Altitude Advisory International (Pty) Ltd were appointed to serve as the Executive Project Manager (PM), for a 12 month period, on a highly strategic programme for the bank that focused on launching new digital products (Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Agency & Customer Apps etc.) into the Zambian market and the establishment of a Digital Bank, within Zanaco. This included providing a fully dedicated and seconded Programme Manager, who spent 80-90% time in-country and managed multiple project teams within Zanaco – in terms of Digital, IT, Business, Marketing etc. as well as managed and held accountable the Technology Partner – Zimbabwean Shared Services (based in Zimbabwe).
This project had been in progress for 18 months, by the time Altitude Advisory were appointed as the Executive PM, which resulted in inheriting some typical project-type “bad habits” that required immediate remediation and attention, to bring the programme back-on-track.
As an immediate remedy, a Recovery Plan was developed that was successfully worked over a 3-month period. Following this Recovery Plan, albeit it required 3 months, instead of the project being 6 months behind the original schedule, it improved to being only 1 month behind the original schedule, with additional functionality and products also being delivered over and above the base scope.
The PM role was responsible to provide weekly updates on status, issues, risks and key decisions to the Steering Committee, chaired by the CEO of the Bank, with members including all the C-suite level executives across the Bank – Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Heads of Departments – Head Strategy & Innovation, Head IT, Head HR, Head Marketing, Head Facilities etc.
Furthermore, some additional Quality Assurance advisory services were included over and above the PM role, to ensure that at a strategic level, the programme remained true to its desired course, as well as considered additional or alternative strategies, including potential alliances and partnerships in Zambia.
Altitude Advisory helped to provide improved project management processes and structures, that led to greater visibility and transparency of the work being delivered by the Technology Partner and the work required for execution by Zanaco. These improved processes also supported greater communication, collaboration and teaming across the various teams. Interestingly, there was a revenue share agreement in place with the Bank and Technology Partner that also required significant senior Stakeholder Management. Despite significant challenges of introducing new technology and products in a previously traditional banking environment, Zanaco have been able to change their brand in the Zambian market and be seen as a highly innovative Digital Bank in Africa.
Altitude Advisory International (Pty) Ltd were mandated by Zanaco in Zambia, to project manage the delivery of their QRCode product (similar to Snapscan or Zapper in South Africa). This required the appointment of a Project Manager, a Business Analyst / Testing Lead and a Marketing Co-ordinator. The project duration was intended for 6 months, but with a view to launch the pilot within 3 months of project commencement. Key project activities and deliverables included: Project Mobilisation, Project Management, Project Charter, Business Processes, Testing Plans, Test Scripts, System Integration Testing, UAT, Deployment to Live, Pilot Execution, Marketing Materials.
The innovation regarding this project was testing new technology that had not yet been released in Zambia and making sure that it is easy-to-use for not only customers but the merchants and vendors who would be signing up to adopt this new digital payment technology. The QRCode product being launched into the market, is cutting edge, innovative, exciting and accessible to all customer segments across Zambia, promoting financial inclusion.
Despite the incredibly tight timelines, this project commenced in Oct 2018, and the team were able to successfully launch the Pilot Phase 1 in early Dec 2018. The remainder of the roll-out is on-going into 2019+.
ZSS, a Zimbabwean-based FinTech company, providing technology solutions to 19 banks in Zimbabwe and 1 in Zambia, as well as offering a card-based digital payments solution to the Zimbabwean market through MyCash, exclusively leveraging Pick n Pay as the distribution network, is being considered for an acquisition by interested parties. Due to this, there was a need to assist in conducting a Due Diligence on the ZSS & MyCash entities.
This Due Diligence exercise included completing reviews and audits on the Organisational Design, Job Profiles, Performance Management and other HR processes, Company Policies, Financials and Contract Management.
The output of this initiative included a detailed Due Diligence Report-out and also the respective prospectus for each of the business entities – ZSS & MyCash, that were to be considered for two separate acquisition deals.
Furthermore, Altitude Advisory International (Pty) Ltd would then assist in bringing interested parties to engage with ZSS and MyCash and help shape the respective acquisition deals, for consideration.
Once the buyer(s) is confirmed, Altitude Advisory would be required to assist with the necessary Post-M&A integration activities.