Alhamrani Universal – Seamless Digital Experience

Alhamrani Universal (AU) is the largest fintech solutions provider in the self-service banking industry in KSA. AU pioneered EMV payments and provides end-to-end security solutions in the physical and digital world.

In recent months the company has significantly increased its business in line with the move towards digital solutions and security enhancement, accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Building on its legacy since 1981, Alhamrani Universal (AU) has achieved a reputation for providing innovative, high-quality solutions and support services in the financial, retail and security industries. With one of the most experienced management teams in the industry, the company employs over 850 professionals with over 70% of these in the technical, professional and field services spread across a comprehensive service and logistics infrastructure of 45 service centres.

The company provides solutions within four categories: self-service financial solutions, cyber and physical security solutions, retail solutions, and fintech solutions, and is always looking at innovative approaches and moving forward.

Partner of choice

“AU’s business model is based on partnerships with leading regional and global players, distributing their products and services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while customising the software to comply with local requirements and standards,” explained the company CEO Mr Tariq Abdullah Abdat who, with more than 30 years of executive leadership experience in banking, payments, and financial technology, is responsible for driving the company strategy to become a leading regional provider of financial technology and security solutions, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

In the area of self-service solutions, AU is the sole distributor of Diebold Nixdorf (DN) ATMs and banking solutions, where DN offers world-leading banking solutions and retail technology systems that help banks, credit unions and retailers meet the needs of connected commerce. For ePayment solutions, AU represents Ingenico, the world leader in providing smart, trusted and secure payment solutions to empower commerce across all channels, in-store, online and mobile

Within the security sector, the company represents Bosch and Honeywell locally, as well as several other international companies and provides anti-theft systems, fire doors, insured safety deposit boxes and transportation security systems, surveillance systems, CCTV, and digital recording devices.

AU inherited its retail business when its partner company Diebold acquired Wincor Nixdorf, a European retail services giant, and launched its Retail Department to provide state-of-the-art German technology, as well as expanding its retail portfolio to cater to new segments, achieving a complete end-to-end retail solution portfolio.

The human factor

Mr Abdat affirmed that the company’s growth can to a large extent be credited to its staff. The multiple technical, professional and dedicated support teams of engineers and technicians, providing online support in all cities of the Kingdom, have contributed to AU becoming the partner of choice for the Kingdom’s payments and electronic banking industry.

“Many of our staff have been with us for a very long time, and have grown with the company. Right now, in line with increasing demand for our solutions and services, we are increasing staff numbers, seeking to attract skilled workers both locally and from abroad, and working with local universities and colleges to acquire local talents. We are adding more people as we speak – we are upgrading 2,000 ATM units, so we need about 35 extra technicians to support that,” he noted, affirming that the company takes good care of its people, supporting them with appropriate career development and training programmes.

Top-quality expertise and a loyal workforce are among the company’s competitive advantages, he affirmed, as is the company’s ability to provide flexible service. “Not only do we have our technical excellence centre but as a partner of DN, the number one player in terms of self-service banking, we run a workshop facility which is a replica of DN certified American and European workshops to support repair demand locally, not only in the Kingdom but within the whole region.”

Stronger than before

The company was quick to capitalise on the emerging opportunities brought about by the unprecedented development caused by the current pandemic. “As a result of the new situation caused by the coronavirus, we launched a branch transformation project throughout the country, moving with our customers to introducing mobile branches that would allow them to do all their financial and non-financial transactions 24/7. We have just introduced five mobile branches for one of the largest banks in the Middle East,” noted Mr Abdat.

The Covid-19 crisis has accentuated the need for enhanced financial and security solutions and demand for ePayment solutions and thermal cameras have increased. AU has the capabilities and the capacity to handle the increased market demand. Just recently, the company has certified the Ingenico Move 3500: Best-in-Class 4G enabled ePayment terminal, a portable solution which complies with the latest and future security PCI-PTS 5.x and Safety 2020 standards to reinforce confidence in all payment methods for both merchants and consumers, working with its partners to replace all of its installed bases.

“Despite the tragic consequences of Covid-19, the unprecedented situation has created new business opportunities for us, boosting people’s trust in digital solutions,” said Mr Abdat, noting that during the last five months or so AU has installed more point-of-sale terminals than ever before.

Transformed for better performance

In recent months, the company has successfully expanded its footprint further afield, completing a strategic partnership agreement with SEED Group, one of the main movers in the UAE, seeking to further raise the standards for automated and self-service solutions of banking and non-financial institutions outside the Kingdom.

Speaking about future developments, Mr Abdat acknowledged that the biggest potential is seen in the digital transformation. A good example of a recent innovative addition is Ateon, the Fintech solution brand of AU, offering blockchain technology to the Kingdom, in alignment with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for digital transformation. “Blockchain technology is being implemented in many areas of the Middle East and we have already received serious interest from government establishments.”

“It is not just the industry but also our company that is undergoing transformation, as we adapt to the new situation and look at cost optimisation. For example, our call centres have been operating from home for the past five months with excellent results, so we are adapting virtual work policies as part of the new normal. The past few months have not only been a time of business expansion but also of revising our internal operations, focusing on transforming the business to match new demands, in order to provide an even greater value for our customers,” Mr Abdat reflected in conclusion.

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