Shukri Mustafa is a Board Member and a Chief Operation Officer in Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo. Mustafa has considerable experience in the industry, as well as at Raiffeisen Bank, where he is responsible for driving the organisation’s digital transformation. While naturally being well versed in technology, much of his success to date as a leader stems from an acute understanding of how to blend people and teams with that technology to achieve a truly transformational result for the customer.
Coming from a financial, insurance and banking background, Mustafa’s previous experience as an entrepreneur, non-profit manager and relationship manager illustrated to him early on how important linking the customer experience with technology is. When he became a member of RBK’s board in 2007, the Bank implemented a three-point-plan to drive the changes it considered to be necessary: updating out-dated systems, creating an infrastructural shift and introducing new business applications. “The legacy of our systems made us consider ‘if we want to be at the cutting-edge and ready ourselves for the digital changes that the market will require, RBK will need to change’,” he says. “So, that’s where we started.”
Of course, those systems have played an important role in bringing RBK to the forefront of innovation. Mustafa expands on “chatbots to assist customer service and gain a better understanding of what people think about our products,” for example. He also has focused on the wider upgrading of the bank’s core banking system, which he says “will help our front line staff know our customers better by having the analytical CRM (customer relationship management software) in front of them.”
However, like many leaders, Mustafa understands that no technology can be implemented without the right people and culture within the business. He, and the bank, have become a champion of innovative fintech startups and emerging talent within the sector, for example.
RBK is also a platinum sponsor of the University for Business and Technology, Mustafa explains, which sees the company investing in the people who will help to shape the bank going forward. “RBK wants to open doors and encourage new students to work for us. We achieve that by introducing fresh ideas and ways of working that young people would like to see.” The bank is also organising ‘hackathons’ at the university, wherein students can experiment and explore the potential of data analytics. The bank’s spirited attitude also led to it recently employing QR coupons in stores, utilising augmented reality through a downloadable app, in order to make banking a more enjoyable, interactive and fun experience.
When asked how he would characterise his methodology for implementing digital transformation, Mustafa says that it’s based on offering superior customer service and making the banking procedure as easy as possible. Whether it is through the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning software to make data easier to navigate or enhanced security features to put customers at ease, RBK is constantly exploring people-centric ways of modernising its products. “We have introduced fingerprinting, face recognition and biometrics,” he explains. That’s on the side our clients see, but, behind the scenes, we also invest a lot in security - especially on data encryption. Account fraud, transaction monitoring, data leakage prevention, incident handling, threat intelligence - these are things that clients aren’t directly aware of, yet they’re vital to making clients feel safe when they use our digital channels.”