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Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)

Customer Snapshot: Overview

Serving 14 countries and 277 million people in Southern African Development Community

By funding large infrastructure projects that cover basic human needs from water to transportation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) improves the lives of millions of people. To support this important mission, the bank turned to SAP® software to help manage a growing portfolio of loan products and services with greater visibility and more efficient, integrated processes.

Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)

ZAR 4.41 billion

Number of Employees

Implementation Partner URL


Johannesburg, South Africa

Customer Website

Implementation Partners
IZAZI Solutions (Pty) Ltd.

Line of Business
Finance, Sourcing and Procurement

SAP Solutions
SAP ERP, SAP Loans Management

Customer Snapshot: History

Three Decades of Development

As the world changed, the bank’s mandate has expanded dramatically:

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Reducing Poverty, Improving Lives

Look up the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) on the Internet, and you will learn that it accelerates sustainable socioeconomic development by funding social and economic infrastructure. Ask the DBSA’s CIO James Thackrah about the bank, and you will get a far more personal perspective. “Our primary mission is to reduce poverty and improve the lives of people across the region of southern Africa,” says Thackrah.

The DBSA acts under mandate from the South African government, and it funds infrastructure projects that include water, sanitation, housing, energy, and transportation.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Mission: Critical

The human impact of this mission is enormous. The region – known as the Southern African Development Community – currently consists of 14 countries and has a population of around 277 million people.
The bank’s products and services have evolved considerably in recent years. It now manages grants and supports investment banking as well.

The Challenge

Unique Needs Call for Unique Solution

DBSA’s loans management solution, however, had not kept pace with the bank’s changing mandate. The DBSA was having to manage more and more of its business outside of its homegrown system.
Upgrading the existing solution was an option, but bank leaders decided that the wiser investment was an integrated suite of solutions that included the SAP Loans Management and SAP ERP applications.
We thought our needs were unique and that’s why we developed our own software in the first place. –James Thackrah, CIO, Development Bank of Southern Africa

Enter SAP

An Expanding Perspective on Integrated Software

With many new business initiatives to support, the DBSA decided to see what the market had to offer. As bank officials examined solutions from several vendors, their vision for the project began to expand. They looked at the bigger picture and recognized the advantages of integrating their loans management solution with the systems for financials and other key operations.
Ultimately, the DBSA decided that the SAP software offered the best fit.
There was about an 80% match between the bank’s processes and the native functionality of SAP software, so we could avoid extensive customizations. –James Thackrah, CIO, Development Bank of Southern Africa

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

Investing in Solid Project Management

After choosing the solution set, the bank turned its attention to ensuring a successful implementation.
The DBSA established a strong project management function and chose IZAZI Solutions (Pty) Ltd. as its implementation partner. IZAZI has a significant presence in the region and a strategic focus in the banking industry. Together, the team members used predefined implementation templates from IZAZI and paid particular attention to helping ensure data quality during the migration.
Sound project management paid real dividends. The phased implementation included solutions for loans management, financials, procurement, and human resources – and all of these rollouts were completed within budget.

Better Business

The Value of a Strong Foundation

The DBSA recognizes the value of solid and sustainable infrastructure – both in socioeconomic development and in its own business process improvement. The DBSA now manages and tracks 100% of its loans with SAP solutions. And its ability to react quickly to ad hoc requests for loan disbursements has improved dramatically

Better Business: Benefits

Taking it to the Bank
In procurement, the DBSA can manage all spending centrally, and avoid overexposure on contracts. Maverick spend is practically zero.
Errors in payroll runs have dropped dramatically. Closure times are shorter. The bank improved its reporting processes and rolled out self-services. “Previously, I had limited insight against my budget and had to wait for finance to provide reports,” says Thackrah. “Now I can create those reports myself.”
DBSA agents have better access to client information, and report improvements in call center responsiveness.

Better Business: Run Simple

Integration = Efficiency + Mission Focus

The bank replaced four core systems with a single integrated solution. Reducing complexity enables the DBSA to focus on its core business of disbursing funds and helping to build better lives for millions of Africans.

Journey Ahead

Maintaining the Momentum

That’s not a concern, as the DBSA doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The bank is currently finishing an implementation of SAP BusinessObjects™ business intelligence solutions, and the DBSA is considering other projects as well. These include possible rapid deployment solutions for customer relationship management and governance, risk, and compliance.

This is just the beginning of a journey…We have built up a good head of steam, but we can’t lose the momentum. –James Thackrah, CIO, Development Bank of Southern Africa
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