This bank, one of Africa’s major financial services providers, offers personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management. To enable growth, they knew that improving the technology infrastructure was a strategic priority.

The performance of the IT infrastructure that was supporting banking operations across the continent did not meet business requirements. This was leading to poor customer experience, reduced agility and loss of competitive advantage. It was in urgent need of remediation.

Why Elixirr?

Realising the need for external expertise and a trusted advisor, this bank engaged us for our internationally recognised capabilities in sourcing advisory, vendor selection and management, organisational design and operational strategy.

The challenge

The main challenge was to provide support to deliver the required infrastructure transformation at the necessary pace. The regional level of technical and managerial skills needed were scarce in Africa, so it was decided that the Infrastructure Services should partner with one or more service providers, and they asked for our support in selecting them. The aim? To implement a remediation programme and establish an infrastructure estate across the continent that was fit-for-purpose and could be sustainably managed and updated in the future.

The approach

The first stage of the project was to select the appropriate strategic partners to support the bank in the transformation. We started by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to 11 preferred service providers. We then evaluated the breadth and quality of their operations in Africa, delivery experience, client credentials, and the bank’s prior experiences with them. The RFI questions, evaluation approach and criteria were designed with reference to the bank’s specific situation and weighted in accordance with the stated priorities of the programme. We concentrated on nine identified areas (including geographical coverage and transformation) and defined a shortlist of three providers in less than two months.

We then used our innovative Collaborative Solutioning approach to conduct a series of workshops with shortlisted vendors, to develop viable transition and transformation proposals with each potential partner. This involved significant engagement from key stakeholders, to ensure that the solutions developed were appropriate for the organisation’s strategy and aligned with ongoing and planned technology initiatives.

In parallel with these workshops we ran a Proof of Concept (PoC), in which the shortlisted providers were given access to one country each (Zambia, Ghana and Uganda) for 3 months, to make as many improvements to the existing infrastructure as possible. The focus during this time was on the achievement of ‘quick wins’. These would not only indicate the vendors’ ability to make immediate impact, but also demonstrate real change to the bank’s in-country teams who had previously suffered from under-investment and a lack of central management attention. Our final recommendation on vendor selection was based on the quality of the full solution and vendor performance during the PoC. Concurrently, through the Collaborative Solutioning process, we agreed the heads of terms and main contract clauses with the three vendors. This meant that when we selected a dual-vendor approach, we could rapidly get to a signed contract with these vendors.

The value

By bringing our fresh perspective to the bank’s sourcing and vendor selection strategy, applying Collaborative Solutioning and our international experience throughout the programme, we were able to significantly expedite the vendor selection process. All stakeholders came together to workshop potential solutions simultaneously, leading to increased value and a sustainable solution for the future. In summary, this meant that we were able to contract with the chosen vendors much faster than a traditional RFP process, saving significant fees for  the bank as well as getting to the programme’s business case much sooner.