Leveraging technology

Accelerating innovation, go-to-market strategies and platform delivery stands central to our business strategy. The pandemic presented our Technology division with the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and adoption during the year. By entrenching our entrepreneurial culture and agile practices, we improved our ability to execute on strategic growth and business model innovation objectives. Formal innovation pipelines now ensure constant value delivery.

Organisationally, technology remained steadfast in managing risks, operations, and stability. It:

  • acts as an advisor to the business;
  • aligns skills and talent with changing business needs related to digital enablement; and
  • has been accelerating internal IT transformation as much as business digital transformation.

While Technology operates as a service provider to our subsidiaries, we now also provide a partnership model in our operating model and approach.

Over the past three years, we transformed our technology operations extensively to ensure future sustainability and to support centralised and decentralised operations across subsidiaries. We maintain our strategic drive towards improving customer centricity, underpinned by partnership, collaboration, prioritisation, and alignment according to the Group's strategy.

FY2021 highlights

Core production system changes:
1 037
(FY2020: 673)

Transaction platforms for new business innovation under development:
12
(FY2020: 1)

Stability of market-facing platforms:
99.52%
(FY2020: 99%)

IT General Controls Audit:
95%
(FY2020: 93%)

Over the past year, we have seen many of the initiatives conceived or launched start bearing fruit:

  • food vouchers with cash redemption;
  • virtual vouchers for partner redemption (BluVoucher);
  • an online platform for accounts and bill payments (Unipay);
  • airtime (Ringas) with consumer-ready digital redemption mechanisms.

We expanded consumer convenience with universal bus flows and new carriers for long-haul bus transport. In addition, we deployed hyper-automation and RPA technologies to enhance the merchant and consumer experience. The software development stack has been expanded with low-code, no-code application development functions to fast-track our go-to-market strategies.

Under the banner of digital enablement, we have applied the following key changes:

  • We are ingraining digital commerce into various aspects of our operations. Subsidiaries will benefit from having more digital opportunities added to their digital roadmaps, while we foresee cost savings resulting from data-driven decision-making and behavioural insights.
  • New divisional CIO roles, remaining under the governance of the Group CTIO, will bolster Blue Label's software development, core systems transformation and the provision of technology services to subsidiaries that hold proprietary technologies while ensuring cloud transformation of traditional infrastructure.
  • BluNova, under the leadership of its own CEO, opens the door to new revenue opportunities through data-driven insights.

Other highlights over the year included:

  • Infrastructure transformation: We are supporting digital business models with computational scalability by enabling hosting on modern infrastructure, strengthening our core businesses at the same time. We are building a hybrid-cloud infrastructure, shifting our datacentre to the cloud over three years, and we have completed our high availability deployment.
  • Core platforms transformation: We continually advance our platforms for increased stability, revenue generation and core business transformation. Our initiatives on this front included building out our gateway capabilities, simplifying the IT cost model and launching additional digital distribution channels.
  • Digital business transformation: The pandemic expedited our move towards a remote workplace and we implemented cloud computing and collaboration technologies while digitising many of our processes. We are also applying data-driven decisioning and behavioural insights, enabled by an aggressive build-out of the BluNova product set, scoring and decisioning environment.
  • Ongoing operational stability: Our core distribution system stability remains at record highs.
  • Information security: As we capitalise on digital technologies, cybersecurity remains a core focus. Our increased cybersecurity investments have ensured zero impact and enabled reliability across platforms. Our newly implemented security and governance frameworks offer customers peace of mind.

Outlook

Our strategic focus is on innovation, insights, and decisioning for faster go-to-market. This is all backed by increased digital transformation and the transition towards a customer-centric business structure and operating model. In the medium term, we aim to streamline our core systems, enabling leaner business models and more flexibility while embracing the hybrid-cloud environment.

Our objectives for FY2022 include:

  • Embracing the hybrid-cloud environment;
  • Reducing supplier costs;
  • Ensuring stability and uptime;
  • Shifting from enabling digital availability to enabling digital business models;
  • Advancing our real-time insights; and
  • Developing our staff while simultaneously ensuring equity compliance.

By mining and enriching our data, we can build insight-led business decisioning services and access segments of the market that were previously underserved.