UPDATE: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IMPERATIVES: INNOVATIVE EVOLUTION OR DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION? DAY 1


A 2-day (September 14th & 15th 2017) event, organized by Interswitch  group at Landmark Events Centre, V.I., Lagos, Nigeria.

I want to give you the highlights of the discussions at the event. There were presentations on issues bordering around digitalization, payment solutions and health care, but I want to give you the highlights of the panelist discussions.

There have been some disruptions in the Financial Technology industry in recent times, due to the innovations that have brought about changes in the industry. These disruptions have made the industry advance beyond where it used to be, hence putting players on their toes.

The event was held to highlight the changes already in the Fintech industry, the challenges and proffer solutions to the seemingly existing challenges.
 
Players in the industry were encouraged to see beyond the big picture, hence keep being innovative.

 I was late for the event. Went in when the first session, was rounding off, but I was able to grasp a few things in this session.

First session:

Banking/Payment/Fintech : Building The Bank Of The Future – Facts, Fads & Fiction.

Panelists:
Brett King – CEO, Moven
Dipo Fatokun - Director, Banking & payment Solutions, CBN
Uzoma Dozie - GMD/CEO Diamond Bank
Austin Okere - Founder & Vice chairman, CWG Plc
Abiye Koko -  Group CIO, Access Banl Plc
Shola Akinlade - co-founder & CEO Paystack
Degbola Abudu - MD, Capricorn Digital
Akeem Lawal -  Divisional CEO, Interswitch
John Chaplin, Former Executive Vice President, VISA (African Payment Innovation Jury).

Highlights:

FINTECH - Technology companies offering financial services.

Every industry will be led by a tech company in the next 10yrs.

The future of banking:

Banking in Nigeria has developed rapidly much more than other developing countries,  due to the emergence of ever increasing customers.

To keep the ball rolling, Fintech Industry must expand its horizon and provide services for millions of small businesses that create jobs for people. The banking n doing this, the banking industry will keep developing.

Smart phones have really helped in providing  payment solutions in the Nigerian banking system. It has also helped in the opening of account and customer service.

In the next 2-3 years, the Nigerian banking industry will be a place to be, due to the technological advancement; people are building innovative products by the day.  It depends on how fast people are willing to embrace change.

With the change in technology, if you're not ready to compete or react, you're going to go out of business.

One challenge is that Fintech companies go after the same customers the banks have; with good structures on ground, Fintech companies  and banks can co-exist with any hassle.

A better way of having an edge in the market is to do the following:  

1. Sort out what is already in existence.
2. Create new values -  Businesses, products & services.

In the Fintech landscape in Nigeria, some operators are being regulated by CBN while others are being regulated by NCC. The likes of banks and interswich are beig regulated by the CBN, while the Telecomms operators are being regulated by NCC.

To aid operations, our banks are basically turning to Technology companies offering financial services. The truth in this age is that, Consumers need banking not banks.

Other entities will be allowed to offer fin services. Most of the Financial services today are being delivered by Fintech companies, people hardly go to bank for transaction.

Every bank is bracing up to catch up with the technological changes.

Over the years, banks have accumulated data that the Fintech are using to create more value for the customer.

On the issue of Financial inclusion:  It was said that Financial identity has to be centralized for a unified identification process.

In Nigeria, The demand for financial services is increasing in some areas, while its declining in other areas. It’s declining in the North and increasing in the West and East. To this end, BVN is no longer required for tie- one ( starting point) financial service, which is the start point.

By 2025, banks dependence on smart phones for service delivery will skyrocket; more chips are being built into these phones that aid financial transactions.

Technology reduces cost in banking and helps to deliver customer experience. By 2025 the biggest banks in the world will be banks with very high level technology.

2nd Session:

Talent In Tech: Managing Talent In Tech And Fintech Businesses.

Panelists:



Jay Alabraba – Co-founder and Business Development Director, Paga.
Adora Ikwuemesi – CEO, Kendor Consulting
Chimezie Emewulu – CEO Seamfix
Omomene Odike – CEO Gr8jobsNG & U-Connect Solutions
Tope Ologunloye – Head HR, Systems Specs.

Highlights:

Searching for a means of addressing the talent issues within the tech industry:
General question: Do you think talent is tech's biggest issue? Which talent issue is the biggest challenge facing the tech industry?  Or what is d biggest issue within the tech ecosystem?

Answer: Retention.

Retention is the biggest issue because of the millennials. The millennials/Talents either resign to further their education or move to your competition.

There tends to be a rotation in the industry because all employers need the same circle or pool of people. Most companies are not ready to groom. Africa has this tech talent issue.

On the contrary, you need to look out for what the millennials want and Micro manage them. People want to have jobs they can boldly tell their friends it’s their brain child.

Engagement is the key thing. Employ and allow them to think and solve problems.

Compensate and reward them:  Giving points on accomplishments, subsidized or free launch, Introduce super exciting projects, conducive housing, build a Culture, constant power supply, internet , amongst other. The bottom line is that you need to take a more global approach. Know what the global brands like google, Microsoft, Apple…. do to retain talents and follow suit.

Leadership and management is another area. Have strong leaders to coach people and bring them up. People want autonomy in the work they do. They only need coaching. They want to have a say in the work they do. We need to customize our management style to fit the people we manage.

The tech industry has academics & knowledge but they lack the skills. Employability is a major issue in the market. Talent is a major issue globally. There is a projection of 200,000 shortage of skilled workers to work in Silicon Valley next year.

Skills & development are not moving at the same pace. There are ways we can bridge those gaps. Innovation is driven by people. We need to raise the people to champion the innovation and meet up with the advancement.


The Cool Factor: The 'cool factor' is the issue. Minennials are always wanting to work in the coolest of organizations and coolest of projects. People love working on projects they love within the organization.

Find out what they enjoy. Collaborate with them. There has to be a lineup of training on program to develop their management skills.

Development and retention: If you want to retain your workforce, you must invest in their development.

Agile development methodology: This  is another way to retain employees ; People want to be noticed on their good works on a daily basis. Most employees  people work for their friends not for themselves. Always wanting to show-off  to their friends.

The gig economy: We are in a gig economy right now, where talents want to be freelancers.  The freelancing issue is an indication of innovation in the market; to keep up with the market, you either innovate or you die.

Flexibility: Our workforce is getting younger, therefore flexible work environment is key. Flexibility to choose problems they want to work on. Getting the job done is what matters and not when they clock in. To get maximum results on projects you need to pull people free different ends of the company to work on a project.

 Equity: making everyone feel being a part of the company. Microsoft is one company that has stock options for all staff.

You don’t need to look for specialists. You make them learn all they need to know, to do all they need to do. Learning happens best when you tweak their minds to learn on their own. Also, open their minds to learn on the job.

In summary, employers should come up with Creative reward strategy, check demography and bridge skills gap.

Fintech is designed to outsmart the smartest minds. 

Everyone working in the technology industry is a talent in the technology industry.

As countries digitally advance, countries improve on their productivity.

3rd Session:

Pan-African Trade: Breaking down Barriers – unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential Through Digitalization.

Panelists:

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji – Co-founder & CEO Flutterwave
Omolara Akanji – Director Sterling bank & Former Director, Trade & exchange, CBN
Nnnenna Anyim Okoro – Head, product Management, TPG, Stanbic IBTC
Rudy Kawmi – regional Sales Lead, EMEA digital Banking Solutions, FINASTRA
Matt Sloan – VP,Global Business Development, Discover Financial Services
Emeka Uzoigwe – Head, Product development and Innovation, AFREXIM Bank
Charles Ifedi – Ceo, Verve International.

Highlights:
Nigeria is part of the International Chambers of commerce (ICC) and we are signatory to ICC rules, but we have not implemented it, due to our retardation in digitization.
 
The reason for the slow trade in most African is the slow pace in digitization. In Nigeria it is because the customs process is yet to be fully digitalized to facilitate trade.

Paper is no longer on vogue, we need to embrace blockchain as a disruptive technology; blockchain is changing the payment world. It is here and for the future.

The era of branches in the banking sector is gradually fizzling out. There are digital banks with no physical presence in some regions of the world. An example of such banks is the Ferradum Bank in Europe. This bank does not have a single branch. They use the mobile devices we hold in our hands to deliver services to their customers. They are in over 150 cities.  

There are challenges in intra- African trade which are as follows:

Structure rigidity, No seaport, poor infrastructures, poor trade facilitations, inefficiencies of customs, taxation, currency, data security, poor implementation of regional commitment - exchange rate, inflation, budget deficit. Africa has the largest number of countries and borders.

There is multiple market information, such that you really don't know who to believe.

The Challenge around data security is that everyone is trying to withhold their data.


Solution:
The commitments of these countries need to strengthen, such as government policies and commitment.

Government needs to work closely with the financial institutions to make things easy for the merchants.

The issue of multiple market information can be addressed with full digitization of a system.

Let's be good players in our local markets, collaborate across Africa and be very attractive to the global market.

In every step taken in trade, there are legal issues as recognized by the international chamber of commerce. Lawyers are advised to identify with ICC arbitration. 

Merchants are also advised to involve the services of lawyers in their transactions. Employing the services of a lawyer makes the process easier.


It is worthy of note that 40% of Nigeria’s GDP is in services, therefore the service sector should be given every necessary support to aid its smooth running. 

Watch out for tomorrow's panelists. 
 Click here for Day 2

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