Interview with Abdulrahman Al-Dayel, Chairman of the Board of First Access
How is the consulting industry performing both in Saudi Arabia and in the region? Have there been any challenges or changes since COVID?
The consulting sector has become more in demand. First access is quite unique because of the services we offer like ODNA, which stands for Organizational DNA, and focuses on organizational excellence. Organizational DNA has ten framework dimensions. The first dimension is executive coaching, leadership coaching and business coaching. The second dimension is called strategic orientations and includes change management as well as corporate communication. Currently, there are huge organizations that spend millions on the strategic aspect, even if it has not aligned with change management and corporate communication. Therefore, First Access comes with a single solution. The third part is governance which includes IT governance including policy, procedures and other functions. Based on Vision 2030, our goal is to move family businesses to IPOs or listed companies. These dimensions help to better prepare the organization regarding policies and procedures, metrics, statistics, etc. The next dimension is the P&L, or profit and loss where we have to measure the costs of the organization, especially in the private sector. This shows the market shares of the company itself. It also helps us increase their productivity and engagement with their customers. The sixth dimension is OPM, or organizational performance measurement. Usually, most organizations around the world try to measure the data themselves. ODNA helps measure the organization as a whole. The CEO can have access to various dashboards, including a KPI dashboard that includes all job functions including HR, marketing, supply chain, and all organizational functions. The seventh dimension is HR. We measure the level of HR maturity to ensure that the company has a clear vision of human resources and a strategic vision of the mission. There is a clear job analysis and scope of services that should be measured for all HR functions. We spend a lot of time filling gaps based on human capital. ODNA is a journey for us, long-term organizational development, where we spend a lot of energy to hold organizations accountable, from the CEO to others, and to make sure we get clear strategic directions. The following function is very important. This is called business continuity as sustainability. Without business continuity as sustainability, the business is going to be in jeopardy. The remaining function is inflation management. When one of the other nine functions has a challenge, inflation management can help bridge that gap and can create development potential. At First Access, we try to empower our customers to be more certified and more engaged in all business processes.
What services does First Access offer?
At First Access, we broke even within a month of starting the business. Now the business is huge. We have 26 active projects and clients.
We offer a solution called maturity level assessment. The maturity level assessment measures the baseline for our customers. Most of our clients come to us saying they just want to do the transformations. But we cannot provide the proposal, the technical proposal or the financial proposal without knowing exactly what we have on the ground. The maturity level assessment measures all ten dimensions and allows us to measure performance against each dimension. We measure all functions by doing smart polls, focus groups, meetings and observing. The best thing about the maturity level assessment is that we can share the technical proposal with the decision maker. To increase awareness, we need awareness sessions during the maturity level assessment to share knowledge, benchmark and best practices about the business. Coaching, maturity level assessment, including smart polls and focus groups, show results, for example, three out of ten. Afterwards, we come back to the decision-maker to tell him that his organization is good, but that is no longer enough. For example, it has three out of ten because it doesn’t have a clear vision or goals, and those are the areas where we will be creating initiatives for each function. We ask the client where he sees himself in two years. If they tell us they’re looking to become an eight out of ten, we can provide them with a technical proposal.
What is your competitive advantage?
Our competitive advantage is that we consider our customer not only as a customer, but as a partner. We spend a lot of time researching for our partners. We focus on our partners to take them forward. The main point we believe in is awareness. Consulting firms usually focus on profit only. We believe profit comes no matter what we do, but increasing customer awareness is important. Transforming the project can make it easier and more efficient. The unique thing we do is coaching because coaching and following up before doing the project ensures that the project will survive. Before undertaking any project, including coaching, we have an assessment called a psychometric test. We also have communication questionnaires which have been in development since 2008. I have been coaching for over fifteen years. This is what differentiates First Access from our competitors.
In the next three to five years, what is your vision for the company?
Our next plan is that we will choose ODNA as one of the best solutions. We will focus on the Middle East over the next three years. In 2022, we need to have platforms. The platform will include more than 1000 courses around the world. This will help deliver organizational excellence as well as empower people. We will launch in November. We are also working on an agreement or partnership with a bank in Japan, three organizations in the United States, two organizations in the United Kingdom and one organization in Australia. It shows that we are growing all over the world. With Vision 2030, everything has become very clear. We have three dimensions that cover Saudi Arabia and we have 96 goals for 2030. We have set our goals as a budding local and international business in the Middle East.
What is your source of inspiration? What drives you to do what you do?
I started as an HR specialist in 1999. I went to work with my father in his companies and I learned a lot. Since then, I haven’t stopped learning until today. I have worked with over 39 organizations in government, private and corporate capacities. I created 5 companies. My mindset is to always give. Whatever I do, I try to give and whatever I give, I usually receive. Also, one of the subjects I teach is entrepreneurship and small business. I think everyone should learn, keep learning and share their knowledge with others. This is what differentiates you as an entrepreneur. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the government has spent a lot of money to support entrepreneurs. The government is trying to empower them and allow them to do a lot of things. At First Access, we broke even within a month of starting the business. Now the business is huge. We have 26 active projects and clients. We work very productively and dynamically. We are passionate about helping ourselves and our community. We are open to the world.
For more information, please visit: https://firstaccess.sa.
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