Banking on Technology

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Ashutosh Ktripathi, Tech Mahindra Regional Business Head of East Africa

Historically in Ethiopia banks did most of their business manually. Now banks are racing to modernize by using software to provide better service and prevent fraud.

Many International IT companies are taking notice of Ethiopia’s eagerness to acquire the latest technology and are trying to convince banks to purchase and use their technology products.

Tech Mahindra an Indian multinational provider of information technology (IT), networking technology solutions and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to the telecommunications industry. Anand Mahindra is the founder of Tech Mahindra, which is headquartered at Pune, India is one of them.  The company which is working in all the continents of the world is hoping to acquire even more jobs in Ethiopia.

Capital’s Tesfaye Getnet spoke to Tech Mahindra Regional Business Head of East Africa,  Ashutosh Ktripathi to explore the company’s business in Ethiopia.

Capital:  Tell us what Tech Mahindra does.

Ashutosh Ktripathi: Tech Mahindra specializes in digital and IT transformation, as well as business re-engineering. We are a USD 4 billion company with 107,200 professionals across 90 countries, helping over 818 global customers including Fortune 500 companies. Our innovation platforms and reusable assets connect across a number of technologies to deliver tangible business value to our stakeholders. Tech Mahindra is also amongst the ‘Fab 50’ companies in Asia as per the Forbes 2015 List. We are part of the USD 17.8 billion Mahindra Group that employs more than 200,000people in over 100 countries. The Group operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, after-market, information technology and vacation ownership.

Capital: Could you elaborate about some recent projects Tech Mahindra has done for Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to protect consumer data and the Development Bank of Ethiopia to improve the IT system?    

Ktripathi: We’ve worked with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia on key projects such as the implementation of Oracle Enterprise resource planning (ERP), Business Intelligence (BI), Performance Management (Hyperion), solutions on internal fraud, and change management workshops. CBE is the largest Bank in East Africa and we’re thankful that they selected us.  We have automated various bank functions such as HR, finance, procurement/supply chain, and asset management.  This IT modernization program will bring effectiveness and improved efficiency in back-office operations.

We’ve also done a project to control fraud in CBE. This is a big issue around the world.

We would also like to congratulate the Development Bank of Ethiopia for embarking on this key digital transformation project in terms of Oracle ERP and BI implementation and are proud to be selected as the strategic partner to drive this transformation. This deal demonstrates our long term commitment towards the African continent and Ethiopia,

Capital: You have won another IT  transformation deal with The Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU). Can you tell us more?

Ktripathi: We believe that any IT transformation project has to fulfil key business objectives. EEU as a key organization in the country understands this mantra very well and they published this RFP to improve various key areas such as Business / Operations Management, Informed Decision making, Resource and Operational Planning, and Customer Services. Tech Mahindra was declared the winner after a long evaluation process.

In this transformational project, Tech Mahindra will do the end-to-end implementation, stabilization and support of Software Application and Infrastructure (HW). This is a 7 year long project, Tech Mahindra is doing implementation of SAP ERP (Finance and Controlling, HR & payroll, asset mgmt., procurement, project management, quality management, enterprise asset management), customer centric applications & decision support system. Tech Mahindra will also be responsible for a data centre and disaster recovery centre built with IBM and Huawei equipment. Tech Mahindra will also build a contact centre to increase customer service and effectiveness of EEU.

Capital: What can be done to bring more IT jobs to Ethiopia?

Ktripathi: A sustainable business depends on the skill and capacity building of youth and localizing the workforce. We run various skill development programs across Africa for local youth and our customers. We worked with the Free State Government in South Africa to launch a major skill development initiative. The program involves training 200+ youth from the Free State Province at the Tech Mahindra Centre in Hyderabad, India for a period of 6 months. Tech Mahindra has a presence in more than 25 African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, with more than 3,500 people and majority of them being local African employees. We’re willing to do similar programs with our various customers & ministries in Ethiopia; we’ve already completed a training of few CBE staff in India for 1 month.  We’re looking forward to hiring more local people as part of Tech Mahindra in Ethiopia & East Africa.

Capital: Recently the Ethiopian government has mandated that foreign companies will be evaluated 50 percent by financial capacity and half by technical ability are these requirements acceptable for a company like Tech Mahindra?

Ktripathi: In my view, such criterions are decided by the evaluation team or procurement team of specific departments as per their requirements. We as Tech Mahindra do not see any challenge with such evaluation criterion whether 50:50, 60:40, 70:30 or 80:20.

Capital: What challenges have you encountered while working in Ethiopia?

Ktripathi: Honestly speaking the Ethiopian market is good for us because the country is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa. We do face a challenge of finding the right professionals who understand our products and service and we believe that these things can be solved through training.

Capital: What is your future plan regarding sharing or introducing technology with Ethiopian companies and institutions?

Ktripathi: Tech Mahindra is focused on growing business in East Africa; Ethiopia is of strategic importance for us. We see this region as an extremely good potential market and are planning to invest heavily in skill development programs to create a pool of employable youth, apart from exploring possibilities of investing in areas such as IT, BPO and IT infrastructure.

We would like invest in solutions such as Branchless Banking – to bring more and more people to mainstream banking, work with various government departments to achieve their vision of increasing efficiency and effectiveness of operations to serve the citizens of Ethiopia in a better manner & e-campus solutions to enable universities and youth of this country to use an effective automated system.