Analysis by Youssef KOUN, Country Director & MEA digital champion @ Sopra Banking Software
What are the main changes you have seen in the last 12 months that will impact your clients' business in the future (2-3 years)?
Beyond its health nature, the pandemic has also impacted our economies, our social behaviors and the way we do business. The first few months were marked by a phase of resistance by our clients, which consisted of managing the crisis and ensuring business continuity. The banking sector being considered as critical, banks had to split their activities between face-to-face and teleworking. The latter pushed IT departments to quickly deploy collaborative tools while ensuring that the risk of cybercrime did not increase.
Once the surprise effect was over, our customers reprioritized their project portfolio causing a non resumption of non critical projects but also an acceleration of digital projects to adapt to new customer needs. Social distancing, the use of remote channels and the adaptation of regulations to support the economy have created new uses and constraints for our clients who have had to update their digital strategy and associated operational model. This is materialized by the review of the customer relationship where the share of digital associated with the electronic signature has strongly increased and also the proposal of a seamless customer experience via mobile applications to carry out their daily transaction and manage the life cycle of loans from instruction to the management of maturity extensions.
What do you see as the key innovations and technologies that will change the game for banks?
When we talk to our 250 clients across the continent about what they want in terms of innovation, they need to better manage credit risk, streamline costs and improve customer engagement. This is materializing through the digitization of credit processes, the use of artificial intelligence to better score credit files, and leveraging the innovation of certain startups to accelerate the adoption of certain technologies.
We are also seeing the market increasingly demand for Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud ready offerings. On the continent, the cloud for banks is not yet widespread, but major providers such as Amazon and Microsoft are starting to offer cloud solutions that respect data sovereignty.
The disruption will come mainly in the redesign of the customer relationship at the level of all channels; whether it is the agency, the web or mobile where banks will use the same technologies used by GAFA to capture the interest of the customer and transform it into a sales act by offering the right product at the right time. Banks will have to review their architecture to be totally API oriented, but also adopt technologies such as microservices, application containers and artificial intelligence to be able to absorb the increase in instant digital usage.
These evolutions will allow banks to prepare for new challenges such as open banking, instant payments and interoperability with mobile money and bank accounts.