CONSISTENCY MATTERS

Saudi Arabia 2020 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Proven's extensive experience in evaluating and developing business services and its understanding of clients' goals and objectives allow it to provide solutions that deliver consistent results.

Omer Saleem
BIOGRAPHY
Omer Saleem has 10 years of executive experience in the finance sector, especially in financial management, valuations, and strategy. Before joining Proven, he worked with Credit Agricole and Goldman Sachs, and served as Assistant VP of hedge fund valuations at State Street. In 2016, he was appointed CFO of Proven SA and Proven Consult. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in finance at York University and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto.

What have been some of the major changes in the way the government interacts with the private sector?

Saudi Arabia's rapid changes have impacted companies operating in the Kingdom down to the employee level. Human resource departments have had to rapidly adapt to implement these changes. There have been updates to many regulations, including Saudization, the National Labor Gateway (Taqat), General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), and block visas, in recent years. Although there are challenges, many of these changes have had a positive impact. The introduction of e-services in the Kingdom has made government services more efficient by reducing delays as a result of manual processing. Some of the recently introduced e-services include employee contract registrations, e-approval of sick leave, and a profession amendment e-service. E-services and online portals store data that companies need, such as contracts, employee data, and wages, giving them access to more reliable, transparent, and accurate information and increasing trust between the private sector and the government. Moreover, governmental updates to improve the business environment for foreign investors in the Kingdom make it increasingly easy for companies to operate here.

How have you advanced in business process outsourcing and shared services, and how would you evaluate the uptake of digitalization in public services?

The market leaders of today understand the need for a fully integrated organization that can seamlessly connect with customers, suppliers, and multi-site company locations worldwide. Along with the private sector, governments are also looking to increase operational productivity as they look for ways to improve services and reduce overhead. Shared services are becoming an essential factor for businesses spanning multiple locations. By centralizing administrative functions, companies can see significant cost savings, greater flexibility, and the standardization of processes; however, many organizations struggle to fully embrace it as a delivery model and are not able to maximize the returns on their investments. Proven provides operational consultation, outsourcing capabilities, and cost management support in order to enhance clients' market competitiveness through quality, productivity, and improved operational facilities. We operate as trusted business consultants and provide our clients with an objective assessment of their requirements, our recommendations, and bespoke solutions to help them reach their goals.

What primary services do you provide to clients?

Proven SA provides business support solutions to clients in four main areas: corporate immigration, business process outsourcing, business process management, and process automation. We provide a full spectrum of solutions supporting both local and foreign businesses to navigate the Saudi market in the above areas. In the past 10 years, we have built an extensive knowledge base, and our team of consultants strives to stay on top of the ever-changing local regulatory environment. We enable our clients to focus on their core competencies, while Proven takes care of non-core functions.

What are your key recommendations for companies interested in setting up operations in the Kingdom?

Saudi Arabia is the single-biggest market in the GCC. There are strong and vibrant sectors opening up that offer immense potential. Any company wanting to diversify its income portfolio from the MENA region needs to conduct a serious feasibility exercise into the Saudi market. Having the right information regarding the market, processes, and regulations is critical. Solid local partners and on-the-ground research are also essential. Our advice is to ensure companies filter through the noise and really analyze their respective sectors thoroughly.

What are your primary ambitions for the coming years?

Proven SA seeks to increase local solutions geared specifically to the requirements of clients. We look to scale up our service delivery capacity in a manner that allows us to maintain high levels of quality whilst also increasing the number of companies we can support. In addition, we look to attract offshore businesses to do business in Saudi. Our aim is to continue to bridge the gap between local supply and client demand.