In recent years, the East African financial sector has increased drastically in size. Today, countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are some of the most advanced financial sectors on the African continent.
In Kenya in particular, the number of bank branches in the country more than doubled over a ten-year period between 2005-2015. But as the sector grows, so do the problems that challenge it. In Kenya, particularly, fluctuating interest rates and ever-changing legislation are tightening revenue streams more than ever before.
On one hand, financial services companies face an increasingly tech-literate customer base – one that expects their banks and insurance providers to provide a more advanced customer experience than ever. On the other, they face tightening revenues and a desperate need to save costs. The solution? Office 365, an intelligent, cloud-based IT environment that lets companies optimise costs and maintain a high level of services and a market leading customer experience.
For many organisations, the subscription-based nature of the Office 365 pricing model is one of its main attractions. Traditionally, organisations had to invest large amounts of money in upfront hardware costs in order to deploy an effective on-premises IT environment. Of these, the most significant is a server; an expensive piece of hardware with a fixed amount of storage that will eventually need to be replaced some years down the line.
With cloud technology, however, organisations subscribe to services and storage on a monthly basis, rather than paying irregular and expensive one-time purchases. This means organisations can balance and predict their costs more effectively, replacing expensive one-time capital expenditure server costs with smaller, regular operational payments.
As well as server costs, however, Office 365 also eliminates the need to buy annual software licenses. Cloud-based versions of familiar Office applications like Word, Excel and Outlook are included in the subscription. This marks an end to the days of buying and updating new software licenses for the Office suite every few years.
In the past 10-15 years, the financial services sector in East Africa has grown to become the largest on the African continent. In terms of amount of adults with bank accounts, Kenya leads the continent, and Tanzania isn’t far behind. Across Kenya, Tanzania and surrounding areas, businesses are growing larger and providing better services than before.
Unfortunately, traditional on-premises IT can cause a barrier to business growth. Eventually, with more data, more users, more customers and more documents, a business will outgrow the capacity of their existing server. The same goes for on-premises software, which is often sold with a finite number of user licenses. Through a combination of having to expand the existing environment, and replacing outdated hardware, organisations are used to inconsistent and often unpredictable IT costs.
With Office 365, all of this is combined into one seamless subscription. Technology never needs to be replaced, because updates are included in the price, and automatically downloaded onto users’ desktops. As well as this, the fact that subscriptions are charged per user means that an organisation’s costs will scale naturally as the business grows.
Eliminate maintenance costs
With Office 365, it’s not just hardware and licensing costs that you can eliminate. One of the most important benefits of the package is the ability to give your IT department the time to work on higher value tasks.
In a traditional on-premises IT environment, IT staff must spend a lot of time ensuring the network is working at its best. That includes loading patches and updates onto the network, but also testing hardware and fixing problems when they arise.
These highly manual tasks are virtually eliminated with Office 365. If you remove the need for physical hardware like servers, you also remove the need to spend valuable time maintaining it. This includes the time spent loading patches and updates onto the network. With cloud technology like Office 365, organisations reduce the time that their IT staff need to spend on mundane daily maintenance tasks. The companies can then optimise their costs by freeing up these resources to dedicate to value-adding work elsewhere.
Benefits of the cloud for the financial sector
It’s clear that the financial sector in East Africa, whilst becoming more prosperous, is also facing tighter revenue streams than ever before. To continue providing market-leading services, companies must take advantage of technology that allows them to optimise costs and create new streams of revenue without sacrificing on quality of service. Office 365 is the perfect cloud environment to help achieve this goal.