Qatar’s banks need to embrace digital transformation to drive cost-savings and efficiency

Qatar’s banks need to embrace digital transformation

Banks in Qatar need to consider digital transformation to ensure future growth, as the industry continues to feel the impact of advances in technology which are reshaping how organizations operate today, according to KPMG’s head of Digital Transformation, Farhan Syed. Syed was in Qatar to address senior banking professionals at the latest of KPMG in Qatar’s ‘Freshly brewed’ Chief Finance Officer (CFO) seminar series.

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‘Freshly brewed’ Chief Finance Officer (CFO) seminar series.

Banks in Qatar need to consider digital transformation to ensure future growth, as the industry continues to feel the impact of advances in technology which are reshaping how organizations operate today, according to KPMG’s head of Digital Transformation, Farhan Syed. Syed was in Qatar to address senior banking professionals at the latest of KPMG in Qatar’s ‘Freshly brewed’ Chief Finance Officer (CFO) seminar series.

In his keynote speech, Syed noted that there are six forces driving digital transformation in the banking industry globally: mobile banking; using data and analytics for segmentation and marketing; using social platforms to encourage consumer dialogue; adopting cloud based systems to reduce cost and increase efficiency; automating processes and systems using robotics, and exploring digital currency and blockchain. “While these forces may create some risk, they also create huge opportunities for financial institutions. The more digitally transformed a bank is, the more successful it is at creating value. Digitally transformed banks are more focused on customer needs and user interface experience, and are therefore better at appealing to the market. In addition to this, increased efficiencies as a result of adopting technology mean that digitally-focused banks can enhance their competitive advantage and boost profits.

In Qatar, some banks are beginning to explore how digital technology can support their operations and sales; however, cultural preferences suggest that an element of human interaction will always be important. Omar Mahmood, head of Financial Services at KPMG Middle East and South Asia said, “It is clear that automating or digitalizing all processes will not be appropriate for many markets, particularly in places like Qatar where traditional face-to-face interactions are favored. However, smart use of digital forces where most appropriate can have a positive financial impact.”

A big trend reshaping the banking industry globally is data analytics. Traditional banks typically use consumer data to run mail-outs for marketing campaigns. Digitally advanced banks are increasingly using data to analyze, segment and target consumers based on their needs and interests, encouraging them to buy different or new products. According to Syed, “Data should be treated like human capital; it’s a new resource that not only needs to be maintained, but also nurtured. Data analytics can help financial institutions significantly increase efficiency, reduce costs and drive profit.”

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is also having a major impact on the banking industry. Specifically designed software can replace time-consuming manual processes, reduce human error and minimize labor costs. On implementing RPA, Syed continued, “Businesses can use RPA to make changes to back-office functions at a relatively low cost, and payback on investment is often felt within a year or so. Estimates suggest that robotics could replace around 120 million roles globally by 2025, so it’s important for businesses to explore implementation but also consider re-skilling their employees.”

KPMG in Qatar’s ‘Freshly brewed’ seminar series brings together CFOs from the country’s leading banks and financial institutions to discuss industry news and trends. The event was held on 15 March at the Four Seasons hotel in Doha.

 

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