Technology. As the IT head, I am currently responsible for all aspects of IT across SIB and its group businesses (including the real estate and Islamic finance businesses).
What are your business models and how has digitization played a key role in your organization?
Our Digitalization strategy is centered on both customer facing and internal facing processes. The overarching theme of SIB’s plan is to encourage a digitally driven mindset and attitude throughout the bank to ultimately ensure that consumers are provided with end-to-end banking services at their convenience. Constantly seek opportunities to increase throughput, leverage new technologies and improve efficiency and turn-around time. Digitalization of our processes using technologies like RPA are poised to uplift our operational efficiencies leading to faster turnaround times for our consumer.
What kind of technology trends do you anticipate in 2018 for your organization?
Business process automation and workflow shall be a key focus powered with enabling technologies like Robotic Process Automation. Digital banking for the consumer and STP processing for corporates shall drive our strategy going forward. Predictive analytics leveraging AI are also being explored to create contextually relevant options for business decision making.
The key themes of May issue are Big Data, Li-Fi and Financial Services. Would you like to share with us your opinion on one of these topics?
On Big Data, the industry solution landscape is maturing. While it is good to continue to explore the technology toolsets around big data (of which there are many), it is more important to ascertain the business wish list and their focus areas before embarking on a big data journey.
On Fintechs, Banks have to embrace fintech’s and the fintechs also have realised that in order for them to flourish, they will need to co-partner and co-create with financial institutions. The customer will always be comforted in knowing that a bank is backing up or fronting such fintech initiatives.