Cooperative Financial Institutions - Center of Excellence

Blog » Strengthening connection with members through technology: how Sicredi makes a difference

Strengthening connection with members through technology: how Sicredi makes a difference

Created Sep 29 2020, 9:40 AM by Baloko Makala
  • Category - Technology

by Thiago Muller - Sicredi

Brazil is a huge country with over 200 million inhabitants in 27 states. Nonetheless, Sicredi, a network of cooperatives, has physical presence in almost all parts of the country. One of the reasons for their broad outreach and success could be related to the way in which they envision technology: as a tool to enable closeness of members to cooperatives, which is further explained  in this blog . In his presentation, Thiago Jacintho Muller explained how technology has strengthened Sicredi’s connection with their members.

As can be noted in many different sectors and parts of the world, Covid-19 is accelerating many existing trends that have been around for a long time. For Sicredi, some of those initiatives are listed below.

  • More than 25 thousand employees are working from home with VPN connection, which did not seem possible before Covid-19 regulations forced them to change overnight. This can be seen as an enabler for all other initiatives.
  • In the WhatsApp Enterprise, each cooperative has an account on which members and employees can reach them without having to use their personal cell phone. Before the pandemic, 40 thousand chats were held per month, now this number has accelerated to over 200 thousand.
  • Sicredi Conecta is a marketplace on a mobile app that helped members to keep their businesses running digitally when it was not possible to do so physically. The app allows members to advertise their products and services for free. Other members who are interested in those products and services can log in to purchase them.
  • In the Mobile banking app investment withdrawal of new products was made easily attainable through mobile and internet banking, providing members with the highest access to their money in difficult times.
  • The Woop digital account was Sicredi’s first move towards digital and enabled organisational capabilities that were needed for the development and implementation of the previously mentioned innovations.

In general, a widespread variety of organisational capabilities is needed to make a shift towards digitization. These can be categorized into technical capabilities on the one hand, and soft skill capabilities on the other hand. Regarding the first category, Splunk recommends in their Modern Digital Enablement Checklist report to consider the aspects as depicted in the figure below.

 

 

Source: Modern Digital Enablement Checklist, Splunk (2020).

When it comes to soft skill capabilities, factors as agile development; acceleration in decision making; product management; and user experience are relevant.

Knowing about Sicredi’s current practices and innovations, the question remains what is still to come? What will a branch look like in the future?

In Sicredi’s vision, a future branch will be a relationship space empowered by technology. It entails a network- and business space; marketplace for making connections; learning space in which people from the community can share knowledge and experience with other members; relationship space; market-data space; and of course a space for transactions, although that will not be the sole focus. The focus will be on keeping close to members by human interface, and empowered by technology.