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Our Transformation Priority

Continuous transformation is central to Sanlam’s ability to adapt to a changing world and underpins all of the strategic pillars. Transformation takes on different forms in the Group, but can currently be grouped into two main areas:

Digital transformation at Sanlam, through business intelligence, relates to the applications, infrastructure, tools and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimise decisions and performance. We continue driving the following:

  • adding depth to client profiles, interactions and operations by integrating external data, for example from advisers and intermediaries
  • tapping into behaviour patterns, trends and sentiments to drive better client experience, for example through Sanlam Reality
  • making use of predictive analytics to foster more effective cross-selling and upselling opportunities, reduce lapses and increase retention
  • using advanced analytics to spot fraudulent behaviours, forecast outcomes and guide actions
  • visualising data to enable better management reporting

Examples of digital innovation are described in the SPF case study.

New requirements, such as client-centricity, digital developments, regulatory changes and security concerns, are also driving the case for expanding Sanlam’s IT philosophy. Due to digital technology advances, there is an increased focus on big data and cybersecurity threats, which creates new challenges and opportunities for businesses.

We are currently facing IT risks grouped into the following themes:

  • Cyber and information security risks related to cyber-resilience, including crisis management capabilities, security measures and security capabilities.
  • Our aim to position the business for the future creates risks related to digital capabilities, the appropriateness of solutions, strategy alignment, architecture quality, cost sustainability and capability renewal.
  • Change ability concerns available skills, key resources, project delivery and the impact of change.
  • Sourcing risks relate to the terms of procurement strategies, vendor capabilities and sustainability, and the monitoring and control of ecosystems and their components.
  • Data and compliance risks relate to data ownership, management and quality, as well as regulatory and policy compliance.
  • Legacy renewal risk concerns modernisation and technical debt.
  • Operational stability defines risks in terms of system stability, service management and delivery, as well as disaster recovery planning.

An IT Steering committee with cluster and Group representation was established under the Group Exco to drive a revised IT governance model based on a Group-wide technology strategy. A new function, Group Technology and Information, was formed to improve our digital technology capability, enterprise architecture, and technology and information governance across the Group.

The new Group technology strategy subscribes to the “One Sanlam” principle: to drive overall strategic business coordination, opportunities and potential synergies between businesses – within clusters and business units – and minimise any wasteful overlaps. It targets greater levels of collaboration across the Sanlam Group.

With the increasingly diverse profile of the Group, the transformation of the workplace in terms of diversity and inclusion is critical. We have a diverse range of businesses and interests across the continent within countries with different levels of political, economic and social risk. We are present in all four language regions of the continent. Our working relationship with Saham Finances since 2016 continues to deepen our mutual understanding of how to address and manage potential cultural barriers.

Our partnership approach assists and guides us to navigate people risks, with a particular focus on the retention and transfer of skills to ensure resilience.

Therefore, most of our employee activities drive the attraction, motivation and retention of key talent in leadership and specialist roles.

At the annual senior and future leaders’ conference held in June, over 700 delegates attended. The conference plays a key role in cementing Group identity around ethics, compliance, partnerships and delivery, while driving alignment and collaboration.

The Group HR conference in July brought together 130 Sanlam leaders and professionals from Malaysia, a range of African countries and the UK. A key focus for the conference was to foster relationship building that underpins improved talent mobility.

In South Africa, our transformation imperative relates to broad-based black economic empowerment and our role in supporting economic growth in the country. The package of BBBEE transactions approved by shareholders in December 2018 will bring strong impetus to these imperatives. We have also allocated a significant amount of funding to the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative launched by the president. We are bringing youth into various Sanlam businesses and are also funding learners in targeted small and medium-sized enterprises under the guidance of the YES management team. For example, SPF will accommodate 172 learners with the intent of absorbing them into the mainstream business upon completion of a 12-month contract.

We have made significant progress over the last 10 years to transform in South Africa and achieved a level 1 status in terms of the FSC at the end of 2018, which positions us well within our peer group. We in particular made significant progress with regards to employment equity, with 77% of the South African staff complement being from designated groups. Transformation of the demographic profile of Sanlam at top, senior and middle-management levels in South Africa, however, remains a challenge. We continue to actively drive and measure progress in terms of employment equity in every cluster, with incentives linked to transformation targets.

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