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Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

Case Study: A Blast from the Past

Case Study: A Blast from the Past 1707 2560 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

In 2013 a group of friends and me decided to start a not-for-profit organization by the name of Strategy & Enterprise Architecture Society (SEAS Inc.). SEAS continues to be registered in the State of North Carolina in the United States and has amassed 800+ participants by the end of 2015.

Due to numerous career moves, busy lives, and the demands of a hectic schedule, we stopped further development of SEAS.

Nonetheless, we developed and published a case study in 2013 that was very useful to business majors, executive leaders, and University professors. It is based on a fictitious company called Acme Building Materials plagued with problems.

The case study describes the organization, it’s management, issues its facing, and it’s P&L at a moment in time and challenges the reader to find a solution. We also provided an answer key in the published case study.

For nostalgia purposes, I am attaching the case study here as some of our readers might find some useful nuggets of information and we encourage anyone in an educational or mentor capacity to use this case study to help facilitate understanding.

Happy reading!

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors 2560 1748 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

The finance & banking sectors have positioned themselves at the forefront as one of the most developed sectors globally. They are forever willing to innovate and invest in new technologies, and the past decade has seen major investments in developing digital accounts, person-to-person (P2P) payments, advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) practices and more recently lots of investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and block-chain.

AI has a lot of value to bring so it was no surprise when it quickly ushered the new-age financial market. But there are often misconceptions about the role of AI in finance because of its presumed limitations. For example, AI is usually just associated with data analytics, but it’s got a far bigger role that it can play outside of data automation.

AI provides a change in the way customers interact with services. It provides a remedy for the daily challenges that banks face, such as fraud prevention and anomaly detection. We are in the “I WANT IT NOW” era. Consumers want quick solutions to their problems, and due to the volume of online transactions, it’s costly and time-consuming to be handled entirely by a human workforce.

But despite many advancements, this is just the beginning for machine learning and AI in banking; we have only just scratched the surface. Here are some more ways we can leverage it.

Let’s Start with Behavior

Behavior is a key pattern that must be tracked in banking, especially because of the growing transactions conducted online through e-tailers and alternative payment providers, such as PayPal. Each bank defines fraud guidelines differently and these can only be determined by understanding the consumer behavior that’s displayed at your particular institution.

A fraud detection startup based in the UK, Ravelin, uses a unique blend of neural networks and algorithms to basically mimic the human brain. Each individual vertical in that algorithm defines a different aspect of human behavior, such as how long it takes to ‘window shop online’ or how long it takes to enter your card details or your address. Together, they create a metric for each bank that helps them flag a fraudulent interaction.

For example, the threshold for fraud detection at a local bank such as Emirates NBD may be different from the guidelines at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank because of the unique consumer patterns they’ve observed. Behavior – very important for AI in banking!

Moving on to Something We’re Familiar with – Mobile banking
By digitizing the banking experience, the bank reduces its operational costs, creating a convenience-driven solution for consumers with a direct line of communication with the bank through the support of push notifications. The future of mobile banking is something that’s been heavily debated because of concerns around cybersecurity and data protection. But here’s the flipside – the tech sector is growing rapidly, now more than ever, and large investments are being made to perfect the digital world.

The role of AI in mobile banking addresses just that. With fingerprint scanning, voice recognition, facial recognition (and even iris scanning at times!), AI solutions create a robust biometric support for online security. Barclays has enhanced its security offerings by partnering with the Japanese digital solutions group, Hitachi. These futuristic technologies are readily available to us thanks to our smartphones, and modern banking solutions will be prevalent on most smartphones by 2024 (Juniper Research Data).

Customer Service Will Continue to Evolve

Due to their segmented approach and ability to target different audience niches, customer service will become even more personalized. For example, based on a client’s purchase decisions and transaction history, AI can create customized recommendation models that specifically target you based on your individual needs and wants.

AI is not only a cost-effective, time-efficient solution to the daily problems faced by anyone in the financial sector or even the consumer, but an all-rounded protection of our finances. We’re at the cusp of an AI breakthrough in the financial sector. It plays on, and improves, our basic, fundamental building blocks – customer service, security, behavior, and I’m just as excited as you to usher in this new era of banking.

My Predictions For The Post-Pandemic Corporate World

My Predictions For The Post-Pandemic Corporate World 2560 1748 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

We’ve long suspected the need to develop a virtual world, where the core of business longevity stems from a complete digital transformation. COVID-19 seems to be making our case for more zero touch and online interactions. While this transformation is not new, it is being accelerated due to the isolation, social distancing norms set in place globally. How does one operate in a world driven by physical distance? Simple. You revamp the paradigm.

Around the world, the transformation started taking place years ago when companies began replicating certain elements of their brick and mortar business model on online platforms. The automotive sector welcomed virtual showrooms, healthcare sectors started telecommuting consultations, the education industry began online classes and distance learning so students across the globe could receive their degrees without travelling to the University/school locale. But the catalyst, COVID-19, created almost a worldwide emergency requiring companies to adapt and adopt technologies overnight that could help them mirror their physical office practices in a virtual ecosystem.

Having seen the success rate and increased productivity rates over the past two months, we’re painting a picture of a post-COVID corporate world.

Post-COVID Work Life

As offices switched to all-online mediums of communication, as with an actual physical setup, cyber security is always a factor to be considered. With the increase in the number of employees working from home, information sharing is all virtual and altered quite dramatically, so the challenge fell on the in-house tech geniuses to create remote work capabilities that are safe, secure and mitigate misuse.

Working remotely permanently was first implemented by Twitter in March as a response to the virus onset. They explained that this decision was made in line with their ‘distributed workforce’ endeavors. Telecommuting and a hybrid of in-office + Telecommuting is where we’re headed post-pandemic. The need to conduct webinars, virtual meetings and a more digitally enabled workforce is crucial now more than ever because of the long-term benefits. Most organizations will not be returning to the old way of conducting business even as the country reopens operations.

Apart from the obvious health benefits to social distancing and working from home, the company faces reduced costs, reduced emissions while indirectly motivating their employees because of the new work-life balance that’s created. We are at the cusp of a post-COVID reality and in the position to reinvent the workplace.

Post-Pandemic Business Meetings

A major impact has been on corporate travel. Flying across the globe for business is not the same anymore and possibly not as safe anymore. We’re looking at a more limited future in terms of travel; regional travel may be safer as compared to international. This change, from the airline’s perspective, is beyond drastic. We’re looking at a complete 180-degree turn in the way in-flight entertainment and food is served, the seating arrangement, coach and business class pricing, especially considering the reduction in capacity travel.

The New Corporate Standard

While the world is seeing redundancies, furloughs and a significantly large unemployment rate, we are resilient. We’re seeing entrepreneurial spirits on the rise, SMEs taking the lead in technological advancements and a contact-free economy that, based on previous experience, will birth new disruptive brands that will sustain the post-pandemic world. Brands that are now helping us in this period, Netflix, FedEx, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on were formed post-economic recessions and are now part of our daily lives.

For consumers, brands are now being held to a new standard. Business priorities have to change completely, and resources need to be repurposed to cater to today’s challenges (reduced in-store footfall and impulse purchases) while communicating a responsible, CSR plan. Consumers have now become more conscious of the brands they interact with and this is fueled by their compassion for frontline workers currently. To maximize their brand impact, donating a portion of their sales to hospitals or partnering with like-minded brands is important for raising their social status.

This means a significant drop in luxury brand purchases is expected, unless, they are able to keep their sense of purpose on the surface to allow the customers to experience their compassionate, responsible side. Our consumers are becoming more conscious of the efforts in brand development and identifying CSR as a driving factor for brand loyalty. For SMEs and startups, shelving an idea until the market rebounds may create a missed opportunity and acting swiftly is fundamental.

We’re at the brink of a revolution that could create a unique algorithm for corporate functions moving forward but the thing to remember is, resilience is key.

Finding Opportunities in a Crisis

Finding Opportunities in a Crisis 1280 2276 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

It’s been an interesting 2020 for the world so far as we battle through these unprecedented times. When I first fully understood the gravity of the pandemic and the implications of the lockdown, like many I felt paralyzed. I still do some days – this is the truth! And this is probably why it took me a while to get back on social media.

After 30-years of a professional career in consulting and working for organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, DEWA, Smart Dubai, and others, I left a year ago to start my two businesses, DigitAI, an Innovation & Management consultancy specializing in Artificial Intelligence, and Algofy.ai, an InsureTech Startup out of Abu Dhabi Global Markets. So not only did I feel alarmed and deeply concerned along with the world about the COVID-19 that was sweeping through the world and the global stock markets plunge, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness towards value destruction taking place for businesses, startups and the economy.

But when adversity comes, so does opportunity. If there was ever a time for businesses to innovate, digitize and automate their processes, it is now.

Challenges are Opportunities for Innovation
10 years ago, the economy was in free fall from the 2008/ 2009 recession. But from these ashes emerged some of the biggest tech giants including Uber, Pinterest, YouTube, Air BnB and Slack. Yes, recessions can be detrimental for businesses, but they also bring forth new market opportunities, digital innovation, and reduced market competition. Investors and entrepreneurs around the world have said that the COVID-19 we are presently fighting is the “world crisis” for a startup and broader economy since the great depression.

As organizations and governments around the world mandate employees work from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many businesses, such as airlines and hotels, have been hit hard. And as automakers, malls, shops and commercial, physical locations are forced to close, COVID-19 is revealing the physical-digital divide: Universities and schools have made a shift to online learning, restaurants have transitioned to online ordering and delivery, and video conferencing platforms users for platform like Zoom and BlueJeans have skyrocketed. Delivery giant Amazon encouraged their staff to work overtime to try and cope with the huge demand. We are beginning to see a rapid organizational transformation across industries which is very quickly changing and shaping the future of work as we know it.

Digitization is the New Standard
After working on large-scale digital transformations for the majority of my career, I know how difficult digitization can be for established and traditional organizations to adopt. And to complicate it further there is now an additional layer required for a digital operating models: virtual work.

Before companies digitized and leveraged Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies to be better, faster and stronger. In my career, we used digitization, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence to automate tasks that tripled teams production, recovered Millions of dollars from fraud, and improved the type of work for the workforce. But now, digitizing is not just a great recipe for improving your operations and increasing your bottom line. It’s far more fundamental for worker employment and the public’s health. The stakes have drastically, and quickly, increased.

In my next article, I will be revealing 3 things that leaders and organizations can do in the wake of this rapid digital transformation. What else would you like to learn? I would like everyone to know that I am here for them and happy to help in whatever way I can, whether it’s a quick Zoom call to brainstorm ideas or a large-scale digital transformation project planning, I am here and ready.

Additionally, DigitAI is lending a hand “pro-bono” to assist organizations with their data to solve problems using Machine Learning & Artificial intelligence. Please email me at fadi@xische.com

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