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The 8th Financial Technology Summit to discuss Arab Banking Innovation and Competitiveness

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WAM Abu Dhabi, 4th April 2012 (WAM) — The 8th Financial Technology Summit ‘&’ Meetings Middle East will be held in Abu Dhabi from 10th to 11th April, 2012, bringing together the technology leaders of the top 100 Arab Banks to discuss “Technology as a Pathway for Innovation ‘&’ Competitiveness”.

The Financial Technology Summit ‘&’ Meetings Middle East (FT Summit), now in its 8th year, is dedicated to the IT decision makers of the top 100 Arab Banks, a platform to facilitate the dialogue between IT leaders of the Arab banking industry.

The 2-day summit will highlight the key role of technology as a key driver for the competitiveness of Arab Banking industry.

Srood Sherif, Group CIO, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, a speaker at the Summit, said: “Innovation is no longer a “nice-to-have” flavor. Rather, it is an essential element for survival. The burning desire to transform, retool, or rework in producing the highest quality of output automatically ignites the competitiveness at the individual and the organization levels. The key to maintaining this burning desire resides within the interworking of the intellectual capital of the bank comprising of financial personnel and technologists.” He added: “Technology plays two critical functions for innovation within the banking industry. First, it can be used as an enabler for all banking business features providing high quality user experience through the Internet and mobile banking. Secondly, it can be used as one of the drivers for the next generation business offering differentiators.” Dr. Fadi Chehayeb, General Manager, Group Support, National Bank of Kuwait, who will be presenting on the first day of the Summit, said: “For many, innovation is associated with the introduction of new products and services to allow them to compete with other banks who offer the same. For some, it is being the first bank to introduce new products and services in the local market and lead the competition. The business leads these changes, and IT departments cannot keep up with the demand. In other banks, IT plays a key role of innovator, but the IT driven ideas sometimes fail to address local market requirements and never take off. A successful innovation strategy should address the culture of innovation across the organization, and should include all stakeholders.

In fact, innovation should not be driven purely by the introduction of new products and services, but should include the full customer relationship as well as the internal processes.” Dr. Joachim Von Heimburg, a keynote speaker at the Summit and one of the most prominent international innovation experts, added: “The world has become flat, hot and crowded and as a consequence, business is changing faster and more radically than ever. Innovation is the only way to survive and thrive in this challenging environment. It’s up to innovate or die.” “Innovating successfully requires long term commitment. But the returns of becoming a more innovative company are high. Just take Apple which has become the world’s most valuable company or Procter ‘&’ Gamble which grew its organic sales by 6% a year for nearly a decade whilst keeping R’&’D investment fairly flat. This added $ 3 – 5bn to the bottom line year over year.” “Innovation is more than just using new technology. It is about employing knowledge in a new way to create business value. This could be a new technology, but also a creative sales strategy or an innovative distribution channel. Net, innovation turns knowledge into money.” Additionally, Khaled Eid, CEO of The World Development Forum, said: “Innovation is becoming the password to compete in the global market: the race for market share in an increasingly globalised economy is based on the efficient assimilation and analysis of information and a rapid response to market conditions. In order to achieve a competitive advantage, banks are looking to technology to lead their innovation both internally and externally to outmaneuver the competition. CIOs believe that to achieve their business objectives, technology innovation isn’t simply an option; IT innovation must be at the heart of their strategy.” This year’s edition of the FT Summit will attract leading industry experts from financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and the UAE, the hosting country, as well as leading technology providers.

Source: WAM.Org – Press Release – 4 April 2012

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