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Africa Digital Foundry centres Standard Bank, Microsoft’s DX ambitions

By , ITWeb
Africa , 17 Jun 2021

Standard Bank and Microsoft have deepened their 30-year alliance with an announcement of a new partnership, underpinned by the launch of an African Digital Foundry, to accelerate digital transformation of the Bank, and drive growth in Africa.

According to a statement released to the media, The Bank’s growing investment in the Microsoft Cloud “will enable the innovation, efficiencies, and resilience required to respond to market dynamics and customer needs.”

The partnership 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.

As part of the partnership, the companies will also establish the African Digital Foundry (The Foundry).

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

Through the Foundry, the companies aspire to reach 100 million customers in Africa over the next five years.

Standard Bank Group Chief Executive, Sim Tshabalala said: “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. The partnership will further enhance and create ongoing collaboration between our firms around co-engineering solutions for African consumers’ unique needs.”

Skills and SME development

According to the partners, the alliance will also drive digital skills development, boost youth employment, and accelerate the growth of SMEs on the African continent.

Microsoft and Standard Bank 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 said, “Continuing to build on the partnership is 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. Our journey is underpinned by collaborative efforts to develop, scale and roll-out digital solutions that will deliver personalised services to 100 million Africans and by meeting their unique and evolving needs and demands.”

He added: “Investing in the cloud will allow Standard 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.”

Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Worldwide Commercial Business, added: “Standard Bank’s cloud-first strategy underlines the growing momentum in financial services to deliver differentiated experiences that today’s customers expect. As a long-standing technology partner, we are pleased to collaborate with Standard Bank in realising 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.”

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