African banks including EcoBank, Attijariwafa Bank, United Bank of Africa, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, Nedbank and Banco Mais are tapping into IBM technologies to help advance financial inclusion across the continent
A number of financial institutions across Africa have selected hybrid cloud and AI capabilities from IBM to unlock digital innovation and continue their work to develop digital-first solutions, ultimately aiming to broaden access to financial services on the continent.
COVID-19 continues to accelerate the already rapid changes that were happening across the financial services sector in Africa, fast-tracking the adoption of digital technologies to boost financial inclusion. As banks focus their efforts on open innovation, security and high-value services, hybrid cloud solutions have become increasingly important to deliver seamless and secured digital banking experiences.
“Enterprises face unique challenges when it comes to balancing innovation and regulatory compliance, especially those in highly regulated industries like financial services,” says Alan Peacock, General Manager, IBM Cloud. “For decades, IBM has been fuelling the transformation of the financial services industry, bringing IBM’s industry experience and leadership in security and data privacy to help banks address those challenges and modernize, transform their operations and offer innovation to their customers.”
“In the past year we have seen banks navigate changes brought on by a growing preference for digital and mobile solutions, increasing smartphone penetration and the demand for convenience, innovation, and simplicity from today’s modern consumer,” says Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh, Regional, General Manager for IBM North, East and West Africa. “As banks across the continent take advantage of the opportunity to provide digital financial services which can boost financial inclusion, IBM is working with Africa’s financial groups to deliver intelligent, cloud-based, digital-first innovation through IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI capabilities.”
Ecobank, the pan-African banking conglomerate with banking operations in 33 African countries, has adopted a hybrid cloud approach to extend its reach to millions across Africa. Using IBM Cloud, Ecobank migrated their flagship mobile banking application to leverage the on-demand capacity of resources that can support sudden spikes in traffic on its mobile banking services. Ecobank also has access to other IBM cloud services that can be used to develop more innovative, digital-first solutions to enhance their own client experience.
With over 12 million customers on its flagship mobile application, Ecobank is on an accelerated digital banking transformation journey and is set out to expand its digital offerings and grow the 30 million digital transactions it already processes on its platforms. As part of this journey, the Pan-African banking conglomerate has built scalable business solutions which allow for ease of integration with third-party providers using their open digital banking platform for a growing customer base.
Attijariwafa bank, the Pan African Banking and Financial Group, has adopted IBM hybrid cloud solutions to help advance the digitisation of its banking operations, and more quickly bring new digital services to its customers, all in a security-rich and flexible environment. Using IBM Cloud Paks that are built on Red Hat OpenShift, the bank can streamline and integrate front-and back-office processes to modernise business and IT operations.
By deploying IBM Cloud Paks, Attijariwafa bank aims to modernise and manage its core banking applications like its corporate banking application, in a secured, integrated and scalable environment. This can create richer and simpler customer interactions while helping decrease the time to bring new offerings to market. It can also enable the banks’ employees to focus their effort and time on serving their customers better.
This collaboration with IBM supports the digital transformation strategy of the bank and is designed to facilitate a full modernisation of the bank’s operations in an open, hybrid cloud environment.
United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s global bank operating in 23 countries and with headquarters in Nigeria, has set a goal to grow its transaction volume significantly over the next few years and to deepen retail market penetration. To achieve this, they would be required to attract the unbanked, acquire new customers through digital banking and retain existing customers by adopting a “No Transaction Must Fail (NTMF)” initiative.
Using IBM POWER9-based servers, Flash system storage and IBM PowerVC (Power system virtualization & cloud management), UBA set up a scalable, private cloud environment that is designed to be cost-effective as the bank takes its first step towards embracing a hybrid cloud model.
Customers’ needs are evolving as they seek banking services across channels and expect personalization. Co-operative Bank of Kenya turned to IBM to modernize their core banking platform and reach their customers on different channels including mobile and online while offering customized services driven by insights. For this, they required a technology that would also empower their employees who work across teams to simplify processes and optimize customer data, while also achieving goals like reducing infrastructure and maintenance costs. With IBM Power and FlashStorage solutions, they now have an infrastructure designed to improve insights on customer data, speed query resolutions and time-to-market on new services across channels – all backed by highly available, scalable, cloud-and AI-ready technology.
Banco Mais, a bank in Mozambique, turned to IBM to help streamline its business processes and reduce turnaround times for customer-facing services. In the face of a growing competitive market locally, Banco Mais aimed to develop financial service products faster to retain and gain market share. Banco Mais implemented IBM Business Process Manager on Cloud service and was able to start projects faster and deploy process application solutions without the need to build the IT infrastructure. By turning to this IBM Cloud solution, they developed, tested, ran and monitored their business processes at a fraction of the time it would otherwise have taken. As a result, Banco Mais reports that they reduced turnaround time for loans by 60% and decreased the time it took to implement services that took 3 to 4 months by 85% to improve customer experiences.
Pan-African bank Nedbank aims to deliver superior digital experiences to its customers. To achieve this, the bank is modernising its core banking applications with a hybrid cloud strategy and has turned to IBM to help bring digital products and services to market. To take advantage of the flexibility and agility offered by modern cloud technologies on this digitalization journey, Nedbank explored a hybrid, multicloud approach, using the IBM Garage methodology to implement IBM Cloud Pak for Integration in order to integrate legacy systems. Through IBM Garage, the bank was able to deep dive and explore fresh solutions and in a matter of weeks achieved what would have taken them months. This has enabled Nedbank to shift their legacy applications into the cloud and integrate with other cloud-based applications as they modernize and position for future innovation.
Earlier this year, IBM announced the general availability of the industry’s first financial services-ready cloud platform, IBM Cloud for Financial Services, as well IBM Cloud Satellite. First revealed in 2019, the IBM Cloud for Financial Services is designed to help reduce risk for financial institutions, their partners and FinTechs, and innovate quickly with built-in controls that are adhered to by the entire ecosystem. IBM Cloud Satellite brings a secured, unifying layer of cloud services for clients across environments, regardless of where their data resides. As workloads shift to the edge, IBM Cloud Satellite helps clients deliver low latency, while still enabling them to have the same levels of security, data privacy, interoperability and open standards found in hybrid cloud environments.