Dubai – MENA Herald: GCC banks are well-positioned to be among the world’s most innovative in driving digital strategies for business transformation and competitiveness, one of the world’s top financial experts announced today.

The GCC is one of the world’s strongest-performing emerging markets, with liquid wealth growing 17.5 percent per year from 2010 to 2014, reaching USD 2.2 trillion, according to a recent report by research firm Strategy&.

But in the growing Digital Economy, both global and GCC banks face increasing IT pressures from regulators, digital banks and mobile customers, and cybersecurity.

Demonstrating the strong demand for Big Data analytics, only 44 percent of finance professionals around the world currently have meaningful business analytics and reporting, while 79 percent said they need further analytics to succeed, according to a new survey by CFO Research and enterprise software company SAP.

Meanwhile up to 90 percent of banks’ IT costs are taken up running current legacy systems, stalling innovation – added SAP, which supports more than 14,100 banks and 140 million bank accounts in 150 countries.

“In comparison to many banks in Europe and North America, which can have complex and siloed legacy IT systems often dating back more than twenty years, GCC banks that have agile IT can be among the world’s most digitally competitive,” said Jonathan Charley, Head of Financial Services Industry Value Engineering Team – EMEA, SAP.

“With business analytics taking on increased importance in the Digital Economy, GCC banks must bring digital to the boardroom. An experienced C-suite member should lead a bank’s digital strategies, products, and services. Deep customer and business insights driven by Big Data analytics will be core for banks in the region to simplify operations, drive digital revenue growth, and support customer-centric innovations for tech-savvy Millennial customers,” added Jonathan Charley.

Among the Middle East’s innovative banking and finance organizations is Kuwait Credit Bank, which recently launched a five-minute personal loan service, in partnership with SAP.