Even though COVID-19 has caused a spike in digital financial transactions, it will take something more than just maintaining the status quo for Financial Technology (FinTech) companies to survive, post COVID-19.
This is the position of Charles Kollo, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, DreamOval, one of Ghana’s leading FinTechs.
In an exclusive interview with TechGh24, Charles Kollo noted that because of the heavy dependence on digital platforms in this COVID-19 era, most businesses are beginning to create internal structures to manage those platforms rather than outsourcing them to third party organizations.
He said what informs that decision is the need for companies to have complete control of the back office of their business processes, rather than leaving them in the hands of external IT organizations.
According to him, as that begins to happen more and more, companies like DreamOval and other players in the FinTech and IT space would have to be much better than they have ever been, so that their corporate clients would find value in still keeping them as back office service providers.
It would be recalled that the CEO of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh recently cautioned businesses in Ghana to keep an eye on what he called the post-COVID-19 normalization risks.
He explained that as companies put measures in place to survive the pandemic itself, there is the danger of overlooking the risks that come with the return of life to normalcy and that can collapse lots of businesses going forward.
“There is no value is doing everything to survive COVID-19 only to collapse shortly after the pandemic because you did not prepare for the normalization risks,” the MTN Boss said.
Charles Kollo completely agreed with the MTN Ghana boss, saying that they have already started noticing that some corporate organizations who use the kind of services provided by players in his industry, have started appointing IT and digital managers with skills to manage those platforms internally.
He is therefore urging his colleagues in the FinTech and digital space to “be better” at what they do and give corporate bodies the reason to keep using their services post-COVID-19.
“You can’t have it any other way than to be better and give corporate clients value for money,” he said, adding “consumer services for individual clients in good but losing the corporate clients can be a big blow to many players – and the only way to avoid that is to be better.”
It is his opinion that going forward, companies will stick with third party tech organizations who are really delivering value for money as far as digital and IT solutions are concerned, so it is imperative for industry players to go beyond normal.
Charles Kollo however admitted that COVID-19 has caused a spike in online and digital transactions across board, which is positive, adding that many merchants were already thinking “digital” before COVID-19, but the pandemic expedited the rate of adoption.
“Some used to have just about 30 to 50% of their operations on digital platforms but COVID-19 took it to almost 100% in no time, and that is good,” he said.
DreamOval runs the most affordable money transfer platform called SlydePay for consumers. It charges 0.8% on every amount transferred, which is cheaper than every money transfer service in the country, including mobile money. It is also used for bills payment.
They also have a series of products on their Billbox platform to facilitate payments for merchants, retailers, banks and for remittance.
According to Charles Kollo, they have over 500 merchants signed on that platform in Ghana alone, plus another 100 in Mozambique, who are also connected to about 5,000 retailers and merchants, all of whom are using DreamOval’s payment platforms for business.
“We are close to going live in Cote d’Ivoire within the next month,” he said.
The company also does projects like building websites and Apps for financial institutions and business organizations. They are the brain behind the Apps of GCB Bank and Fidelity Bank.
Charles Kollo noted the projects side of their business was negatively impacted by COVID-19 to some extent, because the pandemic disrupted meetings necessary to get projects going at certain speeds.
He is however confident that the pandemic has created better opportunities going forward – saying that companies and their customers have gotten used to digital transactions now – digital platforms now have more users for almost everything.
“This definitely presents great opportunities for industry players to create innovative solutions that will make users find it a more convenient and safe option,” he said.
The DreamOval executive believes Ghana is on the verge of becoming the tech hub in the West African sub-region, given the diversity and innovative tech and digital solutions put out by the tech industry players in the country.
DreamOval was established in 2007 by students of Ashesi University who graduated that year with a dream to provide relevant tech solutions for businesses here in Ghana and elsewhere. Currently, it has footprints in Ghana, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire. It has products like SlydePay, Billbox for Banks, Billbox for Businesses, Billbox Remit and Billbox Merchant Calculator among others.