Standard bank selects TCS BaNCS cloud for digital claims transformation in short term insurance

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that Standard Bank’s short-term insurance business in South Africa has selected TCS BaNCS™ Cloud for Insurance to power its digital claims transformation and reaffirm its leadership in the region.

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will be offered on a SaaS model on AWS Cloud and will help the insurer harmonize more than 60 products spread across four claims administration platforms, enabling faster and accurate claims processing. The solution will also integrate with 16 different downstream applications including the enterprise GL system, payment gateway, CRM, business intelligence solutions, as well as all other peripheral systems identified in Standard Bank Insurance’s technology roadmap.

Combined with a cloud-first approach, a faster claims processing engine and high configurability, the solution will help Standard Bank Insurance improve operational efficiency and streamline claims management. TCS BaNCS APIs will help Standard Bank Insurance connect to ancillary systems easily and offer personalized experiences to their customers. Additionally, TCS’ analytics and data-driven insights tool will help in decreasing customer churn and speed up decision-making related to claims settlements.

Dr Nolwandle Mqoqi, Head of Insurance, Standard Bank South Africa, said, “Customer satisfaction and loyalty are of utmost importance to us and with TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance’s SaaS-based solution, we expect to vastly improve policy holder claims experiences, deliver superior performance in a secure environment and benefit from the scale that a highly configurable solution offers. We have been a leading cloud adopter in the region and selecting TCS BaNCS Cloud as one of the partners is the next step in this journey. Availing TCS’ analytics tool for intelligent insights, we will approach product innovation differently, take advantage of new opportunities and deliver differentiated customer experiences.”
R Vivekanand, Co-Head, TCS Financial Solutions. TCS cherishes the over 20-year relationship with the Standard Bank Group and our long-standing commitment to the South African financial services industry. We are pleased to be selected as the strategic partner to the company for this engagement. TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will help Standard Bank’s short-term insurance enhance customer experience, reduce operational risk, improve claims efficiencies, and take advantage of emerging opportunities by seamlessly collaborating with an extended innovation ecosystem of insurtechs. This claims transformation sets up Standard Bank well for its next leg of thought leadership and client-centered delivery in the South African market.”

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance is an end-to-end rules-driven core insurance platform spanning capabilities in underwriting, customer policy servicing, claim processing, co-insurance, finance, reporting and branch operations across P&C, Health and Life insurance businesses.
This SaaS offering has been adopted by banks and financial institutions of varying sizes across the globe for its future-ready digital architecture, functionality, business agility and operational efficiency.

Its proven application architecture ensures anytime, anywhere digital access, scalability, resilience, high performance, and compliance. Cloud agnostic, it ensures that customers gain from a standardized and consistent platform.

With a predictable and committed roadmap, systematic regulatory updates, and a complete operational model it provides customers with the reassurance to concentrate on their core competencies rather than on building and maintaining costly IT infrastructure. TCS BaNCS Cloud handles over 100 million transactions per month for more than 220 customers across the world.

www.tcs.com

www.standardbank.com

[Column] Isme Oosthuizen: South Africa’s financial institutions need to pursue their own path to the cloud

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organisations of all sizes.

At the enterprise level, consulting firm BCG estimates that two-thirds of companies globally already use multiple clouds. It predicts that by 2025, up to 60 percent of consumer-facing applications, almost 40 percent of data warehouse and analytics workloads, and more than 30 percent of core business applications will be running on public clouds operated by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Traditional on-premises technology will handle no more than a third of these workloads.

“South Africa’s path to the cloud is following a similar trajectory – but with a preference for hybrid cloud,” says Isme Oosthuizen, associate director at BCG Platinion. The Enterprise Cloud Index report by Nutanix found that 50 percent of South African businesses surveyed moved with speed to adopt hybrid cloud in 2020, and that 88 percent consider hybrid their ideal operating model – in line with the global average of 86 percent.

Financial services is the exception to the rule. Instead of rushing to the cloud, banks, credit card and payment companies, and insurers are likely to move toward hybrid or multi-cloud models at a measured pace over several years or more, and the pathways of adoption will include banking software vendors as well as large cloud service providers.

Banks and other financial services providers face a complex, hybrid, and fluid tech landscape that will demand a mix of infrastructure, skills, capabilities, and partnerships to navigate. Each company’s size, business mix, data and technology strategy, and ambitions will shape its journey.

The state of play: meeting the current and future needs of financial institutions

In response to internal demand for increased agility, scale, speed, cost-savings and efficiencies, as well as external competitive signals from peers and new digital rivals, financial institutions of all sizes and types have tested various approaches to the cloud. These efforts have ranged in scope from launching limited pilots to moving major workloads to cloud services providers (CSPs).

For industry-unique reasons—including mainframe technology, regulatory frameworks, and organisational digital maturity—financial institutions have been slower than businesses in other industries to move their core infrastructure workloads to CSPs.

This will change as leading CSPs establish more offerings for the financial industry to reduce the barriers to adoption and as all but the largest institutions face decisions about whether to build new data centres, upgrade existing ones, or seek alternative solutions to expanding needs and rising costs.

Sooner or later, most will embrace some form of hybrid model. “The majority of South African traditional banks are in the process of adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, enabling them to move certain applications and platforms to the cloud to drive organisational efficiencies,” says Oosthuizen.

Most CSPs are pursuing strategic partnerships with major financial institutions to address industry-specific needs and requirements. For example, Standard Bank, the continent’s largest financial institution, has partnered with Microsoft, on a cloud-first strategy to enable innovation and resilience. It involves migrating the bank’s workloads, applications, and platforms to Microsoft Azure to drive organisational efficiencies, as well as workforce collaboration.

Absa, for instance, has chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build new service capabilities in the cloud for a more agile business and to optimise technology expenditure. The bank has launched more than 100 initiatives on AWS Cloud and is accelerating its cloud adoption to enable it to innovate, offer new value propositions to customers, manage and access big data sets and bring products to market faster.

Overall, CSPs are increasingly recognising that they cannot just provide the tech – they need to understand the bank’s core business and collaborate to solve real business problems.

Planning for the future: taking the hybrid versus multi-cloud approach

But since not one cloud architecture is perfect for all purposes when it comes to tooling, service selection, and sourcing models for each layer of the technology stack, chief information officers (CIOs) at financial institutions need to make decisions on a couple of levels.

First, they need to determine what their strategy should be with respect to hybrid or multi-cloud operating models.

Second, they need to figure out how to implement their strategy with respect to tooling (open standards versus off-the-shelf commercial solutions), operating model (hybrid or true multi-cloud—with CSP vendor agnosticism and workload portability—versus multiple clouds that operate independently), and sourcing model (CSP agnostic versus CSP native adoption).

BCG has found that financial institutions have a continuum of choices, with differing architectural trade-offs that they must consider in the context of the organisation’s broader IT and business strategy. At the strategic level, the industry has yet to reach a consensus view on hybrid or multi-cloud usage, and institutions’ experiences and results vary.

Whichever route an institution chooses, four truths are likely to shape its journey:

Adoption will be slower than most observers predict. The cloud will not replace data centres in the next three to five years. Most institutions can continue to operate their current data centres while they work with core banking software vendors on future offerings.

The future is hybrid. Institutions need to be thoughtful about how to make hybrid and multiple-cloud solutions work.

The industry has its own cloud challenges. The design and technology choices that institutions ultimately make must reflect the particular challenges of the industry, including latency, operational resiliency, security, and compliance. Companies should also be thoughtful about enabling end-to-end automation, orchestration, and integration.

Every institution needs to build some muscle in cloud. Even hybrid solutions entail building a set of in-house skills to work with cloud partners. For organisations that want to lower the risk and cost of cloud adoption, training staff and building capabilities are just as important as pursuing a specific outcome or benefit.

For example, Absa introduced a cloud incubator initiative with AWS, to train 1 500 staff members across Africa with the aim to enable participants to identify cloud opportunities within their businesses and create more efficient, scalable services and solutions. By giving employees the confidence to innovate quicker and experiment more, the bank will drive broadscale digital transformation.

“South Africa’s financial institutions need to plan for a future in the cloud, but their emphasis should be on getting the integration right rather than making the transition fast,” says Oosthuizen. “A cultural shift away from long-established approaches to technology that have served financial institutions well will be a big part of the challenge. Each institution will move at its own pace, and leveraging others’ experience can help.”

Isme Oosthuizen is the associate director at BCG Platinion.

Mauritius Commercial Bank to adopt MITECH’s TRAC Collateral Management system in the cloud

The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB) is adopting MITECH’s system TRAC (Trade Risk Active Control) to support a continuous and significant growth in its Commodity Trade Finance (CTF) business.

TRAC is a Trade Risk and Collateral Management system supporting Structured Trade Commodity Finance. The TRAC solution handles not only Transactional Commodity Finance but Borrowing Base structures as well.

The TRAC software will be implemented on a Cloud infrastructure, with the aim of going-live with the system before the end of the year.

Michael Cohen Dumani, MITECH’s CEO commented that “this contract is a major milestone for MITECH as we are expanding our geographical footprint to support Africa’s intense Trade Finance growth as well as implementing TRAC seamlessly on a Cloud setup” adding that “MITECH is proud to welcome yet another prestigious reference in its community of users”.

Rajeshwar Pertab, Head of Middle-Office, MCB stated: “We are delighted to be partnering with MITECH and further bolster risk and collateral management within our Commodity Trade Finance business. MITECH’s expertise and TRAC’s extensive functionalities convinced us to adopt the solution and streamline information flow between our customers, front-office and middle-Office teams”.

www.mcb.mu

www.mitsa.ch

[South Africa] Nedbank enables business continuity and employee remote work with Nutanix

Nutanix, a player in private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing, has announced that Nedbank, one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, is leveraging the Nutanix cloud platform to improve and facilitate the rapid delivery of its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling employees to work from home.

To ensure that the banking industry was able to provide its services and meet customer needs, Nedbank had to find a way for employees to work safely and productively from home.

When the initial COVID-19 lockdown stages were introduced, South African companies were forced to mobilize quickly with only a one-week period for preparation before a complete country lockdown. With approximately 30,000 employees serving more than 10 million clients, Nedbank needed to quickly scale its end-user computing systems to continue serving customers. With Nutanix already implemented, the IT team was able to seamlessly and rapidly extend its VDI solution.

“During the sudden switch to a work-from-home requirement because of the pandemic, we did not have to increase our infrastructure but rather optimize the way VDI is delivered to new users on the same platform,” said Johan van Tonder, End User Computing Senior Innovation Manager at Nedbank. “Using Nutanix, we can now maintain and upgrade mission-critical infrastructure during business hours without impacting any of our operations as well as enable employees to work from anywhere.”

Prior to deploying the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)-powered Nutanix cloud platform, Nedbank had a three-tier infrastructure that was siloed and required dedicated IT teams to solve specific problems when they arose. It would take a significant amount of time to fix or restore functional problems, which resulted in a large amount of downtime that negatively affected their customers’ experience. Nedbank knew it needed an environment that would increase performance speed and simplify infrastructure management.

In the past, the IT team would have to schedule overtime on the weekend when no users would be accessing the system to complete updates. Now, the IT team can perform firmware updates during peak office hours with minimal disruptions, if any, to the VDI environment or client systems. Additionally, Nedbank was able to simplify the management of its different clusters across separate physical locations, all from a single management console.

With more than 8,500 virtual desktops in its 160-node environment, it is crucial that Nedbank has an infrastructure in place that can enable employees to continue to work even during a pandemic.

“The method and speed at which Nedbank approached these challenges is a testament to the team’s understanding of the power of a hyperconverged infrastructure software and the downstream operational impact it can have on a business,” said Dom Poloniecki, General Manager, Sales, Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix. “Today’s clients don’t want their technology partners to approach their problems with a basket full of new technologies. They want to leverage their existing investments to find incremental value and leverage they are looking for. By leveraging its Nutanix solution, Nedbank is doing just that, stretching and truly deriving value from an existing investment.”

www.nedbank.co.za

www.nutanix.com

HSBC becomes first financial institution to move Corda Enterprise Blockchain Technology on to Google Cloud

HSBC has become the first financial institution to move software  firm R3’s blockchain platform Corda Enterprise on to Google Cloud.

The  move will cut client onboarding times from months to weeks, improving the  client experience and significantly reducing costs.  

The bank currently uses R3’s Corda technology for Digital Vault, HSBC’s custody blockchain platform.  

HSBC is pursuing using blockchain to support the custody of future digital  asset classes. Moving the Corda technology to Google Cloud gives the bank  the option to move more of the transaction lifecycle on to the ledger in future,  including issuing digital tokens instead of paper certificates. 

The Digital Vault service, launched in November 2019, digitises the  transaction records of private placement assets including equity, debt and  real estate. This enables global custody clients to access details of their  private assets directly and in real-time instead of having to request a search  of paper-based records. As a result, they can easily keep track of when they  will receive the coupon on a private debt transaction or facilitate an audit of  transaction records. The Digital Vault is currently available in Asia and will be  rolled out in other regions in due course. 

R3’s Corda platform enables businesses to transact directly and privately  using smart contracts, reducing transaction and record-keeping costs and  streamlining business operations. 

Gaurav Aggarwal, Head of Distributed Ledger Technology and Tokenisation,  Markets & Securities Services, HSBC, said: “Being the first organisation to  move Corda technology to Google Cloud is a further sign of HSBC’s  commitment to blockchain and cloud technologies. As well as cutting  onboarding times and reducing costs, it will help us prepare for the future, in  which the full transaction lifecycle could be stored on a distributed ledger.” 

Cathy Minter, Chief Revenue Officer at R3, said: “Blockchain’s potential in  supporting the custody of future digital asset classes is immense, and we  have already seen this in practice with HSBC’s Digital Vault service. As  HSBC moves Corda onto Google Cloud, clients will benefit from faster  onboarding times and reduced costs. Corda was built with the highest  standards of privacy and security in mind. The platform is ideally suited to  empower HSBC’s global custody clients to access details of their private  assets securely, and in real time.”

Derek White, Vice President, Global Financial Services, Google Cloud, said:  “As HSBC prepares for the future of banking, we are proud to provide the  speed, scale and security of the best of cloud technology to connect  consumers, businesses and ecosystems in new innovations.”  

www.hsbc.co.uk

cloud.google.com

Temenos partners with Alibaba to power banks’ uptake of cloud services

Temenos, the banking software company, and Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, have announced that Temenos Transact, its next generation core banking product is now certified on Alibaba Cloud.

Financial institutions will be able to run Temenos’ mission-critical core banking applications on Alibaba Cloud and benefit from elastic scalability, cost and operational efficiencies.

Banks can now easily adopt Temenos’ world-leading banking software on the powerful Alibaba Cloud infrastructure.

More than 3,000 financial services institutions around the world leverage Temenos’ modern, cloud-native and API-first technology. Banks can now run Temenos’ core banking software in Alibaba Cloud and take advantage of the speed to market and agility of the cloud, enabling them to quickly reinvent their business models and their organization as a whole.

The growing demand for cloud-based and SaaS models is being accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic as banks require more resilient and agile technology propositions.

Cloud has become the established method of software deployment for smaller banks and neobanks that need to launch quickly with minimal IT infrastructure cost. However, incumbent banks increasingly require cloud-native software to future-proof their business, gain greater speed to market as well as reduce IT complexity and costs.

Temenos’ core banking software will now be available on Alibaba Cloud, and the two companies will jointly help banks go to market faster, open up new business models, and achieve industry leading cost/income ratios.

The two companies are already engaged in proof of concepts with banks and have joint customers in APAC.

Philip Barnett, Director, Strategic Growth, Temenos, said: “We are delighted to extend our leadership in the cloud and be the first to certify with Alibaba Cloud, a tech giant and a source of innovation widely recognized for its leadership in e-commerce and mobile payments. Cloud is the enabler for change; and particularly during this challenging climate – it gives financial institutions the agility and the resilience they need. Working with Alibaba Cloud we will help banks to elastically scale based on demand and remove operational complexities. Together we can help new entrants launch faster with lower costs as well as large banks break down silos and collaborate internally and externally, and provide outstanding customer experiences. Our certification on Alibaba Cloud demonstrates that our cloud-agnostic banking platform enables banks to pursue a multi-cloud strategy and have the highest levels of active-active resilience with the cloud provider of their choice.”

Lancelot Guo, President of Ecosystem and Sales Operations, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence: “We are delighted that Temenos has certified on our cloud. Temenos is the market-leading, cloud-native banking software provider accelerating the digital transformation for thousands of worldwide financial institutions. Combined with our comprehensive suite of cloud services, and a proven track record of delivering value, we together boost the capabilities of financial institutions, allowing them to accelerate their growth and innovation on the cloud.”

Temenos has been in the forefront of software innovation, consistently investing 20 per cent of its revenues in R&D and is pioneering in cloud banking for the last 10 years.

 Temenos was the first banking software provider to offer a core banking product in the cloud and the first to offer cloud-to-cloud, active-active multi-cloud resilience to eliminate downtime and dependency on a single cloud provider.

Temenos enables banks to significantly reduce their total cost of ownership through elastic cloud scalability, distributed database technology and multi-cloud resilience, all underpinned by the benefits of vendor and platform independence. Temenos accelerates banks digital transformation helping them to become more agile and innovate faster.

www.temenos.com

www.alibabacloud.com

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Standard Bank South Africa migrates SAP cloud platform to Microsoft Azure to boost efficiency

Standard Bank South Africa is moving its core SAP Cloud Platform services to Microsoft Azure to significantly improve the experience customers have with the bank, while enabling it to introduce new solutions to market more efficiently.

This accelerates the digital transformation of SAP customers to S/4HANA by partnering with Microsoft and using jointly developed reference architectures, roadmaps, and industry best practices. Many enterprises are looking to reduce their reliance on their own datacentres and moving more of their core workloads to the cloud.

Sabelo Nkwanyana, Standard Bank’s CIO for Personal and Business Banking SA, says leveraging the computing power of Microsoft and the product innovation capability of SAP demonstrates how Standard Bank is embracing partnerships and ecosystems to develop customized solutions for its clients.

“SAP has a deep understanding of our business requirements and how we want to ensure our customers are happy with our service offering. This partnership continues our focus on innovation by leveraging the respective skills of SAP and Microsoft to transform the digitization and personalization journey for our customers,” says Nkwanyana.

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa says, “The Project Embrace initiative between Microsoft and SAP announced globally last year is centred around the customer journey to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. The work that we are doing with Standard Bank is the first local demonstration of this partnership, and another milestone in the journey Microsoft is on with Standard Bank, to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT system and enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers.”

The partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of selected system integrators, to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services.

Barnard continues, “Enterprises are migrating to cloud providers at an accelerated rate. This makes it critical for our customers to have the right cloud infrastructure in place, enabling them to unlock the power of innovation. Microsoft’s significant investment on the African continent, with our first hyperscale datacentre regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, means many more partners and customers are enjoying the benefits of our intelligent cloud platform.”

Speaking on the SAP partnership specifically, Barnard adds, “Project Embrace has three tenets at its heart: simplify, accelerate and innovate. By accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journey, we are enabling them to become agile, efficient digital enterprises on Microsoft Azure – with a cloud platform optimised for SAP – leveraging best practice and specialist expertise.”

“Today’s announcement is the biggest partnership centred on SAP implementation in Africa. With client experience a key strategic pillar for Standard Bank, Project Embrace reflects the shared commitment of both SAP and Microsoft to accelerate our customers’ journey to the cloud,” says Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa.

This project will deliver a unified approach to how Standard Bank runs SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this will help the bank deliver a faster time-to-market on products and services, while ensuring its IT infrastructure is optimised. By moving workloads to the cloud, Standard Bank will be able to access a range of features that it can deploy instantly and scale according to demand. This will result in cost reductions, improved system performance, and access to innovation.

“This will empower the bank to create new business models and deliver more personalised outcomes in today’s dynamic business environment. By providing Standard Bank with consistent engagement and delivery models, SAP and Microsoft bring both industry-specific best practices and deep local insight to deliver a compelling value proposition for their clients,” says Smith.

“Through Project Embrace, we are now able to better identify our business pain points and effectively address them through technologies that deliver a demonstratable return on investment. Having the ability to more accurately predict where customer challenges and dissatisfaction will occur enables a more flexible enterprise environment. We can help our customers transform their businesses and their lives in a secure way. This is much more than SAP and Microsoft supplying us with products. This is about fundamentally enhancing our digital journey for the future,” concludes Nkwanyana of Standard Bank SA.

In addition to the work done with Standard Bank, the Microsoft and SAP initiative is assisting customers around the world, and in a variety of industries, accelerate their journey to becoming digital, intelligent enterprises.

www.standardbank.co.za

www.sap.com

[Kenya] KCB picks Actifio to provide data backup and application development support

Actifio, the pioneer of multi-cloud copy data management software, has been chosen to provide comprehensive data backup and application development support for KCB Group, East Africa’s largest commercial bank.

The bank has placed the Actifio platform at the center of its DevOps and data management initiatives to assure stability and continuing business growth.

KCB Group Plc was established in Kenya in 1896. The bank has since expanded into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia (Rep). The KCB Group Plc network includes 330 branches, 1,076 ATMs and more than 18,818 merchants and agents offering 24×7 services, including mobile and Internet banking.

Gabriel Kimanzi, KCB’s IT Risk and Security Officer, said, “We identified Actifio as our best data backup and recovery solution through a competitive process. Not only did Actifio closely match our primary criteria, but it also provides creative support for application development using application-aware data mounts. That is very powerful for us; a great benefit.”

Complex information technology is central to the operation of KCB’s banking business. Its technology needs to operate responsively and reliably to support bank business in seven countries while protecting the bank’s production and backup data centers. The bank needed to replace its complex and time-consuming tape-based process to eliminate unacceptable time delays and data recovery failures.

“The success rate of our old data backup system was horrible,” said Kimanzi. “We wasted too much staff time dealing with failures. It had become a major pain point and a real danger to the bank’s business.”

The KCB team recognized Actifio’s unique value in saving application developers’ time by using data virtualization to create database copies as needed without adding storage system capacity. “Actifio is a powerful tool for data protection and application development. Backup speed, simplicity of management, and excellent support were all factors in our decision,” said Christopher Tiren, KCB’s Chief Procurement Officer.

The Actifio benefits to KCB start with a powerful and affordable backup, test and development platform. The business has also gained simple, reliable, and consistent performance for data backup and recovery with unique value in time savings and self-service for application developers.

www.kcbgroup.com

www.actifio.com

[South Africa] Barko Financial Services chooses Temenos cloud software to deliver personalized digital customer experiences

Temenos, the banking software company, has announced that Barko Financial Services has selected Temenos software to replace its legacy systems, in both core and front office, to offer a compelling and personalized customer experience.

The microfinance institution will use cloud-native, cloud-agnostic Temenos T24 Transact, the next generation in core banking, and Temenos Infinity, the breakthrough digital banking product.

Barko Financial Services is in the process of applying for a banking license with the ambition to launch a retail bank that will challenge the status quo in South Africa by offering financial products aimed at better meeting the needs of lower-income South African consumers – Temenos will provide the technology to enable this strategy.

The microfinance institution has over 170 branches and caters for millions of modest-earning, but salaried South Africans such as government employees, mineworkers and civil servants.

Currently, it takes Barko Financial Services 25 minutes to onboard a client and 10 to 15 for a new loan application. With Temenos’ packaged, integrated software, Barko Financial Services will dramatically reduce the time to originate loans, targeting re-loan applications to be completed in under two minutes and new loan completion in under seven minutes.

The aim is to give customers, who are mostly located in rural areas, a compelling digital experience using mobile devices, thereby eliminating the need to visit a branch.

By selecting Temenos’ end-to-end digital banking platform, Barko Financial Services will benefit from accelerated project timelines and drastically reduced cost of deployment. The microfinance institution is expected to go live in six months.

Cloud-hosted Temenos Infinity will allow Barko Financial Services to gain product agility and take new products and services to market faster. Temenos T24 Transact will enable the business to benefit from operational efficiencies at a lower cost of ownership.

Temenos has more than 25 years of global banking expertise and a local presence in Africa. Temenos consistently invests over 20% of its revenue into continually enhancing its packaged software, to develop the richest and deepest functionality in the industry.

Kobus de Wet, Chief Executive Officer, Barko Financial Services, said: “We are delighted to be working with Temenos as our strategic technology partner. Temenos has a worldwide reputation for robust, scalable banking software and an extensive presence in the African region. We selected Temenos’ packaged and open banking software to transform our customer experience, offer personalized products and services and drastically lower our total cost of ownership. With Temenos, we will be able to launch capabilities faster, if we get approval to establish a bank, and provide innovative products which are simple to use and tailored to add value to our target customers. We wish to offer lower-income customers a personalized experience that is typically reserved for private clients.”

Jean-Paul Mergeai, Managing Director – Middle East and Africa, Temenos, said: “Technology is playing a pivotal role in making financial inclusion a viable option for everyone. We are delighted to partner with Barko Financial Services, which joins the Temenos family, and it can leverage our experience of serving over 220 microfinance institutions as well as our expertise in helping new banks to launch. By selecting our cloud-native, cloud-agnostic packaged software Barko Financial Services will benefit from a fast implementation. Barko Financial Services will be best positioned to leverage technology innovation to offer an outstanding customer experience at a reduced cost. We look forward to working with Barko Financial Services as it transforms the services that it offers to its customers.”

www.temenos.com

www.barko.co.za

Kenyan banks embrace infobip solutions to grow customer base, manage competition

Infobip, a global cloud communications company for businesses and leader in omnichannel engagement is enhancing its presence in Kenya by partnering with banks and businesses.

Housing Finance Group, an integrated property and financial solutions provider in Kenya believes tailored dialogue is key in building long term relationships with their customers.

”It is imperative to listen to your customers and interact with them on digital channels. Our recently launched mobile app, for example, increased our customer base by 150 percent in only seven weeks, but USSD service is still very much in demand in Kenya. With the support of Infobip, we implemented our USSD solution in less than two months, and we can already attest to great results customer-wise,” said George Njuguna, Chief Information Officer, H.F. Group. 

Infobip has partnered with several financial and telecommunications companies across the region, bringing financial solutions to the unbanked and helping banks and fintech enterprises meet the growing competition from the expanding FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) communications sector.

A major shift in mobile money and financial services trends are evolving across Africa. Other companies using Infobip’s A2P communication technology in Africa include the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), the largest privately-owned bank in East Africa.

“We are constantly trying to find new, innovative ways to optimize our processes and interactions with our customers to increase satisfaction with our bank. CBA is utilizing Infobip’s platform for A2P SMS communication, but our goal is also to expand our cooperation with additional channels such as email, chat apps and push notifications for example,” Dennis Volemi, Head of IT at CBA.

Kenya tops the list of African countries with ease of access to financial services thanks in part to its high uptake of mobile money, placing the country ahead of economic giants such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. Other key drivers of this development include mobile adoption and internet connectivity. 84 percent of Kenya’s population has access to the Internet.  91 percent of Kenya’s total population has a mobile phone, compared to the average of 80 percent mobile penetration in all of Africa.[1]

”Infobip is expanding its operations in Africa. It is a region that is changing and improving rapidly when it comes to mobile money and financial services. Kenya, being one of the more progressive and developed nations in Africa, presents great potential and sets an example in truly diminishing the unbanked. With Infobip’s messaging solutions, banks can effectively build customer engagement, trust, and loyalty that is so important in Africa’s evolving banking industry,” said Rachel Njiru, Infobip’s MD Kenya & Director OP Africa.

By using Infobip’s omnichannel solution, Kenyan businesses can choose the optimal communication channels for specific types of messages, all available on a single communication platform.

Businesses can design targeted promotional campaigns and provide transactional traffic by including, for example, notification codes, account balance changes, bonus calculations on member cards, and payment reminders. The channels include SMS, and a number of chat app channels such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger, RCS, Push and more.

“Banks have to meet the customer needs of its competition. Maintaining customers long-term will require impactful engagement through omnichannel communications over the channels they use and prefer.  Infobip is a provider that can truly address these pain points, helping banks throughout Africa improve their financial service offerings and ultimately enable every Kenyan with a bank account to be powered by mobile technology,” said Ali Hussein Kassim, co-founder, and CEO of FinteXX.

Infobip’s enablement of WhatsApp Business API allows enterprises in over 180 countries to communicate branded and rich content, such as high-res images, video, and files to its customers over WhatsApp, the chat app trusted and used by 1.6 billion people worldwide.

A financial institution can for example offer banking services such as personal account verification information, account statements, banking transaction alerts or help customers find the closest branch.

www.infobip.com