No holding back

For Dlala brokerage and Investment Holding firm the importance of having a smooth running operation and being able to offer a first-class customer call service has undoubtedly been the driving force behind its immediate success.

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By  Duncan MacRae Published  February 1, 2007

|~|TAJ_0034-200.jpg|~|Saleh: To have state-of-the-art solutions for a call centre it is vital to embrace an IP telephony infrastructure.|~|For Dlala brokerage and Investment Holding firm the importance of having a smooth running operation and being able to offer a first-class customer call service has undoubtedly been the driving force behind its immediate success.

Seeking market domination at an early stage in the business lifecycle meant the company needed to have an IT infrastructure in place that would allow it to provide a fast and effective call centre service right from the very beginning – Avaya solutions have now become an integral part of this.

Dlala Holding’s vision from the beginning was to implement state of the art information and communications technology either in its infrastructure or in the applications themselves.
When setting up, the company did research in the market before selecting Avaya’s IP-based Contact Center solution.

“We selected that as it was one of the best, if not the best, out of all the IP telephony solutions and our data group report was putting Avaya first in many aspects,” explains Naser Saleh, Dlala Holding’s IT manager.

“Based on our study, and with the help of consultants, we came to the conclusion that the most appropriate solution for our needs - we are a new company with a big vision - was Avaya,” he says.

“Since we are a brokerage company our main business currently is to help customers make the right investments decisions in a correct, accurate, safe and swift manner,” Saleh continues. “To do that we have to provide all channels to the customers and one of the important channels is the call centre. To have state-of-the-art solutions for the call centre you really need IP telephony, to have the intelligence to redirect the calls and distribute the calls to the agents based on certain criteria.

“So that was the reason for selecting IP telephony – first of all for the call centre, but also for our company internally since we have more than one branch. It’s much easier to deal with IP telephony now.

“Let’s say one employee moves from branch to branch, there is no need to do much work. He can have the same extension anywhere at any branch without physically having to move the phone line. We are all connected to one central PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and with IP you can move anywhere and the facility is always there.”

The implementation took place in two phases, consisting of a quick implementation in which the call centre was established within a month, and then the full solution, which took around four months to set up.

Although still in its infancy, the company already has two subsidiaries – Dlala Brokerage (LLC) and Dlala Islamic Brokerage (LLC). A third, called Dlala Investment, is currently under establishment.

According to Saleh the experience of implementing Avaya solutions and continually enhancing the company’s IT set-up has been a great learning curve for the whole Dlala IT team.

“We went live with the IP solution as soon as we opened and since then we’ve added more modules because we expanded so quickly in the call centre,” explains Saleh. “Currently for each company we have 150 channels so we can take 150 calls at any given time and distribute these to our agents for each company.

“The only problem we faced was the delivery of some of the extra components we requested because of delays at Qatar customs and things like that. But the implementation, once we received these components, was very smooth.”

Overall, Dlala Holdings is extremely satisfied with their IP solutions as it has met all expectations and fitted in seamlessly with the previous existing IT infrastructure.

“In some cases, from a business point of view, it has exceeded our expectations,” says Saleh.

“There are many good features in the Avaya system that enable us to do business in a better way. For example, the call forward function. Even when some of our accounts managers leave their desks they can still answer calls. When VIP customers call their extensions the call automatically goes to their mobiles so we serve the customer all the time.”||**||Return on investment|~||~||~|The company now uses almost all of the advanced components in Avaya, such as the Communication Manager.

Other solutions deployed include Avaya S8300 Media Server, Avaya Media Gateway and Avaya Interactive Response, all of which help the call centre staff to work more efficiently as a unit. “Avaya has many categories of phone sets for the agents and we use almost all of those categories. We are now implementing IDR (Inter-Divisional Request) with Avaya,” adds Saleh.

Dlala’s main business until now has been the brokerage business while the investment business will begin operating in the very near future, explains Saleh.

“In Qatar we have seven brokerage companies and we are the only brokerage company that is listed in the Doha Securities market. We are one of the leading companies and although we’re fairly new we already have a market share of around 25% and we’re looking to increase this market share very soon.”

Dlala Holding’s IT team is currently made up of around 15 people but once Dlala Investment is fully operational, and with plans to expand further, Saleh says it might be time to look at increasing the numbers. “My team is doing a great job now. We will go back to Avaya only when there is really a big need for that and luckily up until now there hasn’t been a disaster case. Anything that has come up, the Dlala team has been capable of taking care of.”

As far as return on investment is concerned, Saleh believes this is something that is likely to be achieved sooner rather than later.

“It’s difficult to say when we’re going to get a return on this solution but I think it will pay for itself quite quickly,” he comments.

“It depends on the business but usually I think it would only take a couple of years. In our case I think it’s going to be very quick and it will happen in less than this.”

Avaya has also been extremely satisfied with how well the implementation has gone at Dlala Holdings. “Financial services are one of the fastest-growing segments in the Middle East, given the robust expansion of the region’s banking sector and the size of investments being made by customers here,” says Nidal Abou-Ltaif, managing director for Avaya, MENA.

“By implementing internet telephony solutions the brokerage firm has been able to reduce overhead costs and deliver a valuable new service to its clients, through IP-based communications network across its branch offices.”||**||

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