Sharjah Islamic Bank’s Digital Banking Transformation Enables Seamless Omnichannel Customer Experience
Ganesh Premsankar, Senior Director and Head – MENAT, Infosys Finacle catches up with Jassem AlBlooshi, Head of Organizational Excellence, Sharjah Islamic Bank to understand how the bank is scaling digital transformation and driving innovation to meet the evolving needs of customers
These are exciting but tumultuous times for the banking business. They present unprecedented challenges to traditional approaches as well as new windows of opportunities. In these extraordinary times, the 7th edition of Infosys Finacle Innovation Awards was launched with the objective of inspiring and celebrating banks that have delivered breakthrough innovations despite the challenging environment. Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) has been recognized as a winner in the Channel Innovation category in the mid-size segment.
Being the largest bank in Sharjah, the bank looked to scale digital engagement by providing a unified experience to their customers across channels. With its upgraded digital channel solutions and digital engagement hub, the bank has enhanced the customer experience with seamless navigation, frictionless onboarding, increased security and a rich set of new features. Ganesh Premsankar, Senior Director and Head – MENAT, Infosys Finacle catches up with Jassem AlBlooshi, Head of Organizational Excellence, Sharjah Islamic Bank to understand how the bank is scaling digital transformation and driving innovation to stay ahead in meeting evolving needs of the customer.
Ganesh Premsankar: We are living in times of unprecedented change. An era that demands relentless customer-centric innovation to stay competitive and relevant. What do you see as the most important success factors for a bank in such times?
Jassem AlBlooshi: Banks are betting big on delivering personalized, contextual, and consistent customer experiences across all touchpoints. To me, a comprehensive approach to digital transformation is the starting point. It empowers a bank to drive deeper customer engagements while ensuring operational excellence.
The second most important factor is to reimagine customer journeys from scratch so that they are tailored to meet the demands of today’s digital lifestyle, taking into consideration some of the customer experience best practices from around us.
The third most important aspect is how we leverage data analytics. With the right approach, today a bank can get a unified view of customers across banking engagements, we can derive insights based on transactional and behavioral data. Leveraging all this, a bank should be enabled to deliver personalized and human-centric interactions to their customers – offering them the right products, personalized services, and enable them to manage their finances smartly.
Ganesh Premsankar: Today, customers’ needs and expectations are changing based on what they experience from other service providers and technology companies? How is Sharjah Islamic Bank looking to meet these evolving expectations?
Jassem AlBlooshi: There are three phases towards addressing the customer needs. Starting with a design phase, an organization needs to understand the current situation. This is best done through market research or market intelligence study. As a second step, it is important to leverage the insights gathered from such a study and map customer journeys. The final phase ends with enhancing Customer Experience (CX), focused on meeting evolving customer needs and expectations.
At Sharjah Islamic Bank, we commissioned a market study to derive insights on customers’ affinity towards intuitive mobile banking solutions with tailor-made user interfaces and flow. The results helped us to prepare a clear business case. We embarked on a digital transformation to offer branchless banking, omni-channel experience, scalability, security as well as interactive and intuitive User Interface and User Experience. Overall, we expected the implementation to drive increased operational efficiency gains, maximized utilization of digital footprint, and increased numbers of satisfied customers along with scalable and robust integrated IT architecture.
SIB has a dedicated Digital banking division, which in coordination with Customer Experience is designing and tailoring Digital services fit to meet Customer’s Needs & Expectations.
Ganesh Premsankar: That’s interesting. So, how did you go about executing this transformation and how did the program maximize digital engagement with your customers.
Jassem AlBlooshi: The scope of the digital transformation initiative included modernization of IT architecture with digital design solution, automated processes and integration of multiple back-end systems and channels towards an agile and omni-channel environment.
To start with, we wanted to provide digital onboarding for all our customers. Secondly, we enabled end-to-end digital lead generation & fulfillment through channels. Finally, we leveraged social engagements with our customers to promote our products and services.
Overall, we designed fluid design concepts, the application UI is responsive & has a tailor-made process flows that enable smooth navigation and rich experience. Our customers are enjoying a rich set of new features.
Ever since the go live in September 2020, we have seen a very positive market trend towards the acceptance and usage of its new internet and mobile banking offering. While our banking associates benefit from consistent data and a single source of truth, our customers enjoy a balance of personal in-branch relationships and convenient mobile and online connectivity.
Ganesh Premsankar: How do you look to redefine digital engagement in the upcoming year and what are your bank’s strategies for the upcoming year?
Jassem AlBlooshi: We are seeing an era of digital change. In the coming years, the transparency of financial transactions and agile delivery of services through digital channels will drive success in the market. Hence, we are strengthening our partnerships with various FinTechs.
For the upcoming year, our first priority continues to be accelerating digital and operational transformation – this will give us the robust foundation for all our strategies. Secondly, we look to drive efficiency and cost optimization across the organization. Thirdly, we look to be agile and reduce time to market for our innovative offerings.
Ganesh Premsankar: At Infosys Finacle, we have been privileged to have been the partner of choice of Sharjah Islamic Bank. I would like to hear about your experience with us and how do you see the partnership shaping up?
Jassem AlBlooshi: Infosys Finacle is our key partner to support SIB in the digital innovation journey. Their leadership and project management skills have helped SIB to digitize our products and launch new experiences for our customers in very short time. We will continue to enrich our partnership to lead and provide the best solution in-order to meet customer needs. SIB has already launched Individual Mobile & Online banking with Infosys Finacle in 2020 and recently in August 2021 SME/Corporate Mobile & Online banking. We have many more projects with Infosys Finacle in the pipeline that will be announced in the upcoming years as per our digital roadmap vision.