A shared services organization breaking new ground – The Tanfeeth story

Tanfeeth is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of EmiratesNBD Group managing their service and back-office operations.

Tanfeeth is at the precipice of a new phase. A phase which could only have started on the basis of some foundational work and nurturing of capabilities that were called out as a need, some time back.

The organization has evolved in a fashion that can rather be simply explained in three stages of progress:

The first phase was that of building an organization with rigor, transparency, efficiency and continuous improvement as its central theme. There was also a need for carving a distinct identity, one which created basis of how we eventually recruited, trained, evaluated and rewarded our people. Some of these practices survived the test of time, while some gave way to differential thought process as we evolved.

The second phase was about adding value to the larger organization. We brought in elements like end-to-end process, superlative customer experience, enhanced risk mitigation and value-added services as areas of focus. This phase saw the emergence of an organization that was thinking beyond the realms of Tanfeeth controlled processes.

We are on the anvil of the next phase now – of taking ownership in creating and delivering digital focused, straight-through customer journeys that require minimal or no human intervention. This requires us to think like we have never done before – we have to think a customer’s viewpoint.

We have some precedence of doing that already. Every time we pick up a process to re-engineer, we are thinking about making it easier for the customer while ensuring that bank is not subjected to additional risks. We also do that every time we solve for regular patterns on errors and failures, by understanding the root cause and solving for that even if its outside our immediate purview.

We need to tap into this trait and expand our scope in driving change for the group.

For Tanfeeth, its priorities have never been clearer. Thanks to the evolving dynamics in the marketplace, changing behaviors of our customers and a sense of urgency in getting to a better place, most of these priorities have found its way into the group priorities and Tanfeeth has a big part to play in that.

As a Tanfeether involved in this transformative journey, you may also have seen stages of evolution as an individual performer:

The expectation from a seasoned Tanfeeth staff has undergone this change over the years and there is need for each one of us to understand how we can measure up to this new yardstick. If you are looking for more clarity on how to achieve this and contribute further, it may first require you to contextualize your contribution towards the larger organization endeavor.

Making a process better by way of eliminating the wasteful parts, automating the mundane parts and safeguarding the risk elements is what we do for a living. The difficult part is to imagine the process without a role for operations. But that is where the future is. Providing our customers with options for self-service can free up a big part of what we undertake as activities and make it easier for us to process the exceptions, the complex and the discretionary part of the customer journey.

I know the apprehension around this phase of change. But given our objectives as a business, it is incumbent upon us to prepare and lead the organization towards the change that will strengthen its relevance in the marketplace. Our best plan would be to embrace it. Participate in the change to smoothen and digitize our processes. It will bring in a change in your understanding of your role, add to your skillset and eventually will help you benefit just as much from this as the organization.

Change is a team effort.

We all need to feel the need to change, evolve and accomplish something worthwhile as a team. I would urge all of you to take a self-evaluation the old-fashioned way. Ask yourself where you are in the three stages on your individual journey in Tanfeeth and then ask yourself how you are contributing on the three stages of the Tanfeeth journey. If you do not find yourself on stage three in both the places, you have a task on hand. Speak to your manager and ask how to get there, understand what is the gap you need to bridge, seek help in areas which you struggle on and eventually plan for the upgrade that can place you in the right slot.

I can hear you saying – easier said than done! I don’t disagree, but all of us have to start somewhere and now the time to do that.

Finally, on a more personal note - I have spent so much time (10 years!) with the organization that there is a part of me that is intrinsically linked to its past and a big part of me that desires a future for it that it deserves.

Lets get there.

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