How UAE banks can remain competitive: Xebia

0
261

The UAE’s banking sector has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, with a rapid shift toward digitisation, but many banks are now falling behind, according to Xebia, a global IT consultancy.

Xebia, based in the Netherlands, has had a presence in the region since opening its Dubai office in 2016. Since then, the company has assisted many forward-thinking companies in sectors as diverse as banking, airlines, real estate, government, financial services, and insurance in their digital transformation.

Shankar Garg, Managing Director MEA, Xebia, says: “We help some of the world’s leading companies overcome their digital challenges, embrace innovation, adopt new technology, and implement new business models. “There’s something of a paradigm shift in the sector, with a need for digital payments, digital-only banks, cloud-based software, apps and storage, and the rise of Open Banking. This can create a confusing array of solutions for a bank, but Xebia can help ensure the right technology is adopted at the right budget.”

“Banking is far more global today, and regional banks are in danger of being left behind unless they develop a digitalisation strategy. Xebia has the talent, the tools and the technology to help the financial sector stay ahead of the curve and be fully prepared for the bright new digital era,” adds Garg.

Changing customer preferences, high mobile penetration rates, and increased competition from fintech companies and challenger banks in the UAE are driving the need for rapid change in a sector.

Regional governments are also eager to promote financial services digitization in order to maintain global competitiveness. While new banks – and new financial services companies – are getting ahead of the curve by not having to deal with legacy issues, more traditional and cutting-edge banks still need assistance in making the transition.

Xebia is now working on 21st-century digitalization solutions with three of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks. It recently assisted a major UAE bank in the development of a world-class mobile banking experience. Xebia is known around the world for its coding prowess, with an emphasis on full-stack development, Agile, and DevOps. However, the company is also experiencing a surge in interest in Low Code – a highly visible, more clear approach to software development that saves money and time.

Various opportunities, problems, and issues related to banking trends have been observed by the organisation. A transition to digital and quick payments is one of them. The Middle East digital payments market is expected to develop at a CAGR of 6.5 percent from 2020 to 2025, owing to a sharp increase in e-commerce sales, widespread internet access, and high smartphone adoption. Advanced AI and analytics, which can better use data to discern consumer preferences and push appropriate offers, are driving significant regional expansion in digital banking and payment institutions.

“Such analytics – almost available in real-time – can help banks manage risk, create stronger payment predictions and help deliver faster loan decisions. It’s a win-win for customers, who expect faster, online service, and for the banks, who can provide faster, more effective decision making while mitigating risk,” explains digitalisation expert Garg.

Garg reveals the company is also seeing a rapid move towards digital branches, utilising automation to the full, to help customers achieve their banking needs 24/7/365.

Garg says: “We are seeing more regional banks showing interest in developing full-service kiosks, with digital appointments and video conferencing, mobile tellers, and AI-based hyper-personalization. While financial business has traditionally been conducted face-to-face in this region, many banks are now embracing digital products to help make them more tech-savvy, paperless, and people-friendly – all while delivering better, more personalised care to customers.”

Although cloud computing and cloud data storage are still in their infancy in the region, Xebia is well positioned to assist the banking sector in making the transition to more cost-effective, always-on cloud computing solutions. Banks can use cloud-based computing to optimise infrastructure and performance while keeping in mind the cost of digitisation.

Open Banking is also gaining traction as a technology solution that connects banks, third parties, and technical suppliers, allowing them to exchange data in a simple and safe manner for the benefit of their consumers. Xebia’s solutions include creating a single user interface via which the bank’s online product may be used for a variety of online activities, transactions, transfers, and purchases.

Xebia has worked with more than 150 banking and financial service companies around the world, assisting them in navigating the complexity of the sector’s technology landscape. Garg recently earned the MEA Financing Banking Technology Awards 2022 for Most Innovative Mobile Banking App on behalf of Xebia at an award ceremony held at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, demonstrating the company’s experience in the market.