Foresight has future-proofed Kenyan financial services business and enabled the company to continue to innovate throughout movement constraints on business during the current health crisis. Jeremiah Chunge Munyasa, Head of Alternative Channels and Technology at Genghis Capital, says: “With data residing on the cloud, backups are also stored there including another copy at our off-site Disaster Recovery site. Our success during this time is measured in continued employee productivity and an on-going focus on customer experience.”
Genghis Capital Ltd, a leading investment bank in Kenya, has managed to maintain full Business Continuity throughout the recent health pandemic as a result of its decision to become a cloud and digital-first business. The first financial services business in Kenya to position itself 100% in the cloud, the company is now setting the bar for peers and even opening up its cloud-based trading platform to other businesses.
Following a bold move to embrace a digital business model hosted 100% on a VMware-powered cloud provided by Kenyan cloud provider Node Africa, back in 2017, the team at Genghis Capital was able to seamlessly transition into a work from home (WFH) model with no disruption to its business. The only requirement is a working Internet connection.
“In any recession, bad companies are wiped out, good companies survive, great companies thrive,” Jeremiah Chunge Munyasa, Head of Alternative Channels and Technology at Genghis Capital. “When we moved to our VMware cloud in 2017 with Node Africa, it was a decision based on economics, little did we know that it would be the perfect recipe to help us weather several business disruptions. At Genghis, we always look at a technology solution for our clients and staff based on how flexible it is for scale and change, and not the traditional thinking of how rigid it is. It is a model that has paid off for our business.”
This is not the first time that the company’s cloud-first approach has paid dividends, and its technology has been stress-tested. During the unrest as a result of the 2017 Kenyan government elections, the Genghis Capital team were able to ensure Business Continuity by working and accessing its cloud services from home, while the majority of the country stayed at home. It is a model where foresight is, in fact, hindsight and the team are continuing to innovate albeit from home, with a new digital business application that it has been developing now ready to be launched.
By being digital-first, Chunge and his team have seamlessly embraced Business Continuity. This has been achieved by firstly employing a digital workplace for internal business operations for staff across all departments and also by deploying a digital platform for all of its technology channels, including cloud services, digital banking and trading applications, as well as its retail application.
“A lot of African companies generally lack the technology infrastructure to future-proof their business and depend on their staff to have to spend two to three hours a day just commuting to their place of work. It is not a sustainable model,” said Chune. “When we were hunkered down during the 2017 elections, we decided that we wanted to scale out even more of our services into a digital model. This included the development of our G-kuze mobile application for our retail customers. The app allows our clients to digitally onboard, move funds, trade, chat for assistance/support – all from their mobile device without having to come to the office or call our office line.”
With its environment entirely on Node Africa’s cloud, built on VMware technology, the banks trading department is still up and running. Its staff can engage with customers remotely via its cloud-hosted PABX environment. Using VMware’s Horizon client application, it has added the security required to secure its endpoints in the field. Chunge says it doesn’t have to worry about client data falling into the wrong hands if a device is stolen – because all data accessed on its Google Chromebooks resides in the cloud.
“Our setup 100% supports a fully operational cloud model. Employees connect via a VPN, and because all our people are working from home, we have enforced inactivity timeouts and endpoint security for all company-managed devices with licenses for each,” he said.
“With data residing on the cloud, backups are also stored there including another copy at our off-site Disaster Recovery site. Our success during this time is measured in continued employee productivity and an on-going focus on customer experience.
“Our retail clients carry on as normal, we digitally onboard clients, start trading, move funds electronically and view their investment portfolio at the touch of a button via our G-kuze application and all in the cloud. It is likely that we will never return to doing business in the same way ever again.”