We present the annual Financial Innovation Awards (FIA) which recognises best practice, product innovation and projects that have a positive impact on the finance sector, consumers and communities across the globe. Last year’s competition, had 17 categories covering:
- Products and services, including innovation in product or service design, payments, mobile banking and product delivery
- Marketing and customer experience, including innovation in data and its application, customer service and customer-focused innovation
- Finance in the community, including innovation in sustainability, financial inclusion and outreach
- Technology, including best fintech partnership and a new category for open banking
- Best financial start-ups
The Albaraka Turk story
We talked to Albaraka Turk who won two categories ‘Best technology initiative – business transformation’ with ‘Albaraka RPA Project’ and ‘Best technology initiative – customer-facing solutions’ with ‘Albaraka Biometric Signature Project’.
Why did you enter the Financial Innovation Awards?
We saw FIA 2018 as a great opportunity for us to showcase our projects and get external feedback. Given its well-qualified judges, we wanted to know where we stand in terms of our projects compared to our competitors.
Could you please give us an outline of your two winning projects?
Albaraka Turk – Albaraka RPA Project
Albaraka Turk has introduced an innovative application which sits between business processes and employees in order to improve customer service. Taking up no space, they can use all interfaces and do anything a human user does with a keyboard and mouse. The application can undertake mundane tasks much faster and more accurately than humans, leaving the staff to work on more motivating and complex tasks.
Albaraka Turk – Albaraka Biometric Signature Project
‘DigitAlbaraka’ is the digitalisation transformation project at Albaraka Turk. Dedicated to excellent customer service, one of its facets is the implementation of biometric signature technology which uses a complex algorithm to record a customer signature made on a tablet with a digital pen and turn it into a secure, unchangeable .pdf file containing all the biometric parameters to create a signature template. This is almost impossible to fake in any future customer transactions and meets all legal requirements for digital documents.
What would be your advice to people entering the awards this year?
The application for the awards is where you showcase your project, so you naturally want your application document to reflect your project really well. It’s an opportunity to tell your great story. Why, what and how? Projects are more meaningful if you give their context and their story. You may have a magnificent project but if you don’t reflect it fully you could miss out. Remember to reflect your project as truthfully as possible and don’t be tempted to exaggerate. The judges are very good at their job! Talk in tangible terms, e.g. use numbers!, and provide as much evidence of success as possible.
What did winning the awards mean to you?
It was great for us! We competed with so many good projects. Winning these awards gave us an external validation that we were on the right path in our innovation journey. Furthermore, we appreciated the chance to tell our story to an international audience.
Why do you think it’s important for the sector to keep innovating?
As Bill Gates said, “banking is necessary but banks are not”. Our core business is constantly threatened by start-ups, fintechs or other companies from other industries building adjacent businesses to banking (for example, telecommunications). Banks have to keep innovating to stay alive, and meet the ever-increasing expectations of their customers.