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Mobile key to service delivery

Service delivery in the public sector is an on-going topic of discussion and according to MOHAMED CASSOOJEE, the only effective way to drive an efficient service delivery to South Africans is through the use of mobile.

Service delivery in the public sector is an on-going topic of discussion, as it significantly affects each individual South African directly.

According to Mohamed Cassoojee, vice president and country manager for Software AG in South Africa, the only truly effective way to drive out efficient service delivery to South Africans is through mobile access. “It just isn’t possible to build enough physical customer service centres across our extremely diverse areas of population, where over 50 million people are spread out across our country’s expansive area,” explains Cassoojee.

Cassoojee goes on to say that a major hurdle to the effective rolling out of mobile service delivery solutions is the lengthy and complicated procurement process when trying to take a blanket approach to implementing these systems on a national level. “The solution to this is for municipalities to take on the project of mobile connectivity themselves, and this is something that we’re seeing happening more and more,” says Cassoojee.

“A great example of this is the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), which has recently been the recipient of global accolades for its advancements in digitising service delivery.” Based on case studies such as EMM, mobile connectivity has proven to be a significant way for individual municipalities to fast track service uptake, by both government employees and the general public. These include basic services like water, sanitation and electricity, as well as more extensive services such as healthcare, education and skills development.

“Mobile is especially impactful on those who do not have the convenience of being located close to customer services and city centres, such as residents of rural areas,” continues Cassoojee. He explains that one of the biggest challenges facing effective service delivery in South Africa is that services are concentrated in metro areas.

“The result is a huge amount of the population coming into these metro areas in order to gain access to services, which the country is simply not prepared for from an infrastructure perspective. The solution to this challenge is mobile connectivity. It allow government to drive the required deliverables and services outward, thus creating the opportunity for many people to move back to rural areas, which can have an enormously positive knock-on effect on our strained and overcrowded cities,” Cassoojee explains.

The revolution of mobile connectivity in service delivery also carries vast benefits for government employees. “We are able to not only create and roll out mobile device applications for the public to access these services, but also facilitate verification that government is required to conduct, through utilising mobile device reporting systems,” says Cassoojee. “Field agents are able to immediately capture and process information, regardless of where they are, without having to be tied to an office with endless paperwork.”

“This also significantly reduces the need for rural residents having to make multiple trips to the city at inconvenient times and at a high cost. Government will essentially be able to take these services to the people, rather than the people having to request them.”

The potential for the expansion of service delivery through mobile connectivity is limitless, and Cassoojee predicts that if South African municipalities are able to follow the example of public sector mobile pioneers such as EMM, both government and the general public will be able to experience substantial improvements in the delivery of a vast range of much needed services.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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