Temenos surprised by emerging market banks’ focus on DevOps

Bank priorities in increasingly disrupted emerging markets are surprising, according to Laurent Bramy, who leads banking software vendor Temenos in developed and emerging Francophile territories, predominantly Europe and Africa.

“We were very much surprised by our clients’ top concerns in emerging markets,” says Bramy.Of course, regulation will always be a cost and they want to minimise the risk, but emerging market clients, their concern is adopting DevOps capabilities, continuous development, which we thought was a tier 1 European or US bank concern.

“Cloud is the same, more difficult with local data regulations, but they are very much interested in our cloud native capabilities, for example, in non production environments where you don’t have customer data, rather than buying machines,” he says.

Bramy was speaking following the announcement that Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB) was using Temenos’ cloud native and cloud agnostic Infinity and T24 Transact products. ATB hopes the adopted cloud technology will help them meet their objective of increasing revenues by 40% by 2020 and doubling the number of deposits.

Bramy believes Temenos’ “global and local” strategy is the main reason behind emerging market bank attraction to the software company.

“Our strategy has always been to be global and local, so our products are the same all around the world with the same source code and we build localisation on top to address local requirements. We do that for every single country which is how we got nine banks running our systems in Tunisia, one by one,” says Bramy.

While Temenos has been enlisted by systemic tier 1s – Santander Openbank, Nordea, ABN AMRO – and smaller challengers – Judo Bank, Pepper (of Bank Leumi) – to execute transformation projects, Bramy thinks Temenos has a wider role to play in a bank’s transformation strategy – more so, within emerging market clients.

“Remember, it’s not only about IT transformation, but rather to deeply transform their organization. With the example of Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT), they renovated completely their branches to avoid those massive queues at front desk by implementing software on each desk that was bespoke to each staff member and allowing them to have conversations with each customer,” he says.

African markets are ripe for disruption for local banks, perhaps to a far greater degree than developed markets, and it all comes down to how the institution approach transformation and its customer acquisition strategy, believes Bramy.

“Developed countries are historically much more invested in the best of breed approach,” he says, “taking one piece here and one piece there and building tons of spaghetti interfaces between systems.

“In emerging countries, in many occasions they build massive systems that are less sophisticated but as a monolith, so it’s easier to replace and easier to transform, in this case,” says Bramy.

As outlined by the CEO of Ghana’s payments infrastructure and the recent cross-regional growth of Mpesa, the Vodacom Group mobile payment service, African banking markets are moving, with customer acquisition firmly on the agenda, according to Bramy, pointing to the loyalty schemes and incentives to use banking services.

“The volume those countries are driving, the tens of millions of customers, it makes a lot of money and a lot of good business,” he says. “With business comes additional business so they [the banks] reinvest into other journeys and other experiences. They’re also more agile in doing joint ventures with other partners, who are not necessarily financial partners.”

*This article was updated on May 17, 2019.

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