Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 43 - Page 52

CASE STUDY We have designed mobile-centric processes, where you can sign up and get treated like a customer and it works on a simple feature phone using USSD strings, if that’s the sort of device you have. You can send money by creating a transaction, paying for it or settling it at any one of our partners or our own branches, and the money is instantaneously available on the other side. Your recipient receives a text message, they have to show ID to prove who they are and they get the money. A process that used to take weeks, where you could lose anywhere between 25% to 40% of your principal in fees, unforeseen charges, bus rides into town etc, is now instantaneous, thankfully through the use of mobile technology and the money gets to the other side immediately. At the heart of it, our DNA is solving problems for the African migrant diaspora, and this is palpable when walking through our contact-centre, through which we are able to communicate with all customers in their vernacular: it sometimes sounds like the united nations of Africa. How many countries are you operating in? We service over 100 send-receive country corridors and those are where we have our own presence or direct relationships with partners. We send from five countries across Southern Africa and then the whole of Europe and we have our own operating presence to pay-out orders in 13 countries, but then we also bind into aggregators that enable you to send to/receive from 180 plus countries in the world. How do you ensure the cybersecurity of the transactions that you process? They’re all encrypted. The online payments are managed through 3D secure or similar platforms. We have to adhere to the FICA requirements that are stipulated to us by the South African Reserve Bank and other central banks in the territories in which we operate because we are an authorised dealer with limited authority. This means we need to uphold the KYC standards in our sign-up processes which are high in Southern Africa. We’ve got to adhere to all the legislation and regulation around anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing, exchange control regulations and international watch-list screening, among others. We trace patterns through technological flows. We trace patterns in terms of customer sets. And so, the transaction is looked at from the perspective of what it is and isn’t doing and then the actual technological capabilities follow fairly generic and standard security protocols. What technologies are you looking to invest in? Ensuring that the core stability and functional capability brought about by the technologies and coding languages mentioned earlier is of paramount importance. We are relaunching our app and that’s been built on the Flutter framework. The app is important because it allows for content rich customer engagements. It will also enable us to ingest/scan customer documents in real-time, process card payments securely so that customers can create and pay for orders in one step as opposed to two, as well as allowing for a host of additional customer facing services and capabilities to be deployed. The core DNA of our business is making sure that it’s super simple and that somebody with a feature phone is not precluded from using the service, because that is the essence of where our customer base is at, so we want modular technological capabilities that we can use in any conditions. Biometrics is another sort of key differentiator in the space for increased security and ease of sign-up. Africa is ready for digitisation, and we have already seen good traction in SA with our Mukuru Card product. Mukuru is investing in technology to support customers as they digitise in the coming years, across our footprint. What have been the major IT achievements of your organisation in the past 12 months? I think there are three things. One being able to take the idea of enabling the groceries opportunity, and to get that from an idea to a functioning product within 90 days, it’s been nothing short of remarkable, just given how many things we have on the go - that’s been a key thing. Increasing the use of WhatsApp as a transacting channel, which went from an absolute standing start in early 2019 to accounting for well over a quarter of all the ‘order create’ transactions we have. And I think it has been a mammoth undertaking and a re-examining of how we do things to re-architect our app and make sure that we continue to move along with our customers and grow with them. Those have been three key undertakings while ensuring that our core keeping-thelights-on technology stack is able to sustain ever increasing volumes. 52 INTELLIGENTCIO