Standard Bank and Microsoft target digital transformation for Africa

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Agility, Resilience and Innovation are the three words that the partnership between Standard Bank and Microsoft need to drive Africa’s Growth. This comes as the two Fortune 500 companies have announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the digital transformation of Africa’s largest financial institution and further drive the continent’s growth.

According to the information at hand, the partnership envisage creating a digital platform, application modernisation and cloud migration of the continent’s largest financial institution that will enable innovation, resilience and cost-efficiencies thus allowing Standard Bank to respond to customer needs.

The partnership builds on the 30-year relationship between the two companies and involves migrating workloads, applications, and platforms to Microsoft Azure to drive organisational efficiencies, as well as workforce collaboration with Azure, PowerApps, Workplace Analytics and Microsoft Teams.

According to Standard Bank Group Chief Executive, Sim Tshabalala, Investing in the cloud will allow the bank to achieve its strategy to transform from a traditional financial services company into a digital platform company, providing financial services, plus ancillary and associated services. “We have adopted a cloud-first strategy, underpinned by end-to-end security and data-driven insights that will enable transformation with tangible results.”

Microsoft’s executive vice president of Worldwide Commercial Business, Judson Althoff said Standard Bank’s cloud-first strategy underlines the growing momentum in financial services to deliver differentiated experiences that today’s customers expect.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Standard Bank in realizing this strategy and in becoming Africa’s future-first financial services firm through digital skilling-focused initiatives that will expand economic opportunity for young people across Africa,” he said.

The two companies will also: establish the African Digital Foundry (The Foundry), a strategic alliance, for Standard Bank and Microsoft to collaborate to co-create unique solutions through new technology to meet the financial needs of Africa’s consumers. Through the Foundry, the companies aspire to reach 100 million customers in Africa over the next five years.

This will be a win-win situation for youth with the relevant digital skills needed to secure future-ready jobs and equip Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with digital skills and capabilities so that they can take advantage of the growing shift to digital technologies.

Standard Bank and Microsoft will co-create and execute joint go-to-market digital services related to trade, payment, and risk-based (lending and insurance) solutions. They will also develop ecosystems enabling digital trading to facilitate Africa’s growth.

“The Foundry is a digital initiative established in Africa, for Africans, to address the unique challenges the continent faces with customised innovations, services and solutions,” says Tshabalala. “The partnership will further enhance and create ongoing collaboration between our firms around co-engineering solutions for African consumers’ unique needs.”

Both organisations believe that digital transformation represents an opportunity for the continent to leap ahead, taking a leading role in enabling economic and societal growth in Africa.

The two entities will leverage their combined research, industry, partner and start-up programmes to impact the continent – where similar opportunities and challenges exist – using technology such as mixed reality and artificial intelligence.

Tshabalala explained that continuing to build on the partnership was part of the ongoing journey that Standard Bank and Microsoft are on to invest in digital transformation as the enabler of meaningful and tangible innovation. Will deliver personalised services to 100 million Africans and by meeting their unique and evolving needs and demands,” he hinted.

 

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