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About the delayed completion of CABS system upgrade; and a note to all e-money platforms

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CABS bank que

The past 10 years wouldn't have been possible without you. Thank you!.

Now that the government has become clear about not giving ‘non-exporters’ cash, the need for reliable electronic banking systems skyrockets – after all, the bulk of us are ‘non-exporters’.

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A cashless society can be achieved, only if trust comes into play. Unfortunately, trust is not something we have in Zimbabwe, we have become a broken child. We’ve been disappointed one too many times and now our trust literally needs to be earned. One would have to prove beyond any reasonable and unreasonable doubt that indeed they can be trusted.

Quite unfortunate again that those that need (or maybe just want) our trust are doing so little if at all to gain it – a syndrome that emanates from the government.

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Techzim has reported a lot on the incompetence of some banks and mobile money platforms, an example from the top of my head would be Steward Bank. I acknowledge that the ‘cashlessness’ move was a bit rapid, which means maybe their systems were not ready for the overload but I really resent most of these platforms’ poor communication skills. Most of the time, it’s only after people start complaining that they start sending out notifications, and I refuse to believe that these platforms only get to know that something is wrong when people start complaining. Even so, I would still blame them for not knowing, aren’t there teams/individuals meant to constantly monitor the systems?

Quite recently, CABS had a scheduled system upgrade which they communicated (I’d say) well to the public. Unfortunately, the upgrade took longer than scheduled and based on our intel, a lot of people were not kept up to speed. This is actually a trend with most of these banks. Usually, the only privileged society is one on social media otherwise if not, you’ll be stuck thinking it’s a you-problem.

Apart from Facebook, twitter, the newspaper, can we not add text messages? Text messages that arrive on time and not 2 days after the damage has already been done. In fact why not be pro-active? If you can predict how long a certain upgrade will take, I’m pretty sure you can tell half way through that you won’t be able to finish it on time, so why not just let your customers know than gamble?

And by the way, this is not only addressing CABS but all the other platform that have anything to do with money, it’s money for crying out loud! CABS just happened to be the sacrificial lamb today.

So back to the main story; according to the email we received from CABS on the 24th of October, the upgrade had been successfully completed – yet, up to now we still are witnessing complaints from CABS customers. Complaints ranging from money disappearing from accounts, RTGS transfers not reaching their intended destinations on time (if at all), CABS customers not being able access their EcoCash accounts on the platform etc. All some serious inconvenience for people who chose to trust their system.

In conclusion, please CABS et al., (yes you all know yourselves) do take your customers a little more seriously especially now in this semi-cashless society, our lives genuinely depend on it.


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14 thoughts on “About the delayed completion of CABS system upgrade; and a note to all e-money platforms

  1. I am very disappointed on how you rush to judge Steward bank but fail to acknowledge them once they have rectified the problem. The bank needed an upgrade and they had forecasted that it would take a short time but they did not make it in time. Now that they have resolved their issues, where is the follow up article to state that they have delivered on their promises.

    Same with CABS, we will expect a folow up article once the dust has settled. Dont be too fond of spreading bad news and leave the good news for the dogs.

    Thanks

    1. Isn’t it what we all expect? A good system with little or no glitches? I’d call that normal and not something to write about. However when we deviate from the norm, i.e. when a system malfunctions, then yes everyone needs to know. if some extra motivation in the form of calling out should be done, then let it be done.
      Also you’ll notice that we announced CABS and ZB bank system upgrade on the same day. ZB bank completed theirs on the exact date we announced, therefore I don’t see the need for a follow up there. However, with CABS that’s obviously a different story

      Nonetheless, I’d say if you really follow our blog you’ll notice that where we think credit is due, we generously give it. Examples:
      https://www.techzim.co.zw/2017/07/steward-bank-case-study-old-vs-new-thinking-broadband-economy/
      https://www.techzim.co.zw/2017/05/new-pleasant-surprise-leadership-appointments-steward-bank/
      https://www.techzim.co.zw/2017/02/steward-bank-delivers-convenience-diaspora-banking-unit-clients-zimbabwe-get/
      and yes all on Steward bank.

      1. I bank with all three of these institutions. They made a mess of their process. ZB is last in my book when it comes to the system. Let us not defend the indefensible. Dzimwe mari dzedu isu ishoma to the extent yekuti if i can’t access on time zvinouraya zvinhu zvakawanda. All of them did a piss poor job and they should stomach that

      2. I am in agreement with Joseph though, it seems if you want to talk about anything negative you have to name drop Steward bank, yes u hav those articles which indeed are abt changes at Steward bank, but why always name drop them when you have something to about system challenges to say…why not name drop them once like they have solved their issues and we haven’t heard any negative report on them for the past 2mnths…those of us who bank with them are content now but seems u have a gripe to always grind with them…
        I hav accounts with TWO other financial institutions and the experience with them is worse than what I felt with steward but I haven’t read about them hear ever..

      3. During CABS upgrade we have seen our accounts being debited and credited with amounts of varying magnitudes. ordinarily these transactions were attracting attendant bank charges which were not reversed. Very frustrating indeed.

        1. Very true, why should we pay for their boob. Institutions in zim vakajaidzwa. We can’t pay for their experiments. They need to shoulder these charges, fire their IT executives or who ever is consulting for them

  2. I am responsible for a couple of servers running some erp, pos systems etc etc and it’s unheard off that I would conduct an upgrade over a weekend etc and have a complete disaster the following Monday, I would be fired on the spot due to loss of revenue and inadequate planning, I mean surely if a person in charge of a small infrastructure like myself is paranoid about ensuring consistent uptime and have several duplicate standby systems in place in case a system upgrade or windows server update etc etc goes wrong what more for a bank for crying out loud!…In this era of IT in 2017 it’s unacceptable that a bank can have an upgrade that causes such type of a disaster and get away with it for that matter. They need to wake up and smell the coffee and stop playing or experimenting with systems that are so vital to the nation as a whole. They need to have duplicate standby infrastructure that can serve people as usual whilst they upgrade the main system and then switch back once they have tested everything and confirmed all is well otherwise as a bank if they can’t put in such a simple backup / standby duplicate infrastructure in place then they should be out of business surely and don’t tell me about the financial implications of setting this up because if you provide a vital service like a bank does then they should know better, it’s just poor planning that’s all and knowing that there’s no authority that will hold them accountable for messing up customers financial lively hood like this especially in a cashless environment for that matter.

    1. Hi Andrew . . . i disagree with your view.These occurences are very common with ssystem upgrades,In some cases it is not simply a system upgrade it is a conversion or rows and tables.Believe you me this is not rocket science and a lot can go wrong even after several checks and testing.If you want you can do a survey and tell me that i am wrong.You are speaking from a small infrastructure point of view and with limited know how of the errors that come up mostly during system upgrades especially for banking systems.Do your research on major banks like SA’s standard bank ,first bank and even the UK’s HSBC bank.For a banking system the upgrade is normally done in phases and with the complex number of transactions and interfaces etc it might not make sense to revate back to duplicate servers as this will in most cases be a replication of the upgraded system,i can do an article on this to explain more.I think what is important is how the issue is handled and how quickly they can resolve the issues.If they can pick what caused the error then to me they have the necessary controls.Its only now with the advancement of AI that systems are becoming clever and picking some of the issues before they occur and even then this is still not 100% reliable.Its easy at times to just blame the banks without understanding the underlying fundamentals and its also very easy to say out that they can do this and that.Believe you me the people who work in these banks are some of the most knowledgeable and highly efficient industry experts.

      1. I agree my view is limited when it comes banking systems but l think l have been in the industry long enough to understand the fundamentals very well. I certainly don’t agree that we need to excuse poor planning and execution for complexity and technology has come way too far to blame it on complexity as well and as an IT professional myself l know well enough that too many times we try to hide behind this so called complexity argument when things go wrong. So are you saying each time a bank does an upgrade that’s botched up we need to sit back and accept it because it’s very ‘complex’ ?

        Still I’m happy to have gotten the argument going as I’m very much willing to learn and understand from others but also it doesn’t mean that someone needs to have 20 Masters degrees to simply understand that when you do a core system upgrade which l am just assuming was part of the upgrade process, the first thing you should plan for is the worst case scenario where everything will go completely wrong and what do you do when the worst happens ?

        Anyway BTM at the end of the day I’m also here to learn from others as well and if you are more knowledgeable on how banking system upgrades work maybe you could do an article as you have suggested and we could all learn from that as well as this the important thing when all is said and done.

  3. nonsense is nonsense, How can we trust plastic money if banks take a month to resolve simple money issues. don’t defend mediocrity

  4. I think name dropping is important when one cannot get answers from their bank. Up to the time of the upgrade CABS Callcentre worked fine but as soon as a problem emerged they were unreachable. Even a recorder message on their system outlining the problem and efforts being made to rectify it would have been helpful. I have to look for third party sources for a clue as to what is happening. The “incorrect balances” notice on the site isn’t too helpful. I love CABS. I love their banking app and even if cash is an issue with them I don’t mind. But this last werk I have felt let down.

  5. CABS is really shitty this time around. We still can’t access our money and their call centre is really shitty as well. Their IT department is shitty and they don’t deserve to be on the job. One week without accessing our money is unbearable. Please make our money available and sort out yo mess.

  6. These banks now lack integrity because they know they answer to noone, l had an RTGS to my account a day before the upgrade and still up to now its not deposited.

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