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Pitney Bowes provides ‘lucky last mile’

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In preparation for the running of the national lottery, Ithuba sought to digitise its on-boarding system for retailers and introduce a more efficient, paperless process. The company approached specialists in customer communications and digital signature technology Pitney Bowes South Africa, and is now positioned as South Africa’s first truly digital lottery operator.
The system will enable Ithuba agents to take on thousands of new retailers in a short period of time using a tablet-based system in which all critical information is captured on site, auto-populated and verified.  This is a ‘first’ in the National Lottery’s history in this country and a ‘feather in the cap’ for Pitney Bowes, which developed and customised the system for Ithuba’s specific requirements through the company’s e-business division, pbVerify.
“The system means Ithuba can now enrol new retailers using a tablet-driven API (Application Programming Interface) system, enabling the company’s field agents across South Africa to auto-populate electronic application forms with verified identity credentials, business information and the exact GPS location of potential retailers,” explains Leon van der Merwe, business development manager for Pitney Bowes South Africa.
“Once the information is captured, the retailers can sign the digital application form with an electronic signature. The back-office system at Ithuba then performs automated CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property) checks, commercial credit checks and anti-fraud checks – digitising the entire vetting process.”
pbVerify specialises in customised solutions that focus on digitising specific, paper-intensive business processes and in doing so, completely eliminating the need for paper. Benefits include faster turnaround times when taking on new clients, error-free digital data capturing, a minimised IT footprint and optimisation of business processes.
“This was a perfect match-fit for Ithuba, which need to take on thousands of new retailers in a short space of time,” says van der Merwe.
This system is cutting-edge in the world of digital on-boarding because it offers a complete, end-to-end digital solution, notes Michael Springer, MD of Pitney Bowes South Africa.
“We solve what we refer to as the ‘last mile’. Even businesses which have adopted some kind of digital on-boarding system still do not have the capacity to integrate real-time verified information. Existing systems eventually need to resort to manual, paper-based processes which require human intervention, printing, signing and scanning of documents,” he says. “pbVerify technology provides the solution through a powerful workflow engine which automates the entire verification and credit assessment end-to-end.”
The pbVerify system has relevance for any business regularly on-boarding new clients or customers, a process which normally involves a substantial amount of documents which are required to be completed and signed by the customer. The system utilises personal and business information drawn from various data sources, such as the Department of Home Affairs, credit bureaus, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and other reputable data providers, to instantly populate digital form fields.
“This saves time, ensures that the captured data is error-free and ultimately enhances the customer experience,” notes van der Merwe. “In the case of Ithuba, this will ensure a highly time-efficient process whereby thousands of new retailers will be able to come on board through the use of tablets. Automated credit checks are generated by the system and accurate geo-locations and installation data captured in the field ensures meticulous management of the lottery system.”
For Ithuba, pvVerify perfectly matched their requirements for a more efficient on-boarding process as part of its preparations to run a world class national lottery network.
“As the official Operator of the National Lottery, Ithuba is excited about the partnership with Pitney Bowes South Africa as it gives us an opportunity to modernise the lottery and to further grow our retailer footprint through technology and efficient service to our retailers,” says Charmaine Mabuza, CEO of Ithuba.
“Thanks to Pitney Bowes South Africa, we have been able to introduce a ground-breaking paperless system which will vastly enhance our processes and interactions with our retail partners,” concludes Mabuza.
“We are pleased that Ithuba entrusted such a critical and innovative process to us,” says Springer.  “The end-product far exceeded what anyone could have imagined just a few months ago. Not only were the boundaries of “going paperless” pushed further, but we also managed to incorporate the latest in electronic signatures and digital verifications which will see Ithuba soar ahead as South Africa’s first truly digital National Lottery operator,” he says.