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IBM signs with Tanfeeth shared services provider

Emirates NBD division and IBM to deliver business process services in the GCC

IBM signs with Tanfeeth shared services provider
(l-r) Rick Pudner, CEO, Emirates NBD; John Lutz, general manager, IBM Global Process Services, and Abdulla Qassem, Tanfeeth chairman.

IBM has signed a new strategic partnership with Tanfeeth, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD bank, to deliver shared services to companies in the GCC.

Under the agreement, Tanfeeth will offer shared services such as back office processing, finance and accounting, customer contact services, HR and training, all based on IBM's global process services capabilities.

Emirates NBD says it has invested over AED 100m in Tanfeeth, and intends to make it the GCC's first, and leading shared services provider, with a focus on raising the quality of customer service.

Tanfeeth was established as the services centre of excellence for Emirates NBD, the UAE's largest bank, but the aim now is to target third party customers in a wide range of sectors, with world class services and offerings.

At present Tanfeeth has over 700 staff based in Dubai, but the company plans to grow that to 3,000 in the next two years.

The company will have a brief to develop young Emirati talent, through a development programme, and Tanfeeth personnel will also be seconded to IBM's own leadership programmes, to learn from IBM's service centres of excellence worldwide.

IBM will provide access to its global process capabilities in services, tools and training to the organisation, and will also second its own staff to Tanfeeth, to help develop the company's capabilities.

"We are focused on making our clients' processes more efficient, consistent and most importantly, more fundamentally geared towards making their customers happier," said Abdulla Qassem, Tanfeeth chairman and group chief operating officer of Emirates NBD. "We selected IBM to help achieve this because they provide complementary skills, capabilities and offerings. We have intimate local market knowledge, while IBM offers global reach and our strategic agreement is underpinned by such compatibilities."

Qassem added that traditional reluctance to outsource was waning in the region, pointing to an existing subsidiary of Emirates NBD that currently provides outsourced operations to over 60 banking customers in the region,

"The market is maturing, people are believing in centres of excellence, that they cannot do every thing on their own, it has to be with a partnership. Governance has to be clearly defined and that we acting as an [independent] company, that as a management team we act separately from the owners," he said.

John Lutz, general manager, IBM Global Process Services, said that business process services are gaining ground, particularly in emerging markets that have aspirations to become global. IBM aims to have 30% of its business come from emerging markets by 2015.

"It is an outstanding opportunity for us, the target industries for Tanfeeth as it evolves over time are the right spots in the market for us to participate in. It is also the right kind of work, the process services work that we will be doing is in key areas, ...Tanfeeth will be doing this work the right way, IBM will be bringing significant technology, the software that we have acquired to bring outstanding process improvement, not just running the functions as they are today but improving them through time. IBM is thrilled for the chance to partner, it is the next step in our commitment to business in the Emirates, and we are delighted to take this step forward," Lutz commented.

Lutz added that the current economic climate would help drive its business with companies looking to cuts costs, but that going forward, Tanfeeth would also be able to help grow its customer's business, through areas such as improving customer satisfaction.

"Clearly process services affords the opportunity for savings and efficiency, and that is a fundamental aspect of what we are doing here together, but the kind of work we are particularly interested in, also has to do with the top line, the chance to grow, to improve customer satisfaction, the kind of things that allow growth as well as efficiency," he added.

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