The detail

To support its vision of becoming the ‘go-to’ bank across Africa, the leadership has made improving its technology infrastructure a strategic priority. With this priority came the need for external expertise to support their vision and a trusted advisor to help set up a Commercial Office function, improving their technology architecture.

Improving its technology architecture is a strategic priority for this bank. The challenge? Setting up a commercial office function and tools across 11 African countries…


Designed & implemented a CO function.


Current state assessment of commercial capabilities, designed a TOM for the CO, created the CO toolbox.

This major African financial services provider offers personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management. To support its vision of becoming the ‘go-to’ bank across Africa, and to enable growth, they have made improving its technology infrastructure a strategic priority.

Technical and managerial skills in the 11 countries are a scarce commodity and the bank required support to deliver the transformation. The bank partnered with two service providers to implement a remediation programme and to establish an infrastructure estate across the continent that was fit-for-purpose, and that could be sustainably managed and updated in future.

A Commercial Office (CO) function was required to manage and oversee all commercial aspects of this programme.

Why Elixirr?

The bank needed external expertise and a trusted advisor, so they engaged us for our internationally recognised capabilities in sourcing advisory, vendor selection and management, organisational design and operational strategy. This, combined with our deep knowledge and experience of working across the African continent, meant we were the right partner for them.

The challenge

They asked us to design and implement a CO function to manage all commercial aspects of the programme for the two selected vendors. The CO had to support the transformation value chain in two ways. Firstly, by establishing controls to ensure they was getting value for money from the vendors and secondly, by defining how the contract was being delivered and how the benefits were being realised.

The approach

Our first step in designing the CO involved carrying out a comprehensive current state assessment of commercial capabilities, both in Johannesburg and the regional countries. Examples of the capabilities we assessed include contract management, service quality, performance management and commercial risk management processes.

We engaged each of the in-country CIOs and management teams from various business units in Johannesburg (Finance, Legal and Sourcing) to understand what gaps existed in the processes, where additional processes would be required and what hand-offs should exist with existing capabilities. Our team was deployed to several African countries (including Kenya and Uganda) to expedite the process and ensure the right messages were being communicated.

Based on the results of the current state assessment, we then designed the target operating model for the CO. This included detailed process maps for each function and the organisational design of the entity to set them up for success once the project was complete i.e. how would they continue to run the CO when we handed over?

We also designed and implemented the CO tools, including a powerful cost engine that provided a time-distributed view of all hardware, software, shipping and professional costs across all 11 countries. Within the space of just six weeks, we had designed and mobilised the CO, and transitioned early work packages that had already been negotiated across to the entity to be managed.

Once the CO was embedded in day-to-day operations, our team worked with developers to design and launch an interactive ITP iOS application that enabled the leadership to track ITP programme progress. Data from our trackers was fed into the virtualised report to provide ITP stakeholders with the latest views of programme risks, issues, spend across the estate, and progress of implementation by country.

The value

Over three months, we successfully designed and implemented the CO and transitioned all vendor work packages into the function. This resulted in expedited work packages, that the service providers were held accountable for late delivery and fulfilling their contractual obligations.

The CO defined all commercial processes – from contract negotiation and assurance, to obligation and milestone tracking, to risk and issue management, and contract change management. The project took the bank further along their journey to becoming the ‘go-to’ bank across Africa.

And the praise...

"Elixirr are always flexible and go the extra mile in delivering beyond expectations in unchartered territory. They are flexible and absorb changes easily – an absolute prerequisite to doing successful business across 11 countries in a territory such as Africa. I will most certainly engage with Elixirr again and again."

Director: Infrastructure Services