As the chief information officer for South Africa-based Nedbank Group, Fred Swanepoel recognizes that today’s consumers expect immediate responses to their needs in a 24/7 online world.
“Clients have experiences in other industries that they bring across, and they develop those kinds of expectations of their banks and financial services providers,” he says. “So, if a bank does not innovate along with the speed that clients expect, you will risk becoming irrelevant.”
Technology is at the heart of banking today and is moving Nedbank from being a bank to becoming a digital financial services provider. To make that shift and better serve its diverse client base, the 188-year-old company, which operates in seven African countries (plus 33 more through its Ecobank alliance), is partnering with Microsoft to migrate various operations to the cloud.
The company is using Azure-based compliance technologies to increase data privacy and security in a highly regulated industry. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics applications play a key role in managing customer relationships for the bank.
Nedbank also worked with Microsoft to develop a chatbot named EVA (Electronic Virtual Assistant), an app first used in South Africa that can understand the context of clients’ questions, then answer those questions, provide investment advice and prepopulate forms for investor clients.
“In thinking about banking in the future, we are reimagining client needs and how they will consume banking services,” Swanepoel says.
“Our investment in world-class digital technologies and talent means that we have established an innovative and streamlined IT operating platform that is secure and stable, but most importantly, delivers a convenient and seamless client experience in support of becoming more client focused, more digital, more agile and more competitive.”
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