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When the COVID-19 health crisis struck, Capitec took advantage of Microsoft Teams to raise the level of its response strategy.

With more than 840 branches, 14,000 staff, and 15 million active clients, Capitec is one of South Africa’s top digital banks, boasting a 24 percent increase in digital banking over the past year. To streamline companywide collaboration, the company decided to combine the power of Microsoft Teams with its existing Microsoft 365 environment. When the COVID-19 health crisis struck, Capitec took advantage of Microsoft Teams to raise the level of its response strategy, ensuring nearly flawless business continuity while enabling staff to work safely and effectively from home.

Capitec, one of South Africa’s largest digital banks, is passionate about simplifying banking for all South Africans. With innovative solutions to transact, save, insure, and access credit in real time, Capitec has rapidly made a name for itself in the South African banking landscape. Recognized as the world’s third-strongest banking brand and strongest brand in South Africa, Capitec is forging a new path in banking through an unwavering commitment to give all clients – no matter their income level – access to the same quality, affordable service.

To ensure its seamless, user-centric service remains unshakable even in uncertain times, Capitec needed a better way to collaborate internally. Specifically, it needed a group-wide communication platform that would enable rapid connectivity and ease of use for all staff. With the COVID-19 health crisis struck, what began as a quest for ease in communication soon became a critical mission to safeguard business continuity and the health and safety of all.

Rapid adoption at a critical time

“We needed a way to collaborate more efficiently, become more integrated, and generally more holistic across all our Microsoft 365 products,” explains Stuart Chalmers, Infrastructure Manager of the Modern Workplace team at Capitec. “For us, Teams has been a key enabler. It arrived at the perfect time. With the help of our partner BUI—who supported us in our transition and helped us put together a user adoption program—we successfully launched Teams in March of this year. Three weeks later, the nation went into lockdown.”

According to Thys Janse van Rensburg, General Manager at BUI, “Within the first couple weeks of its launch, we were already seeing between 60 and 70 percent adoption of Teams.”

“This allowed us to deprecate Capitec’s previous solution quite quickly,” Chalmers adds. “With the rise of COVID-19, the use of Teams just suddenly exploded, and we reached nearly 100 percent adoption by April. Thanks to an intelligent IT Support Bot deployed in Teams, we were able to assist our employees in their shift to remote-working.”

Chalmers continues, “Teams has given us an opportunity to deploy a reliable, secure, and stable collaboration technology across our entire group in just two to three weeks.”

He adds, “In the branches, we are now using Teams to facilitate interactions between branch managers, branch staff, and head office departments. At Capitec, our shared core values include simplicity and accessibility. We wanted our users to have a very simple experience with access to services, in one place. We also wanted the service accessible on mobile platforms. With Teams, we have that.”

A better way to meet

With the company’s nearly 140,000 Teams calls per month and 50,000 group meetings, Teams has played an important part in allowing even the largest meetings to proceed without a hitch—even as employees worked remotely. “It has been amazing to be able to have Teams meetings that allow us to collaborate with 80, sometimes even 200 people at a time,” explains Matthew Smith, Manager of Content and PR at Capitec. “Our transition to Teams was seamless as we quickly realized how it improved our meeting culture. You don’t have to travel between meeting rooms. You just jump on the call, say what you need to say, listen to others, and then you’re done. It’s much more efficient and to the point.”

Facilitating partnerships

Capitec is also using Teams to collaborate easily and effectively with third-party stakeholders. “Our project office actually uses Teams quite extensively to engage with third parties in building new products for the bank,” says Chalmers. “It’s great to have the ability to tap into someone else’s network or to have a secure place for third parties to collaborate. It’s easy to link everything back to our project management tools.”

Having recently hosted a life 2.0 hackathon—a webinar series devoted to creating innovative solutions that can help people live better in a post–COVID-19 reality—the Capitec team discovered that, with Teams, they had a very flexible collaboration product that they could link to anything. “We ran everything through Teams and connected people from all over the country,” recalls Chalmers. “We put them in touch with some of the best mentors in the innovation space. And everyone worked on the projects together across the platform.”

More ways to collaborate

For several years, Capitec has been using another Microsoft technology, the social networking tool Yammer, for internal information sharing, collaboration, and community building within the organization. “As with our customers, it’s been a priority for us to ensure our employees have a top- notch digital experience,” explains Smith. “This was especially crucial throughout lockdown to keep everyone connected and engaged. Alongside Teams, Yammer has been a great tool because our bank combines so many different cultures, and Yammer really contributes to bringing everyone together. It creates a great melting pot of different people and perspectives. Another key thing is being able to have a finger on the pulse of each of the branches. If there is something that is affecting clients, we immediately hear about it on Yammer, and we can prevent it from escalating immediately.”

Looking to the future

“We are currently looking into connecting our on-premises SharePoint environment with SharePoint Online to develop hybrid capabilities, so that our users can access SharePoint information in a highly secure manner using Azure Information Protection,” says Chalmers. “This will enable our staff to access corporate policy and procedures on a mobile device securely—from any location—in just three to four months from now. Our user drives have already been migrated to OneDrive. We’re also developing a workplace analytics pilot to assess employee wellbeing. Down the road, we aim to create a center of excellence team to support our users in further automating mundane manual processes. Having a modern productivity tool enhances the organization’s ability to attract the best talent. Teams has been the first important step in allowing our staff to work easily and securely, whether they’re in or out of the office. For us to keep going is a no-brainer. We’re excited to use more Microsoft technologies to keep improving internal operations and deliver greater value to clients.”

This case study was originally published on BUI.

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