EY: 53 Percent of MENA Executives Have AI and Automation on Their Agenda

Press release
Published September 19th, 2018 - 07:40 GMT
RPA has the ability to build the foundation for an improved digital customer experience, but making customer interaction smarter will require more predictive analytics that leverage AI.
RPA has the ability to build the foundation for an improved digital customer experience, but making customer interaction smarter will require more predictive analytics that leverage AI.

According to EY, 53% of senior executives based in the MENA region named artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as the most prominent technologies on their boardroom agenda.  In consumer-facing sectors, automation is the leading technology focus in MENA.

The EY report ‘The power of intelligent automation: Making customer interaction smarter in the GCC’, identifies government services, retail and financial services as the three key customer facing sectors that are using intelligent automation drive efficiencies, using the resulting capacity to create new value, improve customer experience, and support product and service innovation.

Governments paves the way for the private sector

GCC Governments are mandating their departments to use intelligent automation to drive efficiency, inject innovation into the economy, and improve citizen, resident and tourist satisfaction by providing fast and efficient public services. Within the GCC, Dubai is the most advanced city in terms of the automation of public services delivery.

Firas Qoussous, MENA Government and Public Sector Leader, EY, says:

“We are seeing GCC governments linking the use of AI to major strategic objectives. This approach has the advantage of building synergies into planning from the beginning. It focuses primarily on improving the customer or citizen experience, with cost-cutting being a consequence of automation rather than the main aim of the program. However there are still relatively few live projects and collaboration with the private sector will be key to delivering results. Governments must focus on building home-grown data science talent to improve service efficiency and fuel private sector innovation.”

Making customer interactions smarter in retail

In retail, RPA has the ability to build the foundation for an improved digital customer experience, but making customer interaction smarter will require more predictive analytics that leverage AI.

Ahmed Reda, MENA Consumer Products & Retail Sector Leader, EY, says:

“The potential is huge for RPA and AI to help GCC retailers improve customer interaction through real-time, location-based customized offers, and opportunities to cross-sell in store and online. Twenty-first century buying will revolve around AI, voice, mobile, drones and self-driving delivery vehicles, while shopping will be all about experience.”

Financial services leads in intelligent automation implementation

The financial services sector is among the most advanced in the adoption of intelligent automation technologies. Banks are utilizing their up-to-date storage of data to provide end-to-end services for customers, with seamless connectivity between channels, and partnerships with other providers to enable immediate payments or loan processing.

Gordon Bennie, MENA Financial Services Sector Leader, EY, says:

“Financial services companies in the GCC are forging ahead in intelligent automation and many are building on existing experience using RPA tools to automate back-office processes, such as automated loan approval, to find new sources of customer value. They too are partnering with telecommunications, as well as the retail sector, to build detailed profiles of their customers for personalized interactions.”

The current extent and maturity of intelligent automation implementation may vary broadly between and within sectors, but the pace of change in the region has accelerated enormously this year as companies look to new technologies and collaborations that will help them address changes in customer behavior.

Risks associated with digital transformation

As companies move into rapidly emerging predictive technologies, they need to review and address information security, data privacy and ethics, the report highlights.

Both public and private sector organizations will need to develop their own data governance models and develop ethical guidelines on how customer data is used in order to manage reputational risk.

Background Information

Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, its 141,000 employees are united by its shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. Ernst & Young makes a difference by helping its people, clients and wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity.

Ernst & Young’s Dubai office has more than doubled in size over the past two years. The office now has a solid base of over 565 experienced and qualified professionals and 12 resident partners.

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Ernst & Young
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Sheikh Zayed Road,
PO Box 9267
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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+971 (0) 4 332 4004
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