SMCS and HBL organized a panel discussion on 'The role of innovation in transforming the financial services industry'

April 27, 2023: School of Mathematics and Computer Science (SMCS), IBA Karachi, in collaboration with Habib Bank Limited (HBL), organized a panel discussion on 'The role of innovation in transforming the financial services industry'. The event was attended by students, alumni and faculty members.

Panelists included, Syed Azeemushan Afaque Ahmed, Head of Data Strategy and Cognitive, HBL; Khurram Munir, Lead Solution Design, HBL; Majid Ullah, Lead RPA Implementation, HBL; Muhammad Ahmad, Lead Data Sciences, HBL; Dr. Tariq Mahmood, Professor, SMCS, IBA; Saiyed Shahab Ahmed, Chief Digitalization Executive, PARCO and Visiting faculty, IBA. The session was moderated by Dr. Abdul Basit Sheikh, Visiting faculty, SMCS, IBA.

The session commenced with Dr. Basit introducing and inviting the panelists to the discussion.

Delving into the discourse, Mr. Shahab emphasized the transformative power of data and its role in driving business successes. He further said that adopting a data-driven mindset, establishing a supportive culture, and addressing privacy and security concerns are essential steps toward building an organization that effectively leverages data as a strategic asset. Moreover, by embracing data-driven decision-making, organizations can unlock new opportunities.

Discussing RPA, Mr. Majid Ullah said that "RPA focuses on three pillars of the organization that is propel, process and technology".

Mr. Azeemushan talked about how data driven solutions are built around a robust data strategy which becomes an essential element in providing decisions.

Mr. Ahmad added that Data analytics can help the financial services industry in predicting behavior of the customers for which data is crucial.

Mr. Khurram highlighted that implementation of the data driven solutions can only be done when the quality and infrastructure of the data is up to the mark.

Talking about the importance of industry academia linkages, Dr. Tariq said that "The linkages need to be created by offering corporate projects to be executed as a Master's Thesis which can be up to a year's duration. Furthermore, industry projects can also be executed as Master's Projects, Final Year Projects or course projects". He added that this model has been successfully implemented in IBA since past 2 years, whereby at least 10 different corporate POCs and prototypes have been successfully implemented by IBA students.

Concluding the session, Dr. Basit lauded the efforts of both HBL and IBA for organizing the session. He said that this direct interaction between the industry and academia is a positive step but needs to extend further where industry sees academia as a natural partner in helping them solve deeper problems through research activities. He added that these discourses benefit both industry and academia as the industry gets an off-site technical partner to pursue blue sky activities, whilst academia gets real problems to apply their technical expertise, elevating their academic programs. This route is a natural way through which both can develop and mutually serve the needs of the society.

The discussion ended with a Q&A session.

The session concluded with Dr. Shakeel Ahmed Khoja, Dean SMCS presenting mementos to the panelists.


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