South Africa is one of the most beautiful and flourishing places on Earth. And also one of the hardest hit by socio-economic inequality and exclusion. For years, the underserved citizens of South Africa have been denied access and opportunities to prosper.
New innovations in business models and digital technologies have begun to show an equitable way forward. But they must be adopted in a way that advances the moral imperative of financial inclusion, for real change to happen.
"South Africa has so much opportunity," says Jo-Ann Pöhl, Group Chief Financial Officer for iOCO. She approaches these systemic challenges with optimism, as she offers a new vision for the future. Pöhl believes "what this means for iOCO is really the opportunity to make sure from an economic perspective, we're able to go and grow further together."
In a world where rapidly advancing technologies are altering the course of humanity, iOCO's purpose is to help clients overcome challenges, blaze a path forward, and to do so with pride, integrity, and innovation towards a sustainable and transformative future. Inspired by the opportunity to provide winning solutions for their clients, the iOCO brand brings together a community of great people with the best technology to serve humanity.
The financial sector of South Africa has traditionally been run by the Big 4, now Big 5, banks. It is extremely difficult for new banks to build the infrastructure and regulatory requirements needed to enter the market. But, as a side effect, new providers and disruptors have begun to offer flexible banking to an untapped, motivated workforce ready to grow the economy.
Simon Just, Cluster Executive: Advisory, Solutions, and Marketing for iOCO, recognized the need to innovate beyond how traditional banks have offered loans in the past. "People starting small businesses are looking for loans differently," Just noted. iOCO knew they could be poised to lead this transformation, but it would require the right expertise and technical solutions to meet these ambitious objectives.
"We created success by evolving from a software as a service environment into a full banking as a service." Johan Bosch, Executive Director for iOCO Managed Services knew that he could amplify and extend the value of their mainframe as part of their vision for hybrid cloud to meet the needs of iOCO's customers.
The impact of this vision and the supporting technology strategy has been profound. Bosch shared that "One of the new mutual banks partnered with us specifically to get a fast entry into the market, without all of the capital investment required. We have proven three months later, the product was live in the market and they've grown phenomenally with huge success."
This would not have been possible without the mainframe and right software tools, to open up, manage, and scale the environment. Bosch noted, "Nothing can match the transaction performance of a mainframe, and the way that we manage the platform using Broadcom technology is a real differentiator for us. We can deliver the services at 25% of the cost when measured against standalone banking environments."
To take on the risk, and deliver these types of banking, loan, equity, and insurance products in a cost-effective manner, iOCO needed transactions to be faster, more affordable, and they needed the right technology platform and team underpinning it all. Bosch goes on to say that, "having Broadcom as a partner really allows us to deliver unique innovation. Their commitment to our organization, [and] to our customers in South Africa has been phenomenal."
iOCO has an ongoing strategic partnership with Broadcom, and a shared vision for a community of great people, with the best technology, coming together to serve humanity. With these banking services that enable small businesses to compete and provide the services that fuel financial inclusion, there is now hope for this next generation of entrepreneurs and employees to lead South Africa to brighter days. It will take a collective effort, with access to capital, and a ladder up to real growth and equity across the entire nation. Jo-Ann Pöhl continues to see this societal goal as the driving benchmark for financial services in South Africa. "If you do this right with banking, you will change the shape of what inclusion looks like."
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