Leading Bahrain Investment Bank Adopts CRM Solution for Islamic Banking Products

Arcapita Bank—a leading global Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain—needed to replace its existing customer relationship management (CRM) software running on Oracle Siebel CRM. The bank implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 business management software to improve the ability of its Investment Placement team to deliver high levels of service to its investors. The new system is both cost effective and agile, with all users adopting the toolset 100 per cent compared to only 30 per cent with the previous solution.

Business Needs

Established in 1997, Arcapita Bank was the first Islamic offshore investment bank in the Kingdom of Bahrain—a leading regional centre for financial services and products compliant with Islamic law. It focuses on corporate, real-estate, asset-based, and venture capital investments.

The Arcapita Investment Placement team in Bahrain needed a more effective CRM solution to manage the placement of equity transactions with more than 1,000 Gulf investors. Clients need

regular reporting and analysis on the performance of their portfolios as well as regular visits from the team.

The bank initially deployed Oracle Siebel CRM, but faced several challenges—namely, high operating and support costs, and lack of flexibility. Abdulhameed Juma, Director, Arcapita Bank, says: “The cost of the project was high and adding features required additional funds. The difficulty was more the way the software had been implemented than the technology itself. Upgrading it would have cost as much as a completely new project.”

Arcapita also found it difficult to get local external consultants to understand the Siebel CRM environment and its system code, especially when the project needed a big team to run. Hussain Al-Saffar, Technology Specialist, Arcapita Bank, says: “The solution for record duplication detection was expensive and lacked flexibility. We experienced problems of synchronisation with Microsoft Office Outlook and difficulties with working offline.”

At the same time, the bank also wanted to implement a dashboard for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to monitor key performance indicators and give team members new tools. These include features to capture leads for product placement, as well as introducing really simple syndication (RSS) feeds for the team and improving its shared knowledge base.


Faced with the need for a more flexible CRM toolset, Arcapita wanted to customise out-of-the-box technology to reduce the need to spend money building customised solutions. Because customisation had previously been a challenge, the existing solution had not been fully used by members of the Arcapita Investment Placement team. Juma adds: “Around 30 per cent of it was used as a data warehouse and not as software to manage our business.”

Juma says: “Microsoft was a candidate for the replacement CRM project because we were already users of Microsoft products and services, including Microsoft Services Premier Support. We were also considering deploying Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to encourage better collaboration among team members. We could see the potential for close integration between the CRM and collaboration technologies.”

Arcapita decided to replace Oracle Siebel CRM with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, which was not on the market when the original choice was made. The change involved up to 40 users in the Investment Placement team, taking less than seven months, and went live in the first quarter of 2010. Juma says: “The project was delivered despite challenging budget constraints, and the benefits of the new system give us the flexibility we require.”

Having also migrated from Lotus Notes communications technology to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Arcapita found the integration between the Microsoft products an excellent fit. The toolset was much better for mailing documentation and reporting on performance to clients. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 includes a number of ready-to-use business reports and gives users the tools to create customised reports.


The strong, long-term relationship that Arcapita has developed with its investors in the Gulf states is one of the company’s key competitive advantages. Its new CRM system has helped to offer a better and more proactive service to investors, as well as bringing additional savings across both technology and support. Juma says: “Our previous CRM system was expensive and complicated to manage. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a better fit for our business. We believe it was the right choice—the best choice for Arcapita Bank.”

Team adopt CRM toolset 100 per cent. Unlike the previous CRM toolset, the Investment Placement team is making full use of the Microsoft Dynamics technology. It is benefiting from unique features for capturing leads for new clients and automated RSS feeds.

Employees enjoy user-friendly interfaces. The previous problems with Office Outlook synchronisation, client synchronisation, and working offline have been resolved, with employees enjoying the familiar look and feel of Microsoft interfaces.

Customisation takes place in-house without need for consultants. Due to the features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, the Arcapita in-house IT team finds customisation quick and easy, with no need to pay for consultants with specialist IT skills. Al-Saffar says: “Previously, our CRM software was extremely rigid and slow to adapt. But now, record duplication detection, for example, is an automated process.”

CEO gets overview of investment performance. The Microsoft solution has helped ensure that the CEO has a dashboard providing near real time monitoring of performance.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Medium Organization
Industry: Banking
Country or Region: Bahrain
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Organization Profile:

Arcapita Bank is a global Islamic wholesale investment bank—headquartered in Bahrain—which focuses on offering Sharia-compliant investment products to investors.

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