Rawan Shawar: Driving the Future of Digital Payments.

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It can be safely stated that technological evolution surpassed human evolution a long time ago. The past few years have witnessed profound technology-driven growth in all the industries and sectors of the world. While the first industrial revolution began at the end of the 18th century, current digital systems such as computers, smartphones, tablets and laptops have evolved quickly with time, becoming a vital part of modern society.

With the simplest of processes now getting digitalized, the past few years have witnessed the rise of the digital wallet, a potentially game-changing technology application in the financial industry. Digital wallets allow consumers to pay for all their purchases digitally, resulting in a massive disruption in the banking and technology industries. While there are scores of companies out there today offering digital payment solutions to establishments, one company has stayed a cut above the rest due to its time-tested, scalable and secure payments software for processing payments in real time and in a secure environment.

Founded in 1975, and with offices in more than 30 countries, ACI Worldwide is what organizations world-over consider to be the number one provider of real-time digital payment solutions. Rawan Shawar, senior software engineer and team lead at ACI, stated that she and her company are on a mission to accelerate the digital transformation across the globe by creating highly configurable, innovative and secure payment solutions for institutions and consumers.

LEADING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

ACI planted its roots much before the digital payments revolution happened. Owing to its years of technological innovation experience, and keen sense of value-driven customer service, ACI was already poised as the leader in digital payment solutions. Its technology is aimed at delivering mission-critical, real-time payment software solutions that enable corporations to process and manage digital payments, power omni-commerce payments, present and process bill payments, as well as manage fraud and minimize risk.

Rawan Shawar

“We help banks, merchants and billers capture rising real-time opportunities and volumes, all to meet the shifting needs of their consumers and business customers.”

ACI Worldwide believes businesses have an increasingly important mandate to operate responsibly. We recognize the essential role digital payment systems play in our modern economy and how they can open life’s possibilities to everyone, including people historically disadvantaged by location, education, disability, race, gender, ethnicity, wealth or circumstance, explains Rawan. 

At the helm, the company is driven by its loyal leadership teams who maintain complete transparency in their processes with their clients and their peers. Boasting more than 4,000 employees across the world and annual revenue of close to $1.3 billion, ACI has been responsible for not just providing the safest customized digital payment gateways to the biggest organizations in the world, but has also contributed to uplifting the social standards of the many communities of the world it is invested in.  

With constant disruption in technology and socio-economic factors, ACI has become an example of how to operate within socially, economically and financially sustainable boundaries. Rawan shares that some of their key corporate social responsibility efforts include a dedicated collective focus of the organization to reduce its energy use, carbon footprint and waste production, as well as supporting financial inclusion and gender parity in payments in all its offices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACI also rallied around its employees in adversely affected areas, providing additional financial support to the employees and their communities.

Leading the Charge

While ACI technologies planted its roots a few decades ago, Rawan became a part of the organization in 2010, starting out as a technical analyst. Her reputation preceded her as she came from an internship at Microsoft where she had won first prize in “Most Popular Presentations” at Microsoft’s Gitex Conference booth. 

As soon as Rawan joined ACI, she quickly set out to gain as much knowledge in enterprise payment solutions as possible, which led to her becoming the face for all of ACI’s Middle-Eastern customers for Level 1 and 2 support. Whenever she could, Rawan and a few of her colleagues would be busy breaking digital trends by looking into ACI’s product code and analyzing issues, even though her job title did not require her to do so.

Her ground-breaking contributions in further innovating and strengthening ACI’s platform were soon recognized and Rawan was promoted to senior technical analyst and appointed as a team leader. It did not stop there. As team leader, she won the ACI Worldwide Annual Exceptional Award in 2014 for restoring trust in strategic and critical relationships with a top-tier customer and improved interface domain SLA for Priority 2 cases by 88% and Priority 3 cases by 52%, adding another few feathers in her cap.

“I am always learning! Whether it be via reading a book or the latest articles, watching documentaries or learning how to cook a new dish. There is so much to learn and absorb from the world around us.”

A few months after moving into her newest role, Rawan decided that she wanted to further expand the bandwidth of her capabilities. I took on the opportunity to expand my technical capabilities even more by moving into a software engineer role in another team. Here she continued to take on tasks that pushed her out of her comfort zone in order to gain exposure and experience in an entirely new domain of work. Soon thereafter, Rawan’s contributions as a software developer were yet again recognized by ACI and in 2015 she was assigned as a team lead to lead four engineers while maintaining her original duties as a software engineer. 

Today, Rawan and her team are leading the charge towards better banking and enterprise-based digital payment solutions, increasing ACI’s partnership opportunities with companies across the globe. Looking back, Rawan fondly states that she owes it all to her parents, who were the guiding light of her professional journey. While her mother was the first woman in her family to earn a degree, her late father’s dedication and impact on their family and community were inspirational to Rawan, inculcating in her the values of hard work and of giving back to the community. 

Staying Ahead of the Curve

In recent times when COVID-19 single-handedly shook the way organizations functioned, Rawan herself was witness to establishments across the world rushing to adopt safe digital payment solutions simply in order to survive. Throughout the pandemic, ACI remained at the forefront of creating breakthrough payment solutions for its clients in order for them to function. On the consumer side, ACI is driving change towards digitalization by educating and empowering everyone, old and young, to adopt the digital payments trend.

“Serving our customers and providing them with the latest technology is something that gets me motivated.”

Looking around us, it is abundantly clear that digital payments are not just the future, they are the present. The ongoing digital revolution has disrupted the global banking and cards industry, with the online payments market expected to reach $7.6 trillion by 2024. As for ACI, its strong presence and innovation-driven foothold in financial services throughout the world has it strongly placed as a trusted leader in enterprise payments for the years to come.

Rawan continues her role as senior software engineer and team lead, adding to her decades of experience in creating disruptive digital payment solutions. She makes sure to keep up with the latest happenings globally, both economic and political, as well as religiously follow industry leaders like Theodora Lau and Lenny Rachitsky to gather the latest industry insight and knowledge. With all the mergers, acquisitions and younger entrants, it is an exciting time to be working in the fintech industry. I am looking forward to contributing to our organization’s growth,” states Rawan.

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