Home » Lendtech » How South Africa’s Banks Lead in Digital Transformation & How CRM Contributes

How South Africa’s Banks Lead in Digital Transformation & How CRM Contributes

With over 20 years’ experience in international product sales, entrepreneurship & business development, PANI HARITO serves as the CRM Sales lead for Mint Management Technologies South Africa.

Pani holds a degree in Marketing Management through the Institute of Marketing Management and through the years has held various positions as Head of Sales, Marketing & Product Development, Senior Manager of Business Development, and Director of Sales for well-known organisations in South Africa.

He also travelled the world while working in a Senior Sales Management role for various Tour operators in Austria, Maldives, Mauritius and Italy. Pani believes in good company, excellent customer service, a fine whiskey, a regular game of golf and, most importantly, a well-rounded family life with his wife and kids.

The South African banking sector was ranked 3rd out of 148 countries in the 2013/14 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Survey, and realizes the value that technology brings to customer centricity and the importance to digitally transform.

South Africa has a developed and well regulated banking system which compares favorably with those of industrialized countries. Although the sector has been through a process of volatility and change in the past, it has attracted a lot of interest from abroad with a number of foreign banks establishing presence in the country and others acquiring stakes in major banks.

Why SA Banks are world leaders in digital transformation


Although traditional banks have retained their advantage of established trust relationships with customers, advancing digital disruption will erode profitability unless they can respond.

Globally, revenue from digital banking products and services is estimated to grow to almost half of banks’ revenue over the next 5 years. Financial technology innovators (fintechs) and challenger banks often have an IT cost per user that is 10% that of traditional banks.

In South Africa, despite banks having invested heavily in information technology (IT), the expected efficiency and scale benefits have not been realized; with the cost-to-income ratios of the major banks stubbornly sitting at around 55% between 2013 to 2015.

There are many causes of this, including the cost to hire and retain scarce skills, slowing revenue growth, increasing spend on compliance and the cost to maintain expensive legacy technology platforms. But the underlying problem is a failure to respond to changing consumer behavior.

These organizations must now understand what needs to be done to address the interplay between digital and physical in the emerging digitized business and consumer world:

Accept this is a transformation

Change the architecture perspective to one of an ecosystem, with customers at the center and customer experience the starting point

Move from a project to a product mind-set

How CRM enables digital transformation in banking


An example of one of many projects undertaken by Mint Group in the financial services industry to help organisations digitally evolve is depicted below, highlighting the difference that technology can make in the FSI.

One of the oldest commercial banks in South Africa approached our team to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 in one of its divisions to support and streamline the organization’s business processes specific to sales, services and marketing, and to ensure collaboration between the various areas within the organization.

A breakdown of the bank’s requirements was:

Central repository and single access point for customer data, including history of client

Interactions to ensure improved customer service through enhanced service levels

Scripted dialogues to guide agents to improve accuracy and data integrity

Ability to quickly allocate service calls to in-field team, allowing faster response times

Scalable solution which can easily be tailored for other areas of the business

Data accuracy and reporting

Following the implementation of Dynamics CRM, the banks realized the following benefits:

Solution scalability to meet hanging business needs

Accurate and up to date data for effective management reporting

Improved response times and client satisfaction

Simplified customer information retrieval

Improved accuracy and data integrity

Investment in technology crucial for digital transformation


The above example highlights the difference that one solution can make to an organization in terms of digital transformation and that investment in technology is crucial to success.

There has been no lack of investment in digital capabilities among the large banks in South Africa as reported by BSG, for example:

The four largest banking groups all have mobile apps, with FNB Mobile on 1.5 million devices as at September 2015.

Standard Bank has acquired SnapScan, one of a number of innovative payment solutions developed by start-ups.

Merchants in the business banking sector can use mobile point-of-sale acquiring devices, such as ABSA’s Payment Pebble.

Nedbank has released a merchant dashboard to provide insight to a small business’ typical cash flow management challenge.

FNB, ABSA and Standard Bank have all released contactless card payment instruments, one step closer to mobile card-based payment solutions.

A factor important to note is that digital transformation should not take place in leaps and bounds but should be a well-planned strategy executed step-by-step with clear objectives set out and measured. Ensuring the right approach towards digital maturity is key to ensuring success, exceptional market performance and the retention of exceptional resources.

While technology is a crucial enabler to digital transformation and customer centricity, the adoption and use of technology will enable the success rate and, ultimately, the return on investment.