Standard Bank Group spent R11.2-billion in the first half of the year to 30 June 2023 on technology, including staff costs, a 12% jump over the same period a year ago, as it continues its wholesale shift from on-premises IT to the cloud.
The JSE-listed financial services group said it is continuing its cloud migration spending, with a third of a huge migration project to the cloud now completed.
Software, cloud and technology-related costs were the biggest contributor to rising IT spend, up 18% year on year to just under R6-billion for the latest six-month reporting period. This was followed by staff costs, which rose by 11% year on year to reach R2.8-billion. Amortisation costs were flat, while depreciation rose 7%.
Standard Bank said IT spending growth was driven specifically by:
- Continued cloud migration spend to enhance business agility and system resilience, although there was reduced capitalisation as signature IT programmes wound down.
- Investment in software to allow employees to service clients better, enhance infrastructure resilience, and to improve client relationship management platforms and digital capabilities for users.
This spending was partially offset by savings driven by “conscious efforts to contain third-party spend and the decommissioning of legacy systems”.
The group said the increased investment in software allowed it to improve client service levels and it also helped simplify its IT footprint. It has also meant improved system stability and resilience as well as “significantly improved response and recovery times”.
Standard Bank reported that branch transactions declined as customers migrated to digital services; there was an 8% decline in branch square metreage in South Africa as the physical footprint was reduced. The group achieved a 98% ATM uptime rate and 99% uptime for its mobile banking app.
It said 99% of its transaction volumes in South Africa are now cashless, a trend that has helped it to cut costs. “It’s extraordinary,” Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala said in an interview last year. “What we’ve seen is an incredible shift to electronic ways of doing things.” – © 2023 NewsCentral Media