How will DPO and PayGate build a pan-African payment service?
The DPO Group, east Africa’s largest online payments processor, today announced a significant majority stake in PayGate, South Africa’s largest online payment processor, to create a pan-African presence. We tuned into the press conference, live tweeted and soaked up all the details. If you missed our Twitter coverage, you can catch up with a brief Q&A :
How big is DPO’s majority stake in PayGate?
We are creating a new holding company in South Africa, which will be held by both 3G Direct Pay Holdings Limited (3GDP) and the current PayGate shareholders. This holding company, will hold a 100 percent shareholding in PayGate. As part of the transaction PayGate has already notified and garnered the support of key clients and partners.
What will it mean for existing clients?
PayGate will continue its business and operations with the existing management, and will retain its clients. The clients will continue their relationship with PayGate management and staff. We aim to use the expanded capabilities of the group to enhance the service offering and add to the already excellent service PayGate is giving today.
What will it mean for staff? Will there be downsizing?
There is no overlapping between 3GDP and PayGate. They complement each other, geographically and service wise. We expect that the merger will contribute substantially to growing the business, and we expect to increase the staff accordingly.
Peter Harvey will continue as the MD of PayGate and will join the board of the Direct Pay Online (DPO) Group. David Beukes will take the role of global CTO for the DPO Group. The DPO Group is excited to be adding not only the experience and skill-set of the senior management, but also bringing on-board the excellent team Peter and David have nurtured in PayGate.
Where will the HQ of the new company be?
The HQ of the group is in Ireland, whilst the pan-African HQ is in Nairobi. The Southern African HQ will remain in Cape Town. The expanded DPO Group will allow clients to draw seamlessly from the Groups “on-the-ground” expertise afforded by the larger geographic footprint.
How will it deal with regulatory issues in different regions? Will it be calling for more harmonisation in SADC to follow suit of the East African trading blocs, and until such time does this add to the costs of delivering services?
As a pan-African Group, we are aware to the different jurisdictions and regulators/ regulations. It is part of doing business in Africa. We envision the group’s understanding of these different regulatory aspects to be a competitive advantage in being able to assist our clients as they grow into Africa. Ultimately, this single point of contact and local understanding will reduce the costs of delivering a pan-African service for our clients, a key driver of this merger.
Finally, both PayGate and the DPO Group have been keen advocates of stronger regulation across Africa and have a deep history in working proactively with regulators, we look forward to be a positive force in shaping the online payment regulations across the continent.
Is this the beginning of consolidation of the payments industry?
We believe that there is a material advantage to scale in the payment industry, especially when one aims to become a pan-African player and provide seamless and world class service. We believe that there is room for consolidation, as most of the players in the online payments space are too small to develop the necessary technology and infrastructure to provide merchants with a service that is comparable to other parts of the world.
We will look to complement this scale with a local understanding of each market, with the aim of ultimately providing our clients the best of both worlds – world class products and services tailored to the African market.
How big is the pan-African e-tailing opportunity?
The African ecommerce market is expected to be worth $50 billion by 2018 (up from $8 billion in 2013), providing a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors. Although ecommerce exists as a long-term opportunity in Africa, it’s growth has been reasonably slow as only 26.5 percent of the 1 billion people living in Africa are connected to the internet.
With inadequate infrastructure and erratic electricity supply, e-commerce faces its fair share of challenges. Apart from these, one of the biggest hurdles that B2C e-commerce in Africa needs to overcome is the lack of viable payment systems. Africa’s bandwidth challenge is well on its way to being resolved, but the online payments system still has a long way to go.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”