Citibank N.A Kenya hosted top Kenyan Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to a round table event on 22nd July 2022 to discuss next generation banking connectivity and the shift to real-time and digital execution through Application Programming Interface (API) integration.
The open discussion provided a platform for Citibank to engage with the CIOs to get their insights on the key drivers of digital transformation, early adoption of new technologies such as API as well as the factors they consider when selecting banking channels.
Esther Chibesa, Citi’s SSA Treasury and Trade Solutions Head, opened the roundtable event by defining the problem statement. She said “Citi is keen on providing a modern and relevant digital banking platform that helps our clients reach new customers in a seamless and automated manner. We must look at the end consumer because it determines client experience and raises the bar on what banks can do to make it better”. She also highlighted key factors such as regulatory evolution, cyber security risk and the emergence of ecosystem platforms that influence how banks should innovate and develop solutions.
The session saw CIOs who were in attendance share their experiences about driving digital transformation for their respective companies and their involvement in the procurement of financial services and platforms. While CIOs typically do get not involved in finance and bank discussions, they now have a strategic role in driving efficiencies at a C-suite level and now actively cooperate with Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Treasurers in financial and projects. When it comes to the selection of banking channels, the CIOs and CTOs said that they seek solutions that are automated, cost efficient, scalable, and secure. They also challenged banks to be more agile in their response to emerging business needs driven by digitization.
Mark Smith, EMEA Treasury and Trade Solutions Head at Citi, closed the event by highlighting Citi’s commitment to innovation spanning decades from pioneering the first ATM in 1977 to the continued investment in its innovation ecosystem that includes a global network of innovation labs as well as the Citi Ventures, an arm of the bank developed to catalyze innovation and accelerate growth by investing in and partnering with cutting-edge companies that are shaping the future of financial services and positively impacting a changing world.
Among the CIOs present at the roundtable event were: George Njuguna (CIO, Safaricom), Fredrick Kitunga (CIO, Kenya Airways), Thomas Kongongo (CIO, UAP Holdings Limited), Joan (Lead Information Technology East Africa, Unilever), Dominic Kebenei (Head of ICT, Savannah Cement), Ben Bottleberge (Data and AI Channel Sales Leader for East and West Africa, IBM), and Teresiah Mwangi (Sales Manager-BFSI,Media & ICT, Liquid Intelligent Technologies).
Looking ahead, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation are already impacting the future of work, and organizations are seizing the opportunity to focus more on interpreting data, communicating across teams, and collaborating to understand the challenges technology should address as they evolve in their digital transformation efforts.