Arab Bank outsources back office functions

Arab Bank has become the first bank in the Gulf region to outsource its back office processes, it has been announced.

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By  Daniel Stanton Published  May 8, 2006

Arab Bank has become the first bank in the Gulf region to outsource its back office processes, it has been announced. The senior vice president and UAE area manager of Arab Bank, Mohammed A. Azab, yesterday signed an agreement with Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ), which will see the bank move all of its back office operations there. Azab said: “The establishment of the Gulf regional processing centre is a strategic move on the part of Arab Bank. It is within the plans of Arab Bank to enhance its delivery services. “We are very proud to make the very first move to a shared services centre of any banking institution [in the GCC].” Arab Bank’s new facility at DOZ, called the Arab Company for Shared Services (ACSS), will conduct its entire back office work, including processing for fund transfers and trade finance products, as well as retail and commercial loans. ACSS will later house Arab Bank’s IT centre for the Gulf region. “This announcement is particularly significant because shared services and internal outsourcing are rising trends across the world. It’s now being increasingly adopted by corporates in the region to gain efficiency and productivity,” said Ismail Al Naqi, director of DOZ. “At DOZ we are very keen to promote and support such trends in the region. We see a huge opportunity for shared services to add value to both organisations and the economy within the UAE and within the region.” The zone will not attempt to compete on cost with countries such as India, but will instead aim to provide high-end technology and infrastructure to attract companies, particularly those in the fields of healthcare, insurance, IT and banking & finance. Buildings in DOZ will have access to high-bandwidth connectivity, integrated IP telephony, automatic call distribution, satellite communications services, and technical support, as well as centres to encourage research and development. Companies will be able to ‘plug and play’, saving them time and money on installation, and they can also opt to use a data centre maintained by eHosting DataFort to house their servers. “The main objective of DOZ is to compliment the outsourcing destinations in the region,” said Al Naqi. “Take India, for example, or South Africa, or the Philippines. These countries have particular weaknesses which can’t be resolved in the short term, and Dubai comes into place to close the gaps. “We’re talking about things like good infrastructure, availability of multilingual staff, low attrition rate, and a friendly expat environment. These things Dubai offers.” DOZ will open for business with its first residents in June this year. It is aiming to have 150 companies in place by the end of 2006.

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