Those working in the financial industry in Ghana may hear the words ‘digital’ and ‘innovation’ more than five times a day. These terms have become buzzwords, and are routinely dropped into PowerPoint presentations, meetings, and general business parlance.
There is a reason for this: every bank is now trying to figure out how to turn buzzwords into reality in their business. Yet, many of these efforts have delivered mixed success.
Digital innovation is, after all, one of the ways in which all banks seek growth. It’s about being fit for the future and being agile enough to respond to the needs of our customers. It’s also fundamentally about making processes faster and more reliable.
Some say that the banking industry’s quest to become more digital and innovative is a matter of necessity: to catch up with non-traditional players in the fintech space, embracing innovation and a digital focus is imperative. This is not far off – these fintech companies are, increasingly, becoming serious competitors in what was a traditional banking business space.
In Africa, this trend has been fuelled by the accelerating rate of mobile telephony penetration. According to GSM Association figures for 2018, sub-Saharan Africa currently has 456 million unique mobile subscribers, with a 44% penetration rate. By 2020, this is expected to reach over half a billion unique subscribers, making Africa the fastest growing mobile market.
Yet, many financial institutions’ approach to digital innovation is about transferring an existing process or service on to a self-service channel of sorts, without redesigning the offering or service. This approach often does not deal with, or improve, the underlying weaknesses in systems and results in channels that customers are not willing to use. Often, improving the user experience, or the simplicity and reliability of the channel is a simple solution that makes a world of difference.
As part of Absa Group, we firmly believe that a focus on digital offerings will play a key role in achieving our purpose of helping bring the possibilities of our customers to life.
However, being ‘digitally-led’ does not necessarily refer to building an entirely digital bank. It is about digitising our enterprise, end-to-end, to improve our customers’ experiences. We aim to get closer to the customer, and become more agile in all areas, including decision-making. We are focused on using technological developments of the 21st Century to deliver on our growth ambitions.
Over the last couple of years, we have embarked on several industry-leading initiatives intended to serve the constantly evolving interests and needs of our customers. The enhancement of our Retail Mobile Banking App with features such as Fingerprint and Face ID authentication, the introduction of an SME-focused Online Banking platform, Cardless Deposits functionality on our ATMs, and a Collections platform that allows for funds mobilization by our key partners in a simple but intuitive way. These are a few of the initiatives that we have brought to bear to signal our intent on becoming a premier digitally-led organization, and reinforce our commitment of being customer-centric in all we do.
Yet, we recognise there are challenges to overcome, one being legacy systems. This is a challenge that all banks will grapple with. These systems tend to have little flexibility and room for innovation, and limited interoperability with other ecosystems.
As we transition from Barclays to Absa, we are continuously investing in new technology, which includes enhancing and replacing the old with fit-for-future technology. We recognise that our customers’ needs are changing, and we are investing in digital platforms to offer more convenience and much-improved customer experience.
As we seek to be a Banking Group that Africa can be proud of, we are exploring ways to build world-leading capabilities – bringing the best thinking, skills, design, and digital assets to create a differentiated business.
Many institutions fail to innovate successfully simply because of their lack of speed and agility. Digital innovation is about quick and short cycles that are aligned to customer needs, as well as continually improving customer experience. By the time slow institutions bring something to market or fruition, the market has already moved on, rendering obsolete their proud, but not-up-to-date creations.
We recognise these challenges, and are actively working towards mitigating them.
That is why we are building a Bank that is not only fit for the future, but also engineered for customer of the future. A Bank that is digitally-led, entrepreneurial, and driven by the needs of the customer.
- Why I will vote against Akufo-Addo even if he gives me free water and electricity for life
- Is Hawa Koomson’s act a confirmation that the NPP is the most violent political party in Ghana?
- In-depth analysis that shows that Akufo-Addo has won the 2020 elections
- Auditor General Vs The Presidency: Why both should be shown the exit
- Time to do away with retirees as Presidents; Amend the laws to allow the youth to contest
- What Prof. Jane Naana Opoku has in common with past running mates that should scare the NPP
- Why Nana Addo should be blamed for Carlos Ahenkorah’s recklessness
- NDC has erred: This is why preparing a manifesto without a running mate is a big blunder
- 4 Top Ignorant Politicians in Ghana [OPINION]
- Why one of these 3 would be John Mahama’s running mate
- Dr. Bawumia: The 21st Century Ghanaian Political Messiah?
- Why I blame Reverend Obofour for the death of Apraku My Daughter
- What if the advert that ‘has been vetted and approved by FDA’ hasn’t been vetted and approved by FDA?
- Digitisation: Are Ghanaians losing their jobs to robots?
- Do you know NCCE is still running adverts on the cancelled referendum? The teacher needs a teacher
- #SaveOurData campaign makes no sense; who is forcing you to live in East Legon when Lapaz is cheap?
- How democracy collapsed Ghana
- Ghanaian politicians, before you boast of efficiency, read this
- EKOWRITEs: HIV/AIDS, the ABC story
- Leader needs patience!
- Opinion: History of Trans Volta Togoland
- President Akufo-Addo was right; vote ‘Yes’ to elect your MMDCEs
- Is COP Nathan Kofi Boakye a policeman of integrity?
- Samson’s Take: Books win corruption fight in Ghana
- Female majority enrolment – University of Ghana shows the way
- The undisputed fact about our pregnant teenagers
- Western Togoland: Blame UK & UN, not Ghana
- Electing MMDCEs on political party tickets will embolden wanton abuse of political power at local levels
- President Akufo-Addo, the generations yet unborn are most grateful for protecting Ghana’s bauxite!
- The truth behind Ghanaian politics