Technology driven transformation key to South African banks’ future in the Flat World

Industry experts and Finacle from Infosys share insights on the impact of banking in the flat world

Johannesburg, 30th May, 2007: Finacle from Infosys and Business Connexion today announced the successful conclusion of their banking executive forum in South Africa held at The Saxon, Johannesburg. The event, one of the series which had earlier been held in prominent cities across the globe like Sydney, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur etc., was centered on the theme, “Win in the flat world: business transformation drivers for South African banks”. This chapter, being held in South Africa for the first time, brought together an array of thought leaders and visionaries from the banking industry. Chaired by Don Free, Research Director at Gartner and Sanat Rao, Global Head – Sales for Finacle, Infosys, the event addressed key issues and challenges faced by the South African banking industry.

The banking industry is in the midst of a transformation and both business and technology professionals need to prepare themselves for the banking customer of the coming decade. Today’s customer is increasingly demanding and innovative concepts that can address the diverse requirements of a large customer base are key to the success for banks across the globe. This message came through clearly in the deliberations and discussions at the event.

In his keynote address, Free shared the latest trends in the banking industry with specific relevance to globalization. Outlining the critical success factors for South African banks, Free suggested that core banking replacement would be the key driver for banks in the region that are still operating on legacy systems.

“The reality is that these legacy systems are very expensive to maintain – both from a technology and staffing perspective,” says Tony Rall, regional executive of business applications at Business Connexion’s Johannesburg Regional Office. “New generation applications which run on cheaper platforms are required in the ever changing financial services environment.”

According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core banking report, the critical success factors for contemporary banks to create value in this industry are operating efficiency, scalability, agility and time-to-market, and most importantly, a lower total cost of ownership of their IT infrastructure. These would be the key influencers in selecting the platform to power institutions into next generation banking.

In light of the changing regulatory landscape of banking in the country, banks need access to flexible solutions that integrate seamlessly and cost effectively. Rall says one of the biggest issues faced by financial institutions is the technical requirements brought on by new legislation such as the National Credit Act. The National Credit Act comes into full effect on 1 June 2007 and financial institutions have had to make substantial investments in gearing up their technology for the new requirements. “A solution such as Finacle, provides them the flexibility of modular implementation, so as a new requirement is identified they only need to add that module and not overhaul the entire system” he concludes.

In an interesting session on Partnership for Transformation, Rao acknowledged that Tier1 banks across the globe have recognized the need and urgency to commence with the core systems replacement program. “The core banking landscape is poised at one of the most exciting and defining phases and is likely to witness considerable momentum”, says Rao. Commenting on the banking scenario in the South African region, he adds, “This is the most opportune period for banks and technology partners to leverage the transformation opportunity and create successful partnerships.”

About Gartner Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking

Source: Gartner, Inc. “Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking, 2006” Don Free, 25 January 2007

The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted 25 January 2007 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendor’s measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the “Leaders” quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About Finacle Universal Banking Solution

Finacle from Infosys helps banks WIN IN THE FLAT WORLD by providing solutions and services that enable a shift in their strategic and operational priorities. The offerings address the comprehensive technology-led business transformation requirements of retail, corporate and universal banks worldwide by maximizing their opportunities for growth, while minimizing the risks that come with such large scale transformation. For more information, visit www.infosys.com/finacle

About Infosys Technologies Ltd.

Infosys (NASDAQ: INFY) defines, designs and delivers IT-enabled business solutions that help Global 2000 companies win in a flat world. These solutions focus on providing strategic differentiation and operational superiority to clients. With Infosys, clients are assured of a transparent business partner, world-class processes, speed of execution and the power to stretch their IT budget by leveraging the Global Delivery Model that Infosys pioneered. Infosys has over 72,000 employees in over 39 offices worldwide. Infosys is part of the NASDAQ-100 Index. For more information, visit www.infosys.com.

About Business Connexion

Business Connexion (Pty) Ltd is a leading black empowered integrator of innovative business solutions based on information and communications technology (ICT). With over 4500 employees and a track record spanning 28 years, Business Connexion runs mission-critical ICT systems and manages products, services and solutions for JSE listed and key public sector organisations, parastatals and medium-sized companies. Business Connexion has a unique Solutions Integration Model that illustrates how clients are placed at the centre of all activities surrounded by expertise in four principal business areas: Technology Infrastructure, Business Applications, Outsourcing and Communications. In order to deliver a world-class service Business Connexion has developed strong relationships and attained top-level certification with many of the world’s leading ICT suppliers.