Microsoft East Africa’s country manager Sebuh Haileleul spoke to Allan Olingo on tech apps in the financial services industry.
How is technology enabling financial companies to transform digitally?
Financial services organisations are at a tipping point. Faced with fierce market pressures — nimble disrupters, complex regulations, digital native customers — technology transformation in the industry is essential, and it is increasingly becoming the competitive edge.
Banks and financial technology companies (fintechs) start-ups must digitally transform in order to better respond to the ever changing services needs of customers.
How have advanced technological innovations affected the need to remain competitive?
Digital technology continues to disrupt all sectors of life, from individuals and businesses to governments and nations.
For the banking sector, pressure to incorporate new technology is not just coming from customer expectations, but also from the rise in competition from fintechs.
Banks must innovate in the way they engage with customers and collaborate with colleagues. We are already seeing the potential of disruptive technologies like blockchain to revolutionise how businesses and people transact.
Of note is the increased customer service, legacy knowledge and the changing laws across the continent and globally, the challenges posed by organisations dealing with sensitive data.
Non-compliance can cost companies a great deal.
Security measures, business processes and the like must therefore be looked at from an organisational perspective.
Finserve last month launched mKey — Africa’s first keyboard app. Tell us more about this app, and how Microsoft is contributing to its functioning.
MKey converges social as well as financial services into one integrated lifestyle.
The name mKey, plays on the concept of providing users with the key to unlocking new possibilities through the fusion of financial and social media into one exciting keyboard app.
The app does this through empowering users to perform daily tasks such as reading local and international news, sharing stuff on social media, aggregate local content, apply for and paying mobile loans, pay for goods and services, send and receive money as well as a chama and group accounts that work like social chat groups. All of this through the keyboard itself.
The app also provides those who use it with rewards the more they transact. Users are instantly able to earn stars and complete levels for performing financial transactions. Rewards offered include free airtime and the option to increase loan limits.
The app targets Kenya’s increasingly digital population, becoming savvier in enhancing their lifestyle through technology and who want to perform financial transactions without visiting a bank or even switching apps.
Users are also able to send and receive money, transfer cash between bank and mobile wallet accounts and, for the first time, open a group account where up to 10 members can make group payments and transactions.