Several years ago, the chairman of a programming company made a remark at the World Economic Forum in Davos, stating that “Speed is the new currency in the business world.”
“I didn’t fully comprehend the depth of this statement until COVID-19 swiftly disrupted our lives and the business world,” said Joe Chidiac, CEO, JC Media Group.
This frightening virus swept across every country, bringing our lives to a halt and imposing new rules for transactions, particularly in the financial sector between banks and their customers.
Banks had to rapidly develop and implement new ideas and technologies to provide services that meet the needs of their customers as well as respond to competitive changes and remain competitive.
In other words, Financial institutions were forced to adopt innovation as the foundation of their business models to maintain their brand excellence, embrace rapid change, and create fresh solutions to meet the expectations of their customers, strengthen their competitive positions and protect market share.
The current global economic climate has placed a greater emphasis on the importance of digital technologies, with digital capabilities and skills being critical to ensuring the resilience and sustainability of economic growth. In today’s highly competitive market, banks’ chances of survival depend on the speed of development, creativity, and innovation of their work methods. The provision of advanced and innovative products that meet the needs of their customers is also critical in ensuring a competitive advantage.
Given the significance of innovation in achieving long-term success and survival, media reports highlight the investments banks are making in financial technology and digital transformation. These include platforms, applications, blockchain technology for cross-border payments, and artificial intelligence to improve customer service.
At a time when Western banks are struggling to compete and face significant challenges that may delay their investments in financial technology, Gulf banks are taking the lead by investing heavily in their technological infrastructure and introducing innovative products and digital services. These actions align with the ambitious economic visions and development plans of the GCC, aimed at transforming the region into a global financial, economic, and cultural hub.
“Innovation is no longer an option but a necessity for the banking industry to remain competitive. Banks must continuously renew themselves or face arrested development,” concluded Chidiac.
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