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Shanengeta Wisdom

Shanengeta Wisdom: Banking Beyond Loans

Balancing Security, Efficiency, and Innovation in the Dynamic Landscape of Modern Banking!

Every progressive individual or institution needs access to financial services. How can we truly appreciate the profound impact of banking on our economy and lives? In a world where technology and finance converge, Shanengeta Wisdom stands as a trailblazer in the realm of banking operations and technology. As the Chief Technology and Operations Officer at Stanbic Bank Zambia, his journey is an exemplar of the versatile nature of the sector and its intensifying role in shaping the fabric of our society.

Banking, as Wisdom articulates, is a mosaic of diversity. It’s not merely about transactions; it’s about connecting with individuals and multinationals, understanding their unique needs, and contributing to their aspirations. For him, the sector’s dynamism fuels an insatiable hunger for continuous learning, a sentiment echoed in his admiration for the diverse customer base. In the complexities of banking, he finds inspiration in the untold stories of determination from clients, stories where the bank becomes a catalyst for realizing dreams.

As the Chief Technology & Operations Officer, Wisdom leads the charge in leveraging technology to enhance banking operations. His role extends beyond the realm of transactions; it’s about fostering an ecosystem where banking becomes deeply embedded in the growth of the economy. He highlights a profound truth often overlooked—the transformative power of banking in the broader economic landscape.

In this exclusive story, we delve into Shanengeta’s journey, exploring the intersection of technology, banking operations, and the broader impact on society. From his motivations for entering the sector to his vision for the future, his narrative unveils the intricate workings of a leader committed to bridging the gap between financial services and societal progress.

Below are the interview highlights:

A Proficient Business Manager

Shanengeta operates primarily as a business manager, complementing managerial prowess with practical IT expertise. Academic achievements include a Master of Leading Innovation and Change (MALIC) from York St. John University in England, a Master of International Business (MBTI) from Edith Cowan University in Australia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies from Greenwich University in the UK. Additionally, credentials encompass an International Diploma in Project Management from Cambridge University in the UK, a Diploma in Financial Services Management (IFS) from Manchester University in the UK, a Certificate in Banking and Finance from the Zambia Institute of Bankers, and an Accounting Technician Diploma Stage 1 from the National Institute of Public Administration in Zambia.

Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited

Shanengeta elucidates that Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited operates as a member of the Standard Bank Group of South Africa, a prominent pan-African bank with a global footprint in major financial services hubs worldwide. Within Zambia, the Standard Bank franchise where he is employed trades under the name Stanbic Bank, akin to several other African countries. It is noteworthy that Standard Bank acquired the branch network of ANZ Grindlays Bank in Africa in the early nineties.

Ensuring Seamless and Tailored IT Services

Shanengeta’s role revolves around guaranteeing the suitability of technology services for clients and maintaining the constant functionality and security of systems. The challenges inherent in these responsibilities are considerable, demanding persistent efforts to keep services consistently online and secure. The measures instituted encompass the implementation of automated monitoring tools for system uptime and security, as well as the assembly of a proficient team with the necessary skills and qualifications to oversee the IT platform.

Expanding the scope to the relevance and appropriateness of IT services for clients introduces the challenge of accommodating diverse customer preferences, given that client needs vary significantly. In response, substantial investments have been directed towards leveraging data science technology tools and skills. This strategic approach aims to configure customized services, ushering in an era of hyperpersonalization to meet the distinct requirements of individual customers.

Technological Advancements for Sustained Growth

Shanengeta emphasizes the importance of staying at the forefront of innovation. The company has consistently invested in new technology, exemplified by the modernization of its core banking system, the establishment of cutting-edge data reservoirs for big data exploitation, and the development of future-ready skills in its workforce. Noteworthy initiatives include fostering a new generation of data scientists and creating API gateways to enhance ecosystem interoperability.

The company acknowledges the significance of collaboration and actively engages with a diverse range of partners, spanning from major tech companies to micro-level fintechs. Recognizing these entities as key disruptors and trendsetters, he emphasizes the critical nature of collaboration in the tech industry. The company seeks mutual advantage through symbiotic relationships, understanding that maintaining a competitive edge requires collective efforts to stay informed about the latest trends and advancements.

Collaboration in Banking for Mutual Growth

In the preceding statements, the pan-African orientation of the bank to which he belongs facilitates the exploitation of unique opportunities and adept management of challenges within the region. Shanengeta, having tapped into the substantial reservoir of talent within the Group’s center of excellence, strategically leverages bilateral and multilateral relationships with sister countries where the bank maintains a presence.

Operating within the same region, his institution encounters similar challenges and opportunities. Consequently, collaborative efforts among countries are employed to harness mutual benefits and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Through initiatives such as exchange programs, the fluidity of talent is fostered, facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas and solutions.

A prime example of this collaborative approach is evident in the exchange of solutions and experiences between Zambia and other countries. Not only has Zambia shared its own successful strategies, but it has also reaped the rewards of implementing solutions provided by fellow nations. This reciprocal exchange underscores the value of collective problem-solving and knowledge-sharing for the overall advancement of the banking sector in the region.

Future-Ready Banking Initiatives

In broad terms, Shanengeta has contributed to a variety of strategies and initiatives aimed at ensuring the bank’s preparedness for the future. This includes fostering ubiquitous connectivity within the Internet of Things (IoT) and making substantial investments in a data science project. The goal is to explore and exploit big data, ultimately achieving personalized service experiences for customers. The ongoing development of an Application Programming Interface (API) gateway, the fleet of Robots which are already automating processes and complimenting human centric manual efforts, these interventions are further supported by embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. The foregoing are a few examples of the initiatives being undertaken to respond to the disruptors in this aera of the Fourth Industrialization Revolution disruptions.

Challenges of Technology Security

Achieving a balance between the need for security and efficiency in technology is not always straightforward, given that certain security interventions can occasionally disrupt the customer experience. For instance, if their intelligent fraud detection tools flag certain transactions as suspicious and subsequently block them to safeguard their customers’ funds, there might be delays in fulfilling genuine transactions. This occurs in a minority of cases, prompting them to liaise with the customer to confirm the transactions’ genuineness. However, in the current era of AI, these validation processes are becoming increasingly automated in real-time to mitigate any negative impact on the customer experience.

Another significant challenge, as acknowledged by Shanengeta, is the paramount concern regarding cybersecurity. This revolves around how all system users, including customers and staff, embrace and internalize the continuous stream of awareness messages cautioning them against falling victim to social engineering scams, vishing, smishing, phishing, and other identity fraud attempts. Staff members undergo more intensive awareness training through ongoing programs.

User awareness serves as a vital complement to the substantial investments made to fortify our systems against malware attacks across various technology layers, including network level, operating system, and database clusters. Keeping systems up to date with patches is a demanding commitment, coupled with investments in the latest technology that is fully supported and not end-of-life. These measures are undertaken regardless of the significant costs they entail.