Assessing Inter-Cultural Communication Challenges in the STANBIC Standard Bank S.A. Core Banking Replacement Program – Part 8


4.3 Feedback

  • R#2 “Always relate to them. What they have, why it will need to change, and how they must do it…
  • Information overload… everybody wants to communicate to country. Very overwhelming to guys in country. Provide information in bite-sized chunks. Not lengthy documents.
  • Use bullets
  • Use graphics

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And request information and expect it the next day. Remember they have to run the bank, work through lots of info and get info back. Countries do not want to increase costs so additional resources are not an option to assist with RTB and CTB. In SA used contractors to get involved in RTB, and use permanent staff to do CTB. Good option. But crucial that enough notice time to plan, and sell it that resources will have more knowledge. Not in country early enough. Always on back foot (data centres), communications are not good enough and roadmaps and timeframes. A lot can be done up front for future countries. Get countries to budget already new to all countries, already visit all countries and visit them. Prepare them. Better planning Better communication, more detailed planning with country are needed. Countries are not involved in any of the planning. Info is pushed down…. leading to no buy in by countries. Plans are not always realistic and impacts resources.”

R#3 “order for the communications to be effective and understood. Importance of social understanding in order to “get into his mind.” For example, some people are more comfortable in various environments to open up to each other’s. The understanding of individuals is crucial. For example, international countries trying to understand an African leader. They want to know the interest of the leader once they build the comfortable relationship they can push their agenda. Question situations and the example of SA being westernized and driven. What should we “change” when engaging Africa from a language, behavior and thinking.”

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R#4 ‘communication alignment challenged within Infosys and Core banking (all the various teams, management)”

R#5 “No other major feedback. Communications is always s an issue. Finding the happy load /overload of information balance. Communications is always an issue and try to pre-empt where the issues will be. Availability and access and commitment (leadership style?). And put core leadership/management team together. Planning not done and kept to. Need heavy hitters to go to countries (example of this: India onshore and offshore alignment by aligning by introducing Program Managers It helps to have an interpreter to relay messages in native tongue”

R#7 “Teams have built a good give and take, and they know how to deal and resolve issues. People are running out of things to do, so sticking their nose into areas not owned by them and this is causing confusion, and animosity. Open communications and a little corridor talk or fighting. Team here are open to discuss it immediately. Nobody takes it personally. And maturity is good. Very senior teams in the program. Get everybody into the same floor; this will address bud of the communications. Top down and bottom up. Communications is everybody’s responsibility and all have to take responsibility and ownership. Integrity: - maintain integrity between team members and partners is crucial for communications success. The moment integrity is not in place; communications are not believed. If screwed up and take responsibility (integrity), stand up for your teams if not their fault (even if a vendor). Trust each other. Personal: Balance between paper and face to face must be found. Have shorter sessions, get to the point. And maybe a longer session for the details. Relationships to address communications volumes. You cannot be on everything. Must delegate and trust your teams. They will raise it with you if they require assistance. We are seen as arrogant. We should not be whatever we can. We are seen as arrogant because we are doing things on a different speed. We have to be humble. Do not say bad things about a country on their invite.”

R#8 Infrastructure: Countries must be engaged earlier (program) We have resistance when going to country as they are not aware of the program timelines and requirements?”

R#9 Communications are the manifestation, although communications is not the real issue. There are some elements. These issues exist on all type programs/projects and day to day ops as well as in our personal lives Personal style of communications. Influences how you bring it to your personal life. Relationships are key. Clarity should not be assumed. Be accessible and keep the message consistent. Medium and succinct nature of it. Quote: “eloquence is truth spoken concisely”. Channels replace mail with personal communications. Trust and building the relationship.”

R#10 Communication needs to be constant (internal communications = external (peripherals), and peripherals feel like outsiders. Infosys & Country: Each culture is different and Change Management is crucial. Key dates are not clearly communicated around dates and roadmaps. Info in core teams may be communicated and shared, but external streams feel left out. Not sure what is going on and what is required. Core Banking Communications is a great initiative and everybody is keen to get it. The problem is also that info is not filtering down to teams, even if they are represented in Manco’s. We have to be more transparent. Blunt statements are made and there is no buy-in, this is causing more corridor whispers.”

4.4 Summary of main findings

20 percent of the sample size was female and 80 percent male, very similar to the population size. All sample candidates are senior in their respective area and have extensive experience in delivering programs in Africa for STANBIC and Infosys.

Although many resources are South African, they have been working in Africa for many years. Many key resources based in Africa are expats, as they have a very good understanding of the banking industry and good relations with the SA teams. The Expat resources are very good at relaying local country challenges and assisting to resolve them with input / involvement from Centre.

The sample was contacted and an interview scheduled for 1 hour in duration. Where possible interviews were held face-to-face or done via telephone. All interviews were recorded (available if you want it), but summarized in the excel spread sheet uploaded.)

Some Country resources travelled to SA for workshops and the interviews were rescheduled to rather have a face-to-face interview.

This research used a selected sample in order to choose participants for in-depth interviews. The sample was small (ten participants). Two of the respondents were interviewed over the telephone instead of face-to-face. This was an unfortunate development but necessary due to their work schedule which put them out of the country at the time of the survey.

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4.5 Further research

So this suggests that conducting a larger sample would also provide interesting results. An experiment also designed as a survey could be designed with a larger participant base, a control group and random selection. Including more non-South Africans working in country would add valuable information. This may require support of translators depending on the English skills of the participants. It would also be good to take a slide through the hierarchy of STANBIC from the top management through the lower levels. Another interesting research project would be to interview a large randomly chosen group of respondents who have had the responsibility of project manager during their tenure at Standard Bank (historical) to STANCIC in the present bank configuration. The questions in the current survey would be good to use as models and add more questions that encourage respondents to share solutions and activities that have been successful problem solvers in the past.

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