By Carol Machira.
The world today is fast-moving and uncertain due to current global rising issues such as climate change, changing disease patterns and catastrophes. Technology advancement is taking place very rapidly. The Covid-19 pandemic hit the world unannounced and changed the way the world operates and shaken the global economy. According to a recent survey done by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), on the financial service providers in Kenya between April and May 2020, on nine financial institutions including Sacco’s and Credit-only institutions, the pandemic has adversely affected the way the Saccos function. In light of this, the Saccos have adopted technology to deal with this monstrous crisis.
Movement restrictions and maintaining social distance has become the new normal. To reduce congestion in the Saccos’ banking halls, Saccos have adopted the use of mobile and online banking services. This strategy has been used as a measure of discouraging the use of cash transactions, in compliance with the government’s rule of carrying out cashless transactions. Mobile and online banking is the best thing that has ever happened to the world of banking, because the user gets all banking services at the comfort of their homes. Most Saccos have invented mobile apps which members can download and install. Mobile and online transactions have to some extent enhanced security to members. The device, sim cards, and the codes used for transactions are securely tied to the members accounts and in case a member loses any of the aforementioned items, transactions requests are blocked to prevent imposters from accessing their accounts.
According to a research done by Stanford University, the employees working from home are 13 percent more productive than their counterpart working from offices. This is attributed to hours wasted in traffic, pressure from bosses and colleagues just to mention a few. With the new technological inventions, employers can monitor employees from their homes using ‘Remote employee monitoring software’. This Software helps the employer to determine whether the employees are working or not. In addition, it helps build trust from both sides.
Mobile communication and social media platforms have bridged the distance across the world. Saccos have adopted this and are using mobile communication services including mobile messaging, mobile call services, mobile email, mobile chatting and mobile conferencing services which help them reach their customers easily and perform online marketing through social media platforms which enable them reach huge number of prospect customers.
During lockdown, virtual meetings became the new norm for employees and companies around the world. A study done recently revealed that 200 Million people were using Zoom meeting app every day at the beginning of 2020, compared to 10 million in December 2019. The Government of Kenya gave directives and guidelines for companies to conduct virtual and hybrid general meeting and most Saccos embraced it.
Technologies Co-operatives Should Adopt
Big data technology
Big data technology is a software utility with ability to pull data from multiple sources. The Saccos’ core purpose is to meet the financial needs of their members. Big data technology will enable societies to gather members data from social media, web visits, call logs, and other sources to improve the interaction experience and maximize the value delivered. This will help the board and management to know more about their members, better understand them and consequently develop more targeted and relevant products and services.
Cloud computing is a new technology for storing data over the internet. It’s a hybrid technology of computing various services like servers, software, networking, storage, databases, analytic etcetera over the internet. Cloud computing involves using multiple server computers via a digital network to store data and gives the user secure access to a variety of applications and data from any network device. Additionally, it provides an easy-to-use, cost efficient, flexible, dynamic and secure environment for all operations. This means that Saccos will not need to invest heavily in dedicated hardware, software and related manpower.