Our technology

As an integral part of our intellectual and manufactured capitals, technology and the way we leverage it are vital aspects of the Group’s growth strategy.

During the year under review, in addition to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), we enabled the bolstering of performance in the following areas:

In addition, several of these performance-enhancing achievement were included in a number of important milestones in embedding the technology that will function as an enabler as we strategically transform into a technology company.

These milestones are all aligned with all four of the Group’s strategic pillars, as well as with our Customer Obsession culture, as they provide not only the means for strengthening our core, delivering as a financial services provider, accelerating new growth areas and achieving cost leadership, while at the same time putting the customers’ needs and concerns first. Among our important achievements in the domain of technology were:

  • Attaining deepened customer engagement, powered by a new customer value management (CVM) tool
  • The onboarding of a new anti-fraud management tool that is able to monitor performance, with robust capability for M-PESA and international money transfers that flags money laundering
  • The launches of:
    The Safaricom Baze Platform offering localised content by local providers
    The M-PESA Consumer App
    A platform for managing surveillance for SMEs
    Halal PESA, the first mobile lending product for the benefit of the Muslim community
    Fuliza airtime
    Fixed wireless access on 5G
    The API gateway for partners to integrate into M-PESA ecosystem

For more on our services and solutions, click here.

As part of the effort underlying these achievements, a significant investment was made during the year in building 495 new sites and upgraded 1,100 4G and 1,000 3G sites, and other technology systems including:

  • A capacity expansion of 96% for Fuliza Overdraft throughput
  • An upgrade of the billing system, operating system, databases and versions
  • An M-PESA design refresh to enhance operational excellence and reduce planned downtime
  • An IT infrastructure refresh to accommodate the growth in systems and applications
  • Enhancing by 33%, the robustness of the API gateway for external developers to integrate with M-PESA
  • Integrating new spectrum in 1,800 4G sites
  • Increasing core capacity to handle a 60% increase in mobile data volume
  • Capacity enhancement by 80% for VoLTE to accommodate 5 million users
  • The rolling out of more than 700kms of new fibre, thereby interconnecting sites and in turn, improving customer experience

We see this investment as a trade-off that fosters our Agile organisation, technology governance that ensures that all IT purchases are managed within IT itself, and that our systems and customer data are secure, in turn providing an enhanced network experience with a resulting improved Network NPS.

With the Group critically dependent on technology, there are a number of attendant risks, the top five of which are:

  • The global shortage of chipsets
  • Geopolitical issues affecting some key vendors
  • Escalating operational expenditure to meet the corresponding growth of cloud computing, and the need to review financial accounting models to cater for this
  • The fostering of skills to keep pace with digital transformation

An important challenge faced during the year under review was the pause enforced on our migration to the cloud by the need to wait for regulatory clarifications on data privacy.

We are protecting customer privacy and data, and mitigating against cyber-attacks by anonymising customer data in order to protect it.

We continued during FY2022, to respond to the consumer demands and trends we identified through:

  • Flexible platforms with open API standards
  • Adopting Agile methodologies
  • Actively collecting customer feedback through Transactional NPS surveys (TNPS)
  • Big data analytics to study customer behaviour and create appropriate and relevant products for them
  • The adoption of smart planning to optimally indicate places where sites should be deployed

During the year we continued to make significant progress in realising our commitment to improving lives and providing opportunity for individuals and communities by:

  • Investing in the network, with fixed wireless access on 5G
  • Accelerating access to 3G and 4G through 10MHz activation of L2100 on 4G
  • Cloud services for enterprises, through AWS partnership for cloud hosting services, and enabling self-service for enterprise customers, thereby ensuring faster turn-around time and less demand

Women in Technology

Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an initiative of passionate women who have established a technology incubator with the aim of strategically and consistently helping to nurture students and youth as future creators and innovators for next-generation employment and entrepreneurship.

WIT achieves this through six key programmes aimed at girl children at various stages of their education cycle by continuously providing support through coaching, mentorship, exposure to evolving technologies, technical platforms and networks.

The objective is to facilitate the increase, onboarding, and retention of the number of women within careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). During FY2022, the representation of women within our Technology Division stood at 21.8%, a decline of 9.9% YoY. For more on our impact on society, click here.

During the year, Our Digital Academy embraced other areas of the business, although the Technology Division remained the largest contributor of candidates.

During the year, we continued to aid in scaling up agricultural capabilities of small holder farmers in Kenya with our ongoing provision of DigiFarm services.

DigiFarm is a mobile platform, which is also accessible on USSD, that offers farmers convenient, one-stop access to a suite of products, including financial and credit services, quality farm products and customised information on farming best practices. Since its launch in 2017, DigiFarm, has registered over 1.4 million users with 160,000 of them active users.

We continue to work to provide and maximise connectivity for the benefit of all Kenya’s people, and during the year under review, our efforts in this regard included:

  • Close collaboration with the regulator to roll out 4G and 3G sites in remote areas under the Universal Service Fund (USF) initiative
  • Improving state of security in access gap areas to minimise destruction of key network installations
  • Increasing the availability of affordable 4G devices
  • Facing the challenge of competing community priorities where communities prefer water, health centres and schools before the deployment
    of network installations

We have outlined a number of goals for the short-term. These include:

  • Maintaining our customer NPS #1
  • Attaining high system-availability
  • Ensuring a minimal error rate on all our platforms and services
  • Attaining a Customer Obsession engagement score of higher than 85
  • Establishing Safaricom as the “Best Place to Work” and thereby limiting the attrition of talent
  • Facilitating the acquisition of digital skills by staff
  • Deploying 100% of Digital Channels to the cloud
  • Growing customer self-service usage on existing and new channels

In the medium- to long-term, we envisage:

  • A high attrition rate of niche skills
  • A global shortage of chipsets
  • Geopolitical issues affecting certain key vendors
  • The persistence of escalating operational expenditure with a corresponding growth of cloud computing, and the need to review financial accounting models in order to cater for this