BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

A leading South African bank recently suffered almost a week long outage. According to people who are close to the financial institution, the outage was caused partly by technology infrastructure. Although outages are common amongst banks it was rare to have an outage for days. The bank admitted that it had never experienced an incident of that magnitude and promised it would never happen again. In a sense the bank promised to work towards what Huawei calls “Non-stop Banking”. The concept was unveiled at the Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit for Africa – 2023.

In a keynote speech announcing the initiative, Leo Chen, president of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Region spoke about why going digital has become such a major imperative for the banking industry. Not only does it make it easier for banks to broaden their customer base, he said, it also saves operational costs, allows them to develop new products, and deepen the customer relationship, thus generating revenues for banks.

Considering how frustrated the bank’s clients were during this historical outage it’s easy to see why the non-stop banking matters. A leading financial technology expert in banking and author of Bank4.0, Brett King, outlined the key reasons why banks need to adopt a non-stop banking culture.

King explained that part of this has a lot to do with the changing nature of the bank. Access to the bank is digital through the smartphone and no longer mainly in a building. A banking client is no longer required to interact with the bank only during working hours. A banking client can wake up in the early hours of the morning and request a service from the bank. Volatility that is brought about by power outages or cyber attacks are no longer tolerated as reasons for the bank to be closed. Banks are expected to operate non-stop.

This however is not always possible with traditional banking systems that have been around for many years. As a result, traditional banks have been forced to adapt in order to serve non-stop banking clients requests.

It is at this point that traditional banks find challenges. Naturally they can’t throw their traditional systems away, as a result those that see a need for digital transformation are suddenly faced with the costly burden that can go into billions. They are also confronted with the reality that the digital transformation process can take years. In order to avoid such difficulties some banks have decided to establish or acquire digital banks. Some have succeeded and some have not succeeded with this approach.

In view of such challenges faced by the banking industry, Huawei has developed a set of solutions that include Huawei Cloud, the world’s fastest-growing major cloud service provider that can additionally support the hybrid multi-cloud service required by banks. Huawei’s digital energy solutions, meanwhile, can help to provide an uninterrupted and green power supply for the banking sector. This effectively addresses power deficit issues and supports ‘non-stop’ banking.

This is how Huawei plans to enable the “Non-Stop banking” initiative. The tech giant however, as part of introducing this concept called for hand-in-hand collaboration between the ICT and banking industries to facilitate a digital future of ‘non-stop’ services, ‘non-stop’ development, and ‘non-stop’ innovation.

It is clear that for banks to continue to exist and serve optimally there will be a need to exist in the cloud. As outlined in the gathering hosted by Huawei, this process will require industry effort to ensure the banking sector is able to move with the latest technological developments.

The Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit for Africa 2023 brought together more than 200 attendees, including key industry opinion leaders, as well as executives from major banks across Africa.

Based on insights shared during this gathering it’s clear to see that the banking sector is about to undergo significant changes beyond what we’ve seen thus far. We are now likely to see more digital banks that are led by telecommunications companies. We are also likely to see more services being added. Lastly, expect to see chat becomes more of an engagement medium with banking institutions. All of these services will be made possible through the cloud technology as seen in the Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit, 2023. This may minimise bank outages that we’ve seen in recent years and taking banking to another level.