KSA top digital banking market in MENA

Ahmed Al-Faifi, senior vice president and managing director, SAP Middle East North, second from right, receives the Banker Middle East Award for ‘Best Technology Provider — Middle East.’
Updated 10 July 2018
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KSA top digital banking market in MENA

As Saudi banks digitally transform, the Kingdom ranks as the top digital banking market in the Middle East and North Africa, with more than three quarters of banking customers using online or mobile apps, industry experts announced Monday.
In a recent survey of regional banking customers by research firm ArabNet, 76 percent of Saudi banking customers use digital platforms, and 60 percent use online and mobile apps, both ranking highest in the region. Top Saudi digital banking offerings are loyalty programs (53 percent), mobile discount coupons (51 percent), and virtual prepaid debit cards (50 percent), according to McKinsey.
“The Kingdom is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries, and banks are leading their transformation with real-time digital solutions to meet their customers’ banking needs,” said Khaled Alsaleh, managing director, SAP Saudi Arabia. “Saudi banks are driving new and innovative banking models in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals for economic growth and diversification.”
Across the Middle East and North Africa, banking and security firms are driving their digital transformation, with $12 billion being invested in technology, according to research firm Gartner.
Among the Kingdom’s biggest digital banking growth drivers are moving to the cloud, which SAP supports with the recent launch of its local public cloud data center in the Kingdom. “We are co-innovating with Saudi banks on breakthrough cloud-based technology innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things to optimize costs, foster innovation, and transform the digital and in-person customer experiences,” added Alsaleh.
SAP Saudi Arabia was recently recognized as “Best Technology Provider — Middle East” at the Banker Middle East Awards. In the Kingdom, SAP is also working closely on enabling the digital transformation of leading banking and financial institutions, including the Islamic Development Bank and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority.
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device — SAP aims to empower people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition.
SAP applications and services enable more than 388,000 business and public-sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably, the company said in a statement.


Ascott spearheads Saudi recruitment drive

Updated 18 June 2019
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Ascott spearheads Saudi recruitment drive

The Ascott Limited is developing its training program across the group’s properties in Jeddah, whereby high-achieving Saudi nationals are trained in the array of skills needed to succeed in top managerial positions within the Kingdom’s burgeoning hospitality sector. 

To be eligible to join Ascott’s Saudi Graduate Program, Saudi graduates must have at least a bachelor’s degree with honors and be willing to learn and develop their career within an international group. The program comprises theory and practical training across all departments and is followed by overseas training in one of Ascott’s properties.

“We’re in the midst of an exciting period of growth in Saudi Arabia,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India. “The Kingdom’s tourism industry is growing at an exponential rate and is creating many new jobs within the hospitality sector. We launched Ascott’s Saudi Graduate Program in line with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to promote, nurture and develop this valuable homegrown pool of young talent and offer successful individuals a dynamic career path within the Ascott group.

“In just a short amount of time the program has made a significant impact. Our turnover ratio of Saudi colleagues has fallen from 58 percent in 2016 to less than 15 percent to date in 2019; staff loyalty has been positively affected and guest satisfaction levels have increased. What’s more, Ascott Sari Jeddah was recently named as Saudi Arabia’s Leading Serviced Apartments 2019 for the second consecutive year in the annual World Travel Awards.

“We are also proud to announce that one of our current trainees who will shortly take on the running of a property, is female. A key element of Saudi Vision 2030 is job diversification and women’s access to the employment market, and at Ascott we are committed to playing an active role in making this a reality,” added Miccolis.

From on-the-job training in housekeeping, handling reservations, checking-in and checking-out procedures and managing VIP guests, Ascott’s graduates must master the day-to-day facets of how to run an international-standard serviced residence, in addition to behind-the-scenes essentials such as HR, sales and marketing, finance and procurement. 

While the Saudi Graduate Program is currently available only within Ascott’s Jeddah cluster of properties, plans are in the pipeline to roll out the scheme to all of the group’s residences in the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Alkhobar and Abha.

Ascott’s Jeddah properties include Ascott Tahlia Jeddah, Ascott Sari Jeddah, Citadines Al-Salamah Jeddah and Spectrums Residence Jeddah.

The Ascott Limited is a Singapore company that has grown to be one of the leading international lodging owner-operators. It has more than 58,000 operating units in key cities of the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as over 42,000 units, which are under development, making a total of more than 100,000 units in over 660 properties.