Digital services as a vital cog in Africa’s growing banking sector

By Larry Khaduli, Field Services Director East Africa at Schneider Electric

The African continent has one of the world’s most lucrative yet untapped banking markets in the world says analyst groups. With over 700 banks, the continent is subsequently seeing a similar growth in financial technology, telcos and neobanks (online bank only).

However, to remain competitive, African banks must invest in new technologies which allow for capabilities such as automation and self-service to optimise their operations. Plus, technology adoption must go hand-in-hand with the stringent regulations such as the recently published Basel IV that govern banks across the world.

As the African banking sector evolves so digital demands will increasingly start putting strain on existing technology infrastructure, pushing it beyond initial design standards. This, in turn, puts equipment at risk and possibility of failure which can be catastrophic to a bank and its customers.

Furthermore, whilst the sector and its customers become more sophisticated it is also giving way to increasingly complex and varied computing environments. For example, in Tanzania which currently has 35 commercial banks, the country is seeing an increased adoption of mobile consumers using banking apps to conduct daily transactions.

Instead of supporting one monolithic infrastructure, banks now have to manage distributed platforms and need to deploy hybrid cloud and edge solutions and expand existing datacentres. Also, banks must partner with suppliers that offer the requisite support to ensure their infrastructure always run optimally and securely.

This is where standardisation, speed of deployment and overall IT cost reductions come into play and micro datacentres, edge computing and modular, scalable UPS solutions are feasible options to meet the needs of an expanding, sophisticated banking sector and customer base.

In tandem with the above should be maintenance contracts with expert suppliers that ensure equipment’s are monitored, managed and potential failure mitigated with sound predictive maintenance practices in place. In the event of equipment failure, an expert field services team must be able to quickly find a solution and ensure operations are up and running in no time.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Asset Advisor is a cloud-enabled predictive analytics solution that manages the performance of banks’ assets and is provided as a service through our global field services team.

Solutions such as EcoStruxure Asset Advisor provide insight into the operating conditions of banking assets, mitigating the risk of equipment electrical failure. It offers banks with -complex building infrastructure – peace of mind that a trusted source with OEM expertise is looking after their assets.

By partnering with an OEM that offers an intuitive solution, backed by expert field services team, banks benefit from a predictive approach that supports other on-site service and preventative maintenance plans while improving CAPEX planning such as proactive equipment replacement based on condition.

Predictive maintenance can also determine maintenance adjustments for improved cost optimisation and risk mitigation such as keeping staff safe through early warnings and maintaining critical processes.

Ultimately, as the Africa continents banking sector grows and becomes more sophisticated, it is vital that institutions look after the reliability and performance of their IT assets in head offices and branches. Cloud-based IoT solutions in partnership with a field service team will allow banks to stay one step ahead of downtime or failures.

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