The race to an integrated fleet solution

integrated fleet

By Derick De Vries, Executive Head: Standard Bank Fleet and Card Management (Vehicle and Asset Finance) - Standard Bank Group 

Digital ecosystems are set to revolutionise customer experience in the financial services sector. Integrated platforms which combine services and products in a customer centric manner will define how banks interact with their customers and partners in the future.

Many financial services organisations are already on the road to ecosystem and platform offerings and the switch to cloud technology serves an important route marker on their journey.

Within these organisations various sectors are looking to emulate this journey and transform themselves digitally.

The fleet solutions industry faces many challenges when it comes to digitisation and integration, chief among them being the plethora of systems and platforms which exist. Unfortunately, there has been limited innovation, digital migration, and integration of any sort, within the fleet management industry over the last 40 years.

The digital transformation of fleet services needs collaboration and automation on a grand scale.

Whoever wins the digital transformation race and can offer something tangible to clients by creating a one stop shop will be the winners at the end of the day. The combination of a single database and an integrated platform where suppliers and funders can partner to deliver services will be the game changer for fleet management in 2021.

At Standard Bank Fleet our vision is to be the leading digital analytics lead fleet management provider within Africa. We have taken tremendous steps towards reaching this goal including a major overhaul of our fleet management system, which has made it more efficient, and positioned us, we believe, as key to the sector’s digitalisation journey.

Digitisation has allowed us to be more customer centric, partner across sectors and be more solutions based.

Existing legacy platforms simply could not give us the leverage that we needed to change the business, introduce new products, and make enhancements on the existing solutions. Moving to a digital platform ensures that customers who engage with us will have access to a whole suite of products, both from us and from third party suppliers.

A digital fleet platform which is cloud based, like ours, is more agile and expedites integration thanks to application programming interfaces (APIs), which is software that allows two applications to talk to each other.

An example of this is our recent partnership with TruckFuelNet (TFN) which bring together real time refuelling management and the best in on road diesel discounts and driver costs management.

The integrated offering will mean that Standard Bank fleet clients will be able to access expanded TFN offerings which includes access to TFN forecourts, services such as paying for overnight parking, lodging and food for truck drivers, and filling up using their Standard Bank fleet management facility.

Our new platform also helps to drive automation and digitisation heightening the ability to do data analytics for your business. It also serves as a central data repository or data reservoir which allows us to access valuable behavioural insights to create savings and add meaningful value for our clients.

The end of our ecosystem journey will culminate in our portal where customers can access their data and pull business intelligence reports and analytics. They will be able to tailor make their own dashboards in terms of what they want to see and what information they want to measure.

All of this will improve our customer centricity, but it will also help to create savings for these fleets.

Already we have rolled out digital contracting capabilities with about 98% of customers now signing our agreements electronically. This self-help facility creates added efficiencies, not only within the banking environment but also in the life of the customer.

The opportunity to roll out these solutions across Africa to service cross border fleets and manage cross border payments is massive. The technology we now have allows for seamless integration and once the correct platforms are in place in neighbouring states, our cloud-based platform will break down existing barriers.

We face the same challenges of disparate services and data formats in markets in Africa as we do here, but recent advances demonstrate that creating an integrated, efficient, digital platform which operates across borders is possible.

Fleet clients will not choose a service provider if they cannot deliver basic product sets but if you can do that and integrate third party service providers into your solution and give them meaningful value at the same time you will lead the industry moving forward.

Gone are the days of just swiping a fleet card. Fleet services has evolved to include different payment mechanism, mobile and tag solutions, and number plate recognition. The next step in the evolution will be this integrated ecosystem where customers can manage all their vehicle related and mobility needs going forward.

The more you can integrate, the more you can aggregate and give customers a seamless experience when they deal with you.

The organisation with a wealth of the data which it can use to add meaningful value to corporate fleets customers, saving them time and money, and creating efficiencies within their business will be the ultimate winner in the race to digital fleet services in Africa.