Burhan, your roots are deeply buried into the GRENKE ground. You will soon hit 10 years with us. Can you tell us more about how you became our team member?
It was mid-2013; a very good friend of mine decided that he wanted to move to Dubai. Since we were both based in London at that time, he managed to persuade me to travel with him. I still remember when we left London; it was around 8 or 9 degrees, and when we landed, it was around 40 degrees plus. The moment we stepped out, I told him it is not possible to live in this weather. In the coming week or so, he would go on to finalize his offer, and I would travel back to London. In early 2014, he would again somehow manage to persuade me to come to Dubai. He had been mentioning that this time of the year, we have the best weather and that I should give it some thought about moving to Dubai. Finally, I arrived, and I started to explore the opportunities. After one month or so, I received a call on a Sunday morning. It was Sabine Sauerteig, our former CFO and co-founder of the franchise at that time. I remember entering the office in Bayswater Tower and meeting Sabine and former MD Thomas Sauerteig. After my first interview and getting to know more about the rich history of the GRENKE group and the work culture, I was sure I wanted to give it a try, and as they say, the rest is history.
Fast forward almost 10 years, you are now one of the pillars of our company and the lead of Administration. Looking back at these 10 years, do you feel that GRENKE UAE has changed a lot, or is it still the same?
It is still hard to believe that it has been almost a decade; I still feel it has been a few years since it all started. This is primarily because we still learn every day, facing new scenarios and challenges; no two days are the same, and that is the beauty of our work. From being a GRENKE franchise to having two branches in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates to becoming a GRENKE Subsidiary, I have had the privilege to be a part of this exciting journey. A lot has changed over the years; however, some things have not changed – work ethics, the culture, and our work environment are still going strong. As a group, I have witnessed a consistent shift towards incorporating new processes, standards, and workflows. The transition from being a franchise to a full-fledged subsidiary was, in itself, a big change in the right direction. There has been tremendous progress in terms of the UAE becoming a leasing-friendly territory; it will still take a while, though, to be at par with the rest of the world. There has been an ongoing focus on digitalization with the aim of offering a complete digital platform to our clients worldwide.
Digitalization is on everyone's minds nowadays. Last month, in the interview with Martin, he said AI will play a crucial role in sales. From your Admin point of view, will it impact your daily job as well?
Within GRENKE, there has been a significant ongoing focus on digitalization with the aim of offering a complete digital platform to our clients worldwide. It goes without saying; digitalization is and will transform the traditional ways of our day-to-day work processes. By integrating lease processes with digital technologies, a seamless and consistent user experience provides a customized, convenient, and more customer-centric service, which, in turn, increases loyalty, retention rates, and revenues. For customers, digitization provides a seamless and superior user experience, oftentimes customized for the customer’s unique requirement. GRENKE UAE has also been in the midst of a digital/automation progress. The Customer portal being a big leap towards digitalization makes a substantial difference to our daily operations. Lessees can have direct access to SOA’s, contract documents, and invoices. This eliminates the traditional method of manually providing these details to the customers. Another example is the introduction of online platforms such as GO partner enabling the registration of requests, conducting credit checks, and swift decision-making.
Less manual and more automatic work is what drives us now. Your wide experience in GRENKE covers sales as well, as you have started in the sales department. Do you find this experience useful in your admin job?
Indeed, this experience has been tremendously useful. This transition has allowed me to analyze and understand the different aspects of business from both ends. From being in front of the lessee to settlements to contract management, it has been quite a journey. This allows me to extend my support to sales with different contract management tasks if required.
After you finish all the reports and other admin tasks, what do you do in your spare time?