Qatar Digital Transformation Conference: Building Digital Ecosystem Is the Need of the Hour


The Dell EMC hosted the Qatar Digital Transformation Conference on April 12, 2017 at St Regis Hotel Doha, Qatar. Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank was the key note speaker and spoke on “Realignment of business model and how digitisation and innovation is the core of business.”

Dr.R. Seetharaman gave insight on impact of technology. He said “Today, there are 2.5 billion internet users. The digital economy is “the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth. We need to give people the tools to help them thrive in the digital economy. Financial institutions Worldwide are realizing that they need focus on a different sort of innovation, better technology, modernize infrastructure and improve customer experience.

The banking business models are changing globally from being old traditional branch business to highly advanced automated customer centric experience for performing day to day banking activities. The forces of digitisation and the rapid adoption of advanced internet technologies are increasingly resulting in the international establishment of a flexible and proven corporate architecture that is increasingly being referred to as a “digital ecosystem. Digital eco system is significantly more than digital banking, it takes a holistic view of the customer.

The connectivity between various service providers is lot more in an “digital eco system” than in an digital banking environment. It is not for just banking alone organisations in various other industries should realign their business models to build their digital ecosystem. Building digital eco systems is the need of the hour.”

Dr.R. Seetharaman gave insight on GCC Fintech industry. He said “There has been little investment in the GCC Fintech industry, but this is expected to change in the coming years. GCC governments can play the role of a facilitator in terms of policy and regulation, and in providing the right environment for innovation to flourish to enable private sector to come up with solutions. Cash has always reigned supreme in the Middle East, even after the advent of plastic, net banking and other alternative payment systems.

But with the increase in internet and smartphone penetration, digital payment systems are gaining prominence in the region. GCC Banks are allocating resources to adapt their business models to the fintech revolution as they run the risk of losing market shares to technology innovators.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted how banks can approach customers on the digital space. He said “Exploring and uncovering multiple channels of communication to customers and other banking partners will be critical for GCC banking industry growth. GCC Banks should invest wisely to understand customer analytics, as this can help derive efficient channels. As digitization of all industries continues, consumers will expect banking experiences to replicate those in other industries.

With significantly fewer visits to a local branch office or even a phone call to a customer service representative, conveying a consistent brand experience will be more challenging. Brand equity in the GCC Banking industry will also increasingly flow from partnerships that are established with others in the ecosystem. Service differentiation and customer experience will increasingly become the major deciding factors, with the ability to deliver real-time insights and offers, transparency and integrated commerce opportunities becoming more important. The banks which start listening closer to their customers’ needs will have a competitive advantage over others.”

Dr.R. Seetharaman highlighted on the future trends impacting digital space and the challenges faced in digital economy. He said “Various industries are getting redefined, the health sector can be reimagined, the work space is undergoing changes, robotics and artificial intelligence are going to play important roles and the customer will be more empowered in the digital environment.

Fintech, internet of things, block chain and artificial intelligence are some of the major technological developments. Banks and the financial regulators should address the trade-off between convenience and security when it comes to digital banking. From compliance perspective banks and the regulators have to deal with questions arising from digital banking. To protect customers, thwart organised criminals, and ensure financial stability, prudential and conduct regulators, and legislators, need to ensure that regulation is future-proofed for the digital age.”

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