Digitization in banking is the migration to customer services offered on the internet platform in a wider spectrum through process automation. As an industry player, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has been implementing a digital financial management system, as a strategy to enhance its operations and service delivery to the customers. However, the actual data relative to this initiative has been insufficient as far as its outcomes in terms of customer attitudes, perception, experiences, loyalty, trust, and operational convenience are concerned. This paper thus assessed the impact of digital transformation on consumers’ banking system in FAB. The research was formulated and executed using a qualitative case study design in which secondary data was collected using a document study or analysis technique. Data analysis involved listing and selecting the best document that answered the study topic. The data were organized into units, and categories, and coded to establish themes emerging from each set of information.
The results of the study revealed that FAB has world-class digital services that offer a faster, simpler, and seamless adventure that enables it to gain and retain both its individual and corporate customers. Further, its portal is secure, reliable, and has a scalable infrastructure that gives customers transparent online services in the shortest time. However, FAB must continuously innovate and upgrade its digital applications to keep up with emerging tech trends and protect the integrity of its clients, and money. Lastly, FAB must strive to recapture the attention of its App users with short videos, graphics, simple scripts, and self-help options that simplify complex banking concepts.
Digitalization is a phenomenon that affects an increasing number of different industries. Modern e-commerce principles are largely based on the implementation of high-tech systems that track financial flows and optimize control over current assets (Nadeem et al. 2018). In banking, digital transformation involves cultural, organization, and operational use of technological applications. Basically, it is the migration to customer services offered on the internet platform in a wider spectrum including process automation, customer experience, data integration, organizational flexibility, and sales (EVERFI 2022). Further, it enhances clients’ experiences through mobile applications such as paying bills, money transfers, loan services, and feedback to inquiries done at the touch of a button.
Conventional banking systems often start with marketing building leads, sales, and then customer services. Individuals must go through many departments before they get products or services and this in many cases creates disjointed and disconnected outcomes (EVERFI 2022). On the other hand, the digital banking system has proved to be cohesive and allows for personalized customer experience, where everything is integrated into a single online platform. This necessitates handling clients through the same tools, with the same information, and sometimes by the same person through the entire process (EVERFI 2022). Digitization requires the flexibility and the willingness of the banking industry players to adapt to change because new digital banking solutions are fast overtaking the traditional systems in terms of growth prospects and customer acquisition. The banking executives, managers, and other players are required to align their policies and legal frameworks to meet the customers’ changing demands, new innovations, and technologies to remain relevant.
Therefore, banks have been transforming from the inside by focusing on online portals, and chatbots, as well as proactively embracing technologically driven services and operations. However, many financial institutions have in the recent past failed in their own digital transformation goals due to a lack of consistency, poor support for online applications, and lack of internal agility (EVERFI 2022). This can be addressed when banks review and change their approach by developing an internal digital culture before full implementation of digital features in service delivery. Once banks have fully embraced digitization tradition, they will be able to offer great deals of value to customers that are supported by automation, big data, and technological applications.
As an industry leader in Abu Dhabi, First Abu Dhabi Bank has been successful in implementing digital financial management tools. Further, the bank has been advancing partnerships with companies that support the transition to the mass adoption of modern technologies in financial processes (Zarrouk et al. 2021). The bank recognizes the value of moving to innovative methods of commodity-money relations. As a result, the bank’s consumer systems began to develop at a faster pace. First Abu Dhabi Bank offers its clients e-wallets and other remote personal savings management algorithms. Such a growth strategy has had a positive impact on both customer loyalty, which high retention rates indicate, and individual benefits. For instance, there has been increased return on capital, and allowing expansion and growth opportunities, including from the perspective of strengthening external influences.
Banks are embracing new innovative ways of doing business and offering services to clients. In the 21st century, many financial institutions have developed websites, digital apps, online services, and features to be able to meet the ever-growing customers’ demands for efficient service. Digital transformation is a significant step in the operational process and can be accompanied by challenges and barriers to implementation. (EVERFI 2022). Additionally, in some cases, these “digital services” do not encompass a banking system that incorporates customers’ experiences.
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is a relatively young financial venture that was founded in 2017 and provides transactions with money and securities. The services include giving loans to the population, foreign exchange, deposit facilities, and electronic banking (FAB 2020). FAB in the recent past adopted digital transformation as a strategy to enhance its operations and service delivery to the customers. In addition, the bank introduced as part of its services, innovation to client systems by offering dedicated applications for efficient and secure financial control (FAB n.d.). The position of customers in relation to these initiatives is insufficient; there exists a gap because many studies available lay emphasis on the outcomes of the transformation and the change itself, while the perception of the real customers is not evaluated. This paper, thus, intended to assess the impact of digital transformation on clients’ banking systems in FAB systems. It analyzed the significance of customers’ attitudes, perceptions, retention, trust, loyalty, and experiences with FAB’s digital system. Further, the study evaluated the usability, relevance, efficiency, and operation convenience of the banking system to the customers.
The paper discussed research questions such as the customers’ attitude, their perception, and the influence that digital transformation has had on their experience of the automated banking systems at the First Abu Dhabi Bank. In addition, it examined the effect of digitization on retention, loyalty, trust, and operations convenience of the clients, and the relevance of the digital financial system to the needs of and demands of consumers’ at FAB. Lastly, the study looked into the efficiency of digital activities and products offered to the customers by the bank. Research Objectives
The study aimed to determine clients’ attitudes toward the options provided to them due to the digital transformation the venture promotes. Secondly, it evaluated the clients’ perceptions of whether the bank’s digitalization course brings positive changes. Further, the paper investigated how digital transformation influences consumer banking systems. Additionally, it assessed the impact of digital transformation on consumer banking systems, client retention, customer loyalty, operations convenience, and the relevance of FAB’s automation to the customers’ needs and demands in an ever-growing tech-savvy environment.
The paper is expected to come up with conclusions on the attitudes and perceptions of customers’ towards FAB as a result of the bank’s digital transformation. The study is also expected to highlight the influence automation has had on the customers’ experiences, loyalty, trust, retention, and operation convenience. In addition, will aim to demonstrate the relevance of the digitization of FAB’s services or products to the customers. Finally, the research should show the implications of FAB’s digital transformation on the clients’ behaviors and make recommendations on the areas FAB needs to improve on to scale up the applications and enhance customer satisfaction.
Digital transformation mechanisms employing technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and Blockchain technology, have revolutionized the financial sector business to new types of providers. For example, there are many opportunities that include fintech, start-ups, and big tech companies. First Abu Dhabi Bank has positioned itself to be the leader in this new venture (Benito 2020). FAB has rolled out several new online activities that focus on growing the bank’s digital capacities that are aimed at improving customers’ experiences.
First Abu Dhabi Bank Analysis
FAB embarked on the steps of digitization by improving its online platforms in a hybrid cloud environment to enable an efficient digital experience for clients. Over the years, First Abu Dhabi Bank has been transforming purposely to enable it to be at the forefront of the industry players in terms of digitization of retail banking (Geronimo 2022). The bank enlisted the services of IBM consultants to provide expertise in banking and application modernization for faster development of new products and services. Currently, FAB has an array of digital banking services that meet customers’ needs (Geronimo 2022). The automation has therefore placed it in a better position for future growth and ongoing agility and it intends to leverage this new technology to meet the clients increasing digital demands. Additionally, FAB underpins the importance of continuous innovation and transformation in how it will interact with its customers in the future. (Geronimo 2022). The success of this technology-driven service delivery was accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic because customers increasingly relied on their mobile apps to access all their bank services.
The bank is using digital services and has entrusted data to AWS and Azure to allow it to maintain a leading position against its competitors in the market. In 2018, the bank integrated its services with Temenos T24 also called Transact and by 2019, it realized benefits from the new platform (Benito 2020). There was growth in several different sections of the business and by the end of 2019, FAB recorded a 50% increase in business registrations and engagements compared to 2018 (Benito 2020). In addition, digital transactions for services on mobile and browser platforms improved. The bank currently allows customers to open digital accounts, it has automated many manual processes and other retail banking online applications.
Further, FAB has onboarding a steady stream of new Payit mobile wallet customers. FAB’s digital growth improved in 2020 with mobile customers’ registration and engagement going up by 70% compared to 2019 (Benito 2020). Further, there has been an increase in the number of clients who adopted electronic channels in the global transaction banking (GTB) program. Through GTB, about 90% of the banks’ customers are able to engage its digital channels. GTB integrates systems based on T24 and other core businesses (Benito 2020). Additionally, FAB started creating channel engaging systems for corporate and retail clients that run in the cloud through PaaS and SaaS abilities on AWS and Azure in 2020.
- Cloud Computing. In its current strategy, FAB is focused on transitioning to a cloud-first financial institution. It envisions a situation where this venture will allow the bank to reduce its operating costs. The bank has partnered with Amazon Web Services and focused on migrating its data center workload to the cloud. This is aided by AWS through controlled, structured, secure, and in full compliance with both local and international laws(Benito 2020). FAB is using services like Outpost that allow the running of critical production workloads as well as connecting to the AWS region for management and operations. Further, the bank is using Microsoft Azure for workloads such as Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Windows Virtual Desktop. These platforms have enabled it to quickly anchor itself into work-from-home mode without reducing the productivity of its staff.
- Blockchain Strategy. As part of its digital evolution strategy, FAB has incorporated the Blockchain initiative with the aim to realize many financial benefits. It introduced a new nationwide Blockchain trade finance platform in partnership with Etisalat in July 2019 (Benito 2020). Its management team expects that distributed ledgers will improve the security of its services as well as enhance transparency to customers. Blockchain technology is seen within the institution as a way of assisting them to cut costs and increase transaction processing. So far, the BT solution offers digitized financial services through UAE Trade Connect (UTC) platform(Benito 2020). The project leverages artificial intelligence and robotics. The belief among key stakeholders within FAB is that the Blockchain ecosystem will be successful on a large scale if it is widely adopted by other banks and businesses within and outside the country.
- Forefront of the Industry. FAB is currently at the forefront of the banking industry in terms of digitizing its retail services. The bank offers a wide variety of online services to meet its customers’ needs. FAB is aware that the future of financial services will be driven by technology and is focused on transforming itself through innovation to tap into the ever-growing techno-savvy clients. Further, FAB recognizes and appreciates the fact that consumers of financial services are increasingly relying on the convenience of mobile apps to access their daily banking services (Noll 2022). This has catalyzed its resolve to modernize operations and create cloud-native solutions that meet the rapidly evolving customers’ digital behaviors and expectations. For example, according to the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), as reported by Christian Noll (2022), 71% of banks in the UAE have witnessed a significant value from the digital transformation of their business processes and applications. The leading-edge capabilities, deep industry experience, and leadership in financial services introduced by IBM at FAB have revolutionized the bank and brought about innovative experiences for its customers.
- Liquidity Management. FAB partnered with Intellect Global Transaction Banking (iGTB) to improve its liquidity management capacity to assist in retaining and attracting bigger clients. This initiative helped the bank to achieve its objective of enhancing risk-adjusted returns. While using iGBts intercompany lending capabilities, FAB is currently offering in-house banking abilities to their top company client groups. Today, FAB is the first large-scale intercompany lending institution in the region as well as the leading principal banking services provider to corporate customers (IGTB 2022). This operation has been powered by iGTB’s Digital Transaction Banking solution (DTB) and the intercompany lending capabilities automate the execution of borrowing and lending within the entities of the companies. Further, tracking loan contract regulations and parameters in terms of borrowing capacity, debt structure, repayments, limits, and more is made easier (IGTB 2022). Thereby, contextualizing & automating the end-to-end process, and legal tracking including comprehensive interest calculation procedures. This liquidity management initiative is the most powerful platform currently in the market that enables firms to have pooling, intercompany loans, policy-driven automated investment sweeps, cash flow forecasting, and real-time money check-up.
Digitalization in the Banking Sector
Digitization has been a key trend in the banking sector in 2021 akin to its effects on other business ventures. Technology is rapidly reshaping how banks offer their financial services to customers. However, not much has been achieved with only about 27% of the banks launching their digital transformation strategies in the year 2021 (Lugovsky 2021). On the other hand, customers are changing too as a result of the growing number of millennials who expect banks to behave, function, and act in a technologically driven fashion just like Google or Apple.
Based on this and the need to tap into the youthful and techno-savvy client base, banks are running against time to embrace innovative and competitive digital solutions to remain relevant players in the industry. Therefore, technology is shaping the direction that the banking sector will take in the future and banks must incorporate digitization ideas in their strategies (Lugovsky 2021). Further, the massive shutdown of human interactions in the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic only acted as an eye-opener for many banks across the world to accelerate their digital initiatives. Automation of bank services so far has proved to assist banks in maintaining reliable customer retention tactics, reducing costs for attracting new clients, facilitating onboarding, and hence, increasing their revenue.
- Digitization Strategy is Key. The amount of investment needed to actualize the desired digital outcomes is big. Further, the effectiveness of such transformation depends on how banks use the technologies they integrate and adapt into their operations. Therefore, it calls for financial institutions to come up with well-articulated strategies for the automation of their services (Lugovsky 2021). Banks must examine and put in place the mechanisms to manage the risks that are related to the digital transformation such as data leakage, unauthorized access to data, and cybersecurity issues. Banks should revise their traditional business processes and IT infrastructure before planning and implementing digital transformation. Managers must assess their bank’s security gaps and know how to eliminate those using digital solutions. Additionally, financial institutions must establish a culture of innovation and adventure amongst their workers so they can continuously develop IT solutions that improve customers’ experiences (Lugovsky 2021). There must be a shift in employees’ behavior and this can only be realized when banks invest in training their staff on computer technology and its applications. Client-centric mindset involves the constant improvement and modernization of technologies. It is expensive, however, banks aspiring to provide first-rate financial services and outperform competitors must take this costly yet necessary decision (Lugovsky 2021). Ultimately, the digitization strategy results in the elimination of paperwork, less time spent on serving consumers, increased productivity, transparency, cost reduction, elimination of risks, and increased revenue. Today, the outcome of tech-savvy implementation has seen big banks reaping the benefits of digital transformation. For example, Bank of America now gets more deposits through mobile apps than its traditional physical branches (Lugovsky 2021). Financial institutions are using technology to transform their products and services and to attract customers. Further, digitization is making financial services client-centered and innovation-driven.
- The Global View of Digital Transformation in Banking. The covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital platforms by businesses to remain active and competitive and the banking industry was not left behind. Many financial institutions across the globe increased their automation ambitions and activities by either starting new initiatives or improving the online processes that existed already (Manning 2021). In 2020, there was wider and more rapid consumer adoption of digital banking systems. A survey by Bill Topel, a digital financial services leader at BDO as reported by John Manning (2021), noted that implementing a digital strategy has the potential to help banks get closer to their customers. Further, that automation can assist financial institutions to increase their revenue bases. Even banks that have been implementing digital transformation long before the pandemic now face the certainty of introducing drastic changes so as to remain competitive in the landscape that is dominated by financial technology (fintech). In addition, recent research by global banking executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value as documented by John Manning (2021), revealed that about 60% of respondents felt that boundaries between industries are not clear. The findings confirmed that over 60% of the participants predicted competition to come from new and unexpected ventures such as start-ups, internet giants, and firms outside the banking sector (Manning 2021). These together with increased regulations for financial providers, the survey indicated would force banks to scale up their digital reinventions. There is a need for banks to reimage the customers’ experiences and overhaul the IT infrastructure to accommodate big data storage, processing, and implementing cloud computing, BT, and AI to enhance productivity (Manning 2021). Banks are in need to change their business models to allow them to operate in collaboration with external IT partners and to improve their performance. It is expected that by the end of 2022, only about 11% of banks and 4% of credit unions will not have a digital transformation strategy in the United States. Further, according to Gartner, as reported by John Manning (2021), the pace of digital adoption is in top gear. About 69% of the boards of directors surveyed confirmed that their banks have accelerated automation initiatives post-pandemic. Roland Berger 2021 “Retail Banking Survey”, of about 60 European retail banks from 11 counties, revealed that digitization has been received well in the areas of consumer loans and mortgages. The report pointed out that the lack of strict focus on digital initiatives was impeding the real transformation of business models (Manning 2021). It stressed that banks must scrutinize their orientation and innovate on new services lest they are superseded by newcomers. Nonetheless, many stakeholders in the banking sector appreciate that digital transformation is key for all players for them to avoid falling behind their competitors.
- Digital Engagement is key to Optimizing the Consumer Experience. The banking industry is in a digital arms race and customers expect their banks to act, behave, and interact like the top technology brands such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft. In 2018 banks around the world invest US$9.7 billion to enhance their online financial services abilities capabilities in the front office alone (Mayo 2018). Online and mobile banking is important for many banks just like physical branches and ATMs. It is said that financial institutions think that investments in digital technologies could benefit their clients’ acquisition and satisfaction. Banks are racing to emulate leading technology brands including Apple, Google, and Amazon which are the standard for digital engagement with customers (Deloitte 2022). These brands have a stronger emotional connection with their consumers than they have with the banks. Thus, banks must reengineer the online experience they offer emotional attachment to clients that could translate into interactions.
Consumer Banking Systems Analysis
Many banks are seeking accuracy in their operation models through data-driven decision-making. The object is to transform core banking systems to provide better and quality services to their customers. Cloud and digital transformation enable banks to offer financial solutions (Research & Markets 2021). The increasing use of advanced technologies in the banking, financial services, and insurance sector in countries such as China, Japan, and Australia has pushed the adoption rate of retail core banking systems. Further, big data analytics is becoming popular in the industry because it delivers a large pool of information about the customers (Research & Markets 2021). Banks use it for predictive analysis to evaluate their strategies so as to come up with a better decision that benefits the clients, offers good performance, and reduces costs. Players in the core business systems mainly focus on collaboration strategies that help in expanding their ventures and maintaining good brand names globally, however, they assist consumers to get secure banking and lending solutions at minimum cost.
The United States, Europe, and other developed countries have witnessed the growth of fintech, and the acceleration for digital banking services has doubled in many countries due to drastic changes in customer expectations and demands (Research & Markets 2021). The internet is changing the financial industry as far as main products are concerned, and how the services are grouped, proposed, delivered, and executed (Research & Markets 2021). Automation is driving the development, growth, innovation, and competitiveness of players in the sector. Banks are using IT to improve their proficiency, and service quality, and to attract new customers. This innovation is catalyzed by changes in distribution channels such as ATMs, phone banking, Tele-banking, PC-banking, and online- banking. Globally, the industry has evolved through online services which assist businesses and individuals to access products from the luxury and comfort of their offices and homes. Further, banks have been able to attract more corporate and retail clients.
- Consumer Banking Systems Analysis at FAB. FAB provides corporate, retail, private, and investment banking alongside management services, Islamic banking, and real estate solutions to clients. The institution offers credit facilities, global transaction services, and market solutions to both UAE and international customers. Through its strategic solutions, FAB is focused on meeting the banking demands of its consumers throughout the world. With this commitment, FAB PUT customers at the center of its operations and has continuously invested in people and technology to necessitate client-friendly banking experience and the growth of its stakeholders across the countries in which it operates (World Business Research 2022). The bank is positioned to take advantage of the full potential of a unified system with a strong focus on customer experience through digitization.
Features of Introducing Digital Tools
The 21st is regarded as the digital era because technology has taken over nearly all aspects of humans’ lives. Computing systems are making tasks pretty effortless as everything is possible at the click of a button. The digital wave has continued to sweep even the banking industry and has changed how financial institutions offer services to customers (North 2021). All the traditional banking activities that were only available when clients make physical visits to branches are now offered online. Funds transfers, loan management, bill payments, opening new accounts, and non-financial services such as address change, and requesting checkbooks are now actualized through the internet or mobile apps.
- Online Banking. Online banking gives clients the luxury of banking anytime and anywhere around the world. Through these features, customers can view their bank transaction history, print account statements, transfer funds from one account to another, pay bills using credit or debit cards, and recharge for internet connectivity (North 2021). FAB’s online financial features give it an advantage because many local banks are not Tech-savvy (Business Essay 2022). It makes it easy for customers to access their different accounts at shopping centers and is able to transact their daily activities in a cashless manner.
- Digital Wallet. Gone are the days when individuals had to carry cash whenever they wanted to purchase items or procure services. The introduction of a digital wallet that has come with the automation of bank services has made life relatively easier for the customers as they can pay for all their needs by using their smartphones (North 2021). FAB offers a very fast, secure, and free Digital Wallet service called Payit (FAB n.d.). This is an all-in-one service that addresses the needs of clients in the 21st century who are becoming a more and more cashless society. Using Payit, consumers are able to pay utility bills, split checks with friends, send money anywhere, and shop online at their convenience anywhere around the world.
- Online Payment Platform. The bank has a new “payment platform” for merchants which combines a number of transaction needs of customers into a single digital-first package. This system incorporates card payments, and new methods including domestic and international digital wallets, loyalty programs, and QR solutions (Zawya 2020). Further, there are value-added activities such as buy-now-pay-later and easy-installment plans, and onto a single service layer. Through this service, the traders are offered a single and secured payment mechanism that allows them to accept frictionless in-store, mobile, and online payments (Zawya 2020a). Additionally, it elaborates beyond the conventional activities by giving clients more options.
- Super Surprises Artificial Intelligence Tool. FAB launched a new artificial intelligence service called “Super Surprise”, which monetizes payment data through efficient campaigns. It is built on analyzing the spending behavior of every card that interacts with FAB’s payment environment (Zawya 2020b). In addition, the tool assists the traders to create effective promotions to get more clients to their businesses through the innovative brand affinity system created by FAB. This tool helps businesses increase sales and significantly cut market costs (Zawya 2020b). “Super-Surprises” so far, have delivered an optimum return on investment by unlocking opportunities and strengths of customer’s business models and giving greater experience to the bank’s clients.
- Invoicing Solutions. FAB in partnership with Etisalat Digital offers invoicing solutions for SME businesses in a contactless process. The system allows traders of items such as grocery stores and restaurants to receive and accept card payments in a safe and secure manner (FAB 2020b). Invoicing digital mechanism enables SME operators to safely and securely share automated invoices with their clients through SMS, email, or WhatsApp to get payments before delivery is completed. Digital invoicing solution offers reassurance to SME businesses and their customers of transparency and security because it is quick, hassle-free, and fully secure online payment functions for all types of businesses.
The banking and financial markets industries face many critical challenges as executives and managers resort to driving increased monetary performance. Additionally, they are innovating ways to respond to new competition and accelerated digital adaptation (Samena 2022). Financial institutions must expedite the migration to a new business architecture focused on changed customer consumption models, applying analytical and AI tools against an expanding data pool. There is evidence that tech-savvy fintech is driving the financial markets as big, medium, and small banks are starting to reap the benefits of undergoing digital transformation in their operations (Samena 2022). Further, studies show that banks are reimagining their activities to be banks customer-centric, innovation-driven, and future-ready. The digital revolution in the banking industry like other businesses has been accelerated in the last three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic that ushered in a new normal in the lives of people globally. It is now making financial transactions simpler for all categories of individuals’ right from the roadside vendor to influential business tycoons and complex companies. It is proving to be the future of banking transactions and activities.
FAB’s digital transformation has assisted the institution with delivering new-gen retail banking products and services. The FAB with Dh1 trillion in assets has already initiated an array of digital banking services (Samena 2022). However, a gap exists in the body of literature and available reports from studies and articles on the attitudes that customers have toward digital banking systems. Further, it is not clear how digitization has influenced the customer experience. Additionally, data available has not indicated the level of efficiency, retention, loyalty, trust, and convenience automation has had on bank clients. Today’s consumers are smarter, savvier, and informed and expect a high degree of personalized banking experience (Wingard 2022). Likewise, the ever-changing customer demography of the new generation of millennials requires high-tech business models where they interact with brands through social media, online apps, and the internet. This presents banks including FAB with serious gaps in how to satisfy both older and new generations of clients at the same time.
In addition, financial consumers require services that are simple and have intuitive interfaces on any device, anywhere, everywhere, and all the time (Wingard 2022). Despite the fact that customers’ experience may be difficult to quantify, this could be realized and measured in terms of turnover rates and how loyal, and trust they have for the services offered by banks including FAB. For example, Accenture Financial Services’ global study of nearly 33,000 banking customers spanning 18 markets, revealed that 49% of participants felt that excellent services drive loyalty (Wingard 2022). Further, the study showed that virtual assistance is key in improving interactions thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. FAB, like all other banks, must invest in mobile apps that are fast, easy to use, fully-featured, secure, and regularly updated in order to keep customers satisfied.
This research paper was formulated and executed using qualitative design. This plan involved collecting and analyzing data to understand the concepts, opinions, and experiences, gather in-depth insights, and generate new ideas (Busetto, Wick & Gumbinger 2020). A case study was therefore selected as the best layout to generate data for analysis, gather information, and draw conclusions on the impact of the digital transformation of FAB’s services. This strategy enables the researchers to carry out an in-depth exploration of a phenomenon within a specified context (Rashid et al. 2019). A case study analyzes issues within the boundaries of a particular environment, situation, or organization.
It allows for the integration of both qualitative and quantitative aspects of generating data. Further, the techniques capture complexities of real-life occurrences giving room for a detailed analysis of the incident or the experience. The design brings out the understanding of a complex idea through in-depth contextual analysis of the parameters of the study. Its flexibility gives space for applying a variety of methodologies and necessitates the use of many sources to investigate a research problem (Rashid et al. 2019). However, a small number of cases could offer little ground to reliably generalize the findings to a wider population. Additionally, this design does not allow the researcher to examine the cause and relationships of the study variables and may not represent the larger problem under investigation.
This study used secondary data to come up with the findings and conclusion on the research topic. Second-hand facts are information that is already available, that was previously collected by primary sources, analyzed, and has been documented and anyone can access them (Harappa 2022). In other words, secondary data is generated by a researcher as a third party from books, journals, articles, internet sites, and reports. What is required is just gathering a variety of information from different authorities with themes similar to the study topic or research question, then collating and summarizing them into insightful results. In this case, the researcher does not require participants to answer specific questions (Harappa 2022). However, they only need a list of topics from various authors to extract the right data for their analysis, categorization into themes, triangulation, and make conclusions as appropriately as possible. Further, the strategy involved collecting information from both qualitative and quantitative sources.
Data Collection Procedure
The data was collected using a document study or analysis method. This is a systematic procedure to analyze documentary evidence and answer specific research questions. It is used to investigate, categorize and analyze physical sources, most commonly written documents, in the social, public, private, or digital world. This technique allows the researcher to gather information on the subject to which they have limited physical access (Morgan 2022). Further, it needs a repeated review, examination, and interpretation of the data in order to gain meaning and empirical knowledge of the construct being studied. In addition, a document study creates room for the researcher to either conduct a stand-alone investigation or carry out a mixed methods research (Morgan 2022). Thus, allowing triangulation of results and findings generated from a variety of data sources such as interviews, focus group discussions, observations, and surveys. Consequently, documents are corroborated, refuted, elucidated, and expanded and thereby helping the researcher to guard against biases.
In this paper, the researcher relied on FAB’s documents that are available online. Secondly, the official records of the activities of the FAB such as handbooks, reports, strategic plans, digital policy documents, and e-service documents (Indeed Editorial Team 2021). The information contained in these materials was key in putting the research context into its perspective. Further, they assisted in proposing the situations that needed additional observation and gave extra insights that were valuable to the study topic. In addition, the sources made it easy to track and validate the evidence found in other research elsewhere.
The process involved listing and deciding on the types of documents that were used as explained in the immediate last paragraph. All the sources were extracted either from the FAB bank website, online newspapers, or magazine reports. Secondly, the data was organized into units of meaning (such as words, phrases, or images) and a set of categories (characteristics of the content) (Indeed Editorial Team 2021). This was followed by coding which establishes the themes emerging from each set of information. Thirdly, the researcher created the authenticity of the sources by looking into their credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability (Indeed Editorial Team 2021). Fourthly, checking was done to confirm the biases that could exist in the data in terms of opinions, perceptions, and wordings.
The researcher then asked questions to assist in examining the background of the materials and how best they could be used to answer the study topic. For example, the following quiz was used in the analysis framework, who created the document, the material about what, the time when it was written, the origin of the document, and its importance. Finally, the records were evaluated to identify the patterns in the data, and key information was extracted (Indeed Editorial Team 2021). For each source used, a determination on how it responded to the research topic was made. Thereafter, the results were interpreted as findings for reporting, making conclusions, and recommendations for the study.
There was a particular focus on the comprehensive analysis steps due to the fact that multiple sources were used to extract the evidence that tried to respond to the topic. This process was guided by comprehension, synthesis, theorizing, and decontextualizing of the facts as they were presented in various materials (Morgan 2022). Thus, each stage of the analysis was examined by looking at the examples that were revealed in every material used.
This study and the final paper purely relied on qualitative case study design and data was generated using document analysis techniques. Therefore, it had limitations in the sense that the researcher could not verify the primary data which formed the basis of the findings in the documents used. Secondly, this method does not allow for examination of the causal relationships of the variables at hand and so it is difficult to formulate a hypothesis of the study (Christiansen 2021). Additionally, qualitative research is not statistically representative, thus, its outcome cannot be generalized outside the organization, place, or environment in which it was conducted.
FAB has embraced digital transformation as a means of driving its end-to-end services, to be the leader in innovative financial services that give efficient experiences to customers in the region. The Bank has sophisticated automation and world-class digital, self-service, and front-end that provides a faster, simpler, and seamless adventure that assists it to gain and retain both its individual and corporate clients. This new operation space has mobile Apps and so far over 90% of FAB’s clients have migrated to digital channels (IGTB 2022). Further, it has FAB eSign, FAB ePay, Automated Account Opening, and UAE Pass that have scaled up the number of products offered to consumers.
In line with its resolutions and portfolio of putting customers first and making them evolve, FAB is still investing in people and technology to create the most customer-friendly banking experience. The financial institution is currently supporting the growth desires and needs of its business partners across the countries in which it operates. Through its slogan “Grow Stronger”, FAB started a powerful movement, which goes beyond banking, to support the clients’ ambitions, and give them ideas, tools, and knowledge they need today and in the future (Business Essay 2022). This development is anchored on giving consumers an excellent experience with digital products and services. Additionally, FAB has so far tried to improve consumer experience by solving challenges that impede seamless operations in the target market. For example, they introduced mobile and online banking that allows clients to skip long queues at the banking hall (Business Essay 2022). However, there are still more opportunities untapped that could enhance its performance even better, leading to a more loyal client base.
The bank has expanded its payments business by focusing on direct acquisition, issuer processing, and acquiring processing. This initiative has connected FAB expertise, network, and digital platforms financial technologies within the region and assisted clients to excel in digital banking (Harrison 2020). The subsidiary is currently helping traders, and institutional customers by providing personalized payment solutions and value-added products which give them an excellent experience as well as reduce costs. Additionally, the business payment system has unlocked growth opportunities for new customers. Thus, helping FAB to accelerate its digital transformation, thereby increasing the bank’s competitive status in the payments space and delivering long-term value to consumers (Harrison 2020). Currently, this digital application has enhanced FAB’s technological transformative power and delivered secure, convenient, and relevant financial products to clients. There is evidence that suggests that FAB is today appreciated as the fastest-growing payment service provider in the UAE and a significant enabler of the region’s technology-driven economy.
Customers around the world are shifting to electronic payments in all forms of transactions. Having realized this, FAB has partnered with VISA and created an innovative mobile solution for its consumers called “Tap to phone” (Harrison 2020). It enables clients to accept countless payments via their Smartphones and so far solidifies its position as the leading digital or cashless payments provider in UAE. This has enhanced customers’ experiences through the point of sales e-commerce channels. Recent Visa’s back-to-business survey indicated that over 70% of participants do not shop at stores that have only payment methods that need physical contact with cashiers or card readers (Harrison 2020). “Tap to Phone” enables FAB’s clients to accept payments in an easy, cost-effective way, and eliminates the physical shopping experience for them.
On the other hand, FAB has some weaknesses in the sense that it seems more business-oriented. This, therefore, means that its bottom line always comes first and at times, and this mode of operation has affected the quality of service/products offered to the customers. Debatably, chances are that it affects the loyalty and trust of the consumers, although the bank has tried to improve on this in the last three years (Business Essay 2022). Further, FAB is highly regulated by the UAE federal government, thus, the constant interventions and interferences from the state have to some extent led to poor customer service (Business Essay 2022). Secondly, government hands limit the impact that the bank could have on its target market.
To stay true to its strategy of being the leader in offering automated financial services has invested and will continue to put more money into enterprise applications and software. It so far has a deeper relationship with IT giants such as Oracle, Temenos, and SAP that provide its financial technology solutions. Currently, FAB is using Oracle Taleo Cloud Service for new applicants, Temenos T24 for core banking services, and Oracle Cloud HCM for core human resources and IT decision-making (Apps Research & Buyer Insight n.d.). The drive behind this heavy software investment is to help the bank remain competitive, eliminate threats and improve its overall business efficiency for the benefit of customers.
Assessment of Results
Bank digital transformation is easier said than done as many financial institutions are currently struggling to meet their automation goals. However, FAB through its internal agility has successfully shifted to digital platforms by changing the existing service framework and building an internal digital culture (IGTB 2022). This has accelerated the delivery of its products greatly and given customers valuable services. As its first full year benefited from the new digital transformation, FAB registered growth in many different areas. Further, by 2019, the bank had a 50% increase in mobile applications and engagements compared to 2018 (IGTB 2022). In addition, it recorded four times the improvement in digital transactions for products available on its mobile and browser mechanisms. This has enabled the bank to help its clients with functionality and features that give them financial relief more so during the Covid-19 pandemic dilemma.
Consumers of FAB’s services now have the capacity to bank accounts in seconds through mobile banking Apps and on board a steady stream of new Payit mobile wallet customers. The bank’s online uptake numbers have increased from 2020 with mobile services going up to 70% compared to 2019 (IGTB 2022). Further, there has been a steady rise in the number of clients who have adopted electronic channels in the Global Transaction Banking platform and currently 90% of FAB’s customers use different digital channels.
FAB initiated Blockchain technology which has enhanced security, and transparency and made transaction processing faster for consumers (IGTB 2022). BT has eliminated the challenges such as double financing and invoice fraud for clients. The bank has a variety of online services that have reduced the need for its clients to have in-person visits to its physical branches. It has successfully migrated nearly all its customers from in-branch and face-to-face transactions to digital platforms, and this was accelerated during the lockdown and social distancing periods that were occasioned by the pandemic (IGTB 2022). Essentially, the bank in collaboration with IBM has in place a digital hybrid cloud environment that is delivering a seamless online experience to its customers.
Security and Reliability of FAB’s Online Services
First Abu Dhabi Bank in partnership with SAN FRANCISCO (BUSINESS WIRE) – Kong Inc., has developed a service connectivity platform that modernized its microservices banking systems. The portal is secure, reliable, and has a scalable infrastructure (Business wire 2021). The architecture has an API-first model and is created on a unified program that provides customers with innovative and safe new services through the usage of “Kong’s OAuth 2.0 and Mutual Transport Layer Security (mTLS)” features (Business wire 2021). The bank uses “Developer Portal” to efficiently create a public-facing system that gives clients access to its APIs and this has accelerated its business agility and pushed consumers’ experience excellently higher. The effectiveness of these microservices is evident from the fact that FAB was able to create one of its commercial mobile banking Apps for customers in three months instead of seven. Efficiency, Trust and Loyalty towards FAB’S Services
The tech transformation is taking shape in the UAE with over 90% of the country’s population currently using digital banking solutions. Millions of people are using smartphones and mobile banking Apps to open new accounts and make their transactions in minutes, shop via e-commerce channels, and make or receive payments. Tech-savvy clients are keeping banks on their toes by demanding more from banking Apps and looking for other benefits. FAB’s online services are transparent and take the shortest time to complete (Fintech Middle East 2022). There is instant access to accounts by customers using their handheld phones and they can view all their transactions, account balances, and statements in real-time effectively.
Consumers are quickly updated on all activities in their accounts through fast and prompt message alerts, and this makes them on top of all actions occurring within their bank accounts. Further, a survey by McKinsey & Company showed that 65% of consumers in the UAE prefer opening online accounts with a loyalty program attached (Fintech Middle East 2022). FAB has so far stepped it up to meet the expectations of its clients. For example, it has a Platinum MasterCard debit card that assists customers to get complimentary airport lounge access in all Middle East countries without doing prior bookings. Many people are enrolling with FAB because of the convenience of this service. Additionally, there is the insurance of up to AED 1,000 for one year for online shoppers through banking Apps against the unexpected in case the commodities are not delivered on time or completely. This surety gives customers peace of mind and security which makes them trust the bank.
The digital transformation of services by FAB has accelerated its expansion and recruitment of new customers across the Middle East. Further, adopting the new technologies has effectively enabled the bank to build a strong, secure, transparent, fast, efficient, and reliable banking system with risk management for its customers (High 2020). Digitization has in addition improved the service delivery to clients and boosted their experience better than it used to be with the traditional physical branches where they needed face-to-face contact with the bank’s staff. Coupled with the fact that computer technology is revalorizing all aspects of humans’ lives, FAB is now in a territory where its expansion and growth will depend on tapping the ever-growing tech-savvy clients. Therefore, FAB will have to continuously invest in innovation, retraining its employees, and upgrading its tech applications in order to keep up to date with new trends in financial technology (High 2020). FAB must constantly strive to digitize its client’s experiences, and services offered to them, and keep adopting new technologies so as to retain its already existing customer base as well as acquire new ones.
Further, FAB will be forced to consolidate its market share by adopting connected banking that places consumers at the heart of its development by using data-efficient to improve its business growth. The rapid evolution of customers’ expectations and preferences courtesy of technology will be a big challenge to FAB as any other bank. Thus, FAB must as a matter of urgency interlink its products so that customers are able to fulfill nearly all their financial needs through a single integrated experience. Synchronization of services is likely to be the future of digital banking that customers desire. Digitization comes with another problem of cybercrimes, FAB must, therefore, invest in cybersecurity to protect the integrity of its clients, their data, and money (High 2020). It should constantly focus on security and risk management by incorporating information security risk management into its general management framework.
Future Research Areas
The number of individuals and corporate clients who are embracing digital banking is rising steadily. Globally, digital users are expected to continue increasing exponentially. However, there is no clear literature available currently on what the banking industry could be like in the future, should online banking and financial services replace the traditional physical bank branches. This calls for research on the state of banking should automated financial systems replace the conventional banks where customers meet with bank employees face-to-face. Secondly, FAB and other banks within UAE and like other international financial institutions are heavily regulated by governments and this causes disruptions in online service delivery. Thus there should be a study on the best legislation and laws that are suitable and that can help banks navigate the regulatory landscape so as to effectively grow their online services portfolio.
Conclusion and Recommendations
FAB has embraced digitization as end-to-end services, to gain a competitive advantage over competitors and lead innovative financial services that give efficient experiences to customers. The financial institution has complex and world-class automated services that are self-driven and offer a faster, simpler, and seamless adventure that make it gain and retain both its individual and corporate clients. It is further supporting the growth aspirations of its business partners that go beyond banking, across the countries in which it operates by giving them ideas, tools, and information they require to run successful businesses. In addition, FAB has a payments business focusing on acquisition and issuer processing that connects it to experts, networks, and other digital platforms and assists its clients to excel in digital banking. Payments subsidiary is helping institutional customers with personalized solutions that give them an excellent experience, reduce cost as well as unlock growth opportunities for new consumers. Tap-to-phone mobile innovation currently enables FAB clients to accept countless payments through their smartphones via point-of-sale e-commerce; it is easy, cost-effective, and eliminates the physical shopping experience for users.
Further, the bank has developed a service connectivity platform that modernized its microservices banking systems. This portal is secure, reliable, and has a scalable infrastructure that gives customers transparent online services in the shortest time. Users can instantly access their accounts using handheld phones and they can view all their transactions, account balances, and statements in real-time effectively. Additionally, the website can update all clients’ activities in their accounts faster and give prompt message alerts, making them on top of all actions occurring within their bank accounts.
Automation has accelerated FAB’s expansion and recruitment of new customers across the Middle East. Digitization has boosted consumers’ experience better than it used to be with the traditional physical branches where they needed to have face-to-face contact with the bank’s staff. To continue tapping into the ever-growing tech-savvy clients, FAB must continuously invest in innovation that aims to assist in retaining its customers as well as acquiring new ones. Likewise, the institution must constantly upgrade its applications to keep up with the new and emerging trends in the market. In addition, the bank should consolidate its share of the space by connecting and interlinking its products such that consumers are able to fulfill all their financial needs through a single integrated experience. Lastly, FAB should enhance its investment in cybersecurity to protect the integrity of its clients, their data, and money.
The rise of a new breed of customers who are tech-savvy and only use mobile, PCs, and tablets to transact their banking activities call for continuous innovation that aims to improve their experience. Further, most consumers of financial products would not like to be loaded with too many write-ups on the websites, explaining concepts and procedures about services offered. FAB must strive to recapture the attention of its prospective clients in a short span of time to enhance their satisfaction rates. This it should do by redesigning its online platforms to feature short videos, graphics, simple scripts, and some good background music that draw their attention and simplify complex concepts. Secondly, FAB must make its digital portal the main touch point for users. This will enable them to get all the information they need online as well as procedures on how to solve their banking problems without the assistance of bank representatives. The website should have a mobile version that is fast, precise, simple, and user-friendly. Additionally, the bank must invest in high-quality technology that provides 24/7 self-help options on the website. Ultimately, a greater user encounter will likely pay off by enhancing customer satisfaction and boosting their loyalty to FAB.
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