Adopt technology or be doomed, Saccos told


By Malachi Motano

Saving and Credit Cooperative Societies (Sacco) leaders must counter the fear of redundancy that is slowing the adoption of technology in their institutions.

The Head of information Technology (IT) at Boresha Sacco Winnie Sergon says it is only through adoption of technology that they can compete effectively in the financial sector.

“It is until Saccos embrace digitisation that they will become competitive in the finance sector,” said Sergon.

She said the shift to technology will transform and accelerate growth of the Saccos but many are adverse to that due to fear of making employees redundant.

“The shift has been met with instances of objection as some employees believe that digitisation will lead to the automation of processes, rendering their jobs redundant,” she said.

She was speaking at a panel during the virtual East Africa SaccoTech Forum 2021 organized by CIO East Africa themed: Accelerating The Change in Saccos.

The four-hour session invites stakeholders in the Sacco space within East Africa to deliberate on pertinent issues.

She said IT departments of many Saccos are still hesitant to embrace digitisation fully for the fear that it may reduce the chances of success or effectiveness.

“Many Saccos in Kenya have developed strategic plans are expected to give them competitive advantage, including the digitisation of customer relationship management and regulatory framework, monitoring, evaluation and mentorship and capacity building,” she says.

Laura Chite, CEO of CIO East Africa said Saccos emerged as a response to the long bureaucratic processes associated with commercial banks and have become increasingly popular particularly with people who have had little success procuring credit from banks.

“Traditionally, Saccos have had their fair share of challenges that have hampered growth and profitability and like other organisations they were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

She however said theyhave found news ways of doing things and some are already thriving which can be attributed to cutting edge technologies that are levelling the plaing field for Saccos

The technologies include cloud computing, Fintech, marketing automations, data analytics and digital identity.

“Look at how your technology maps into your business strategy, several critical questions, like what your Sacco should invest in can be answered by trends such as IT security, data analytics, cloud computing,” she added.

Sacco’s inspire a saving culture and have wider, far reaching impacts that touch on people’s lives.

The website says people in all parts of the world especially in Africa have a high level of comfort when it comes to mobile financial services because they depend more on Saccos.

It says while Africa is a massive market when it comes to mobile financial services like mobile money, mobile banking among others, it however has a low banking penetration.

That is because the unbanked people are directly dependent on Saccos for their credit and savings and so it only makes sense to marry both of them.

At the meeting, the CEO of Intrasoft International Wambui Mbesa, opines that in this 4th Industrial Revolution, Saccos must prioritize setting aside budgets and embracing forward-thinking strategies and re-writing the Sacco rulebook.

“The only sure way to grow and thrive as Saccos now and in the future is to embrace digitisation that will in return rewrite the Sacco rulebook. At Intrasoft, we promise to walk that journey with Saccos,” She said,

Paul Nabiswa the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Analytics at ‎Envision Global observed that the COVID-19 pandemic was another major motivation for the digitisation journey.

He said it forced the industry and the banking sector to adopt social distancing measures to curb the spread of the disease but they still deliver the seamless services promised to their clients.

“In such times it is imperative that Saccos embrace digital channels that can minimize human contact,” he said.

Tony Mutero the General Manager of ICT at Police Sacco said digital leadership must now explore the growing use of digital technologies in addressing the digitisation gap in Saccos.

“Technologies like Cloud enable Saccos to provide service without a lot of expenditure thereby maximising on profits,” he added.

Sharing is caring!

Not Allowed