Finance Indaba 2016: Operational excellence is Bytes Technology Group's game

“We focus on middle- and back-office operations and it’s all about wringing efficiencies out of these operations – automating as much as possible, saving on staff costs, reducing breaks due to reconciliation problems, etc," says Mark Neethling, the GM of Financial Services at Bytes Technology Group, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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In the coming weeks and months, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

Do you want to hear how Bytes Technology Group can help you develop operational excellence? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"The business unit that I run focuses specifically on financial services in South Africa and surrounding countries. We have a portfolio of software and service solutions that are focused on the middle- and back-office operations of banks, asset managers and insurers. The Finance Indaba seems like a good opportunity to meet with potential customers in this space."

What will you be talking about?
"We have a new relationship with a major finance technology company called Broadridge. It is a US vendor, but has been operational in South Africa directly for quite some time. They've appointed us as their exclusive distributor in this region and we're hoping to introduce their solutions to the local market. They've been very well received in the States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region."

What are the challenges you can help finance professionals/firms with in 2016?
"We focus on middle- and back-office operations and it's all about wringing efficiencies out of these operations - automating as much as possible, saving on staff costs, reducing breaks due to reconciliation problems, etc. It's really all about operational excellence."

What challenges are there to your document business in an era of digitisation?
"It may be an era of digitisation, but as one of our executives likes to say, you'll be paperless in the toilet before you're paperless in the office. We are the exclusive distributors for Xerox, who are moving increasingly away from the hardware assets of document management - printers and collators - into the software and services space. They are very much moving with the times in terms of digitisation. One of the things we are looking to do from a document management perspective is where companies have large fleets of traditional document management capabilities - like large print shops - is to help them transition into the digital world. We integrate the old paper into digital format and automate a lot more of the work flow and the document and image storage around it. We provide a full solution in terms of regulatory and audit compliance document store in the cloud or hosted environment, rather than in a physical format."

How is Bytes aiding the public sector in becoming more efficient?
"We have a dedicated business unit that focuses on the public sector at both national and local levels. We have a couple strings to our bow. We have software that we have developed and for which we own the IP. This is a municipal enterprise resource planning system, running the full operations of a municipality from customer billing to back-room operations and everything in between. That solution is in use in a large number of municipalities - 35 at last count. We are evolving that solution to comply with changes from the National Treasury to create a single chart of accounts right across the municipal estate. What that means is some solution providers may end up being non-compliant and effectively fall off the radar because their solutions won't be used. We've spent a significant amount over the past two years to ensure that we are compliant with the new regulations, so that we can increasingly become a provider of choice for municipalities that are looking for clean audits and full compliance with National Treasury guidelines.

"The other area that we play in is providing sophisticated solutions to organisations in the justice cluster, specifically the SAPS, helping them digitise their chain of evidence. We also provide a sophisticated service to Home Affairs in terms of the national identity project - ID cards, passports and the like."

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