The demand for connected services is growing against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, with South African companies looking for new ways to accelerate the digitisation of their business processes.

They also answer to growing customer demand for simple, more digital ways to pay for products and services at a time of physical distancing.

This is according to Charles Pittaway, MD of Netcash, who says the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the adoption of digital and cloud-based business solutions in South Africa. Connected services meet the demand for more efficient business models that support remote interaction. They simplify the transfer of information and data across multiple platforms.

Connected services also streamline transactions by doing most of the work through a single interface. For example, a company should be able to easily verify an employee’s ID number and bank account number from within a payroll solution, process EFT salary and creditor payment from an accounting package, or run credit checks from multiple credit bureaus and the CIPC within business software.

This enables these companies to access integrated payment and risk management solutions directly from accounting and payroll software at the click of a button. In turn, connected services help organisations improve efficiency, reduce the risk of fraudulent or erroneous payments, and save on transaction costs.

“Integrations such as these have had a tremendous influence on how organisations of all sizes do business,” says Pittaway. “For example, small business owners used to pay employees by logging into online banking and paying them individually. Now, they can do so from within one simple interface. These user experiences once demanded installation and configuration of special software and were available only to larger companies.”

Pittaway says the key to unlocking the full value of connected services is making them available across software-as-a-service solutions, traditional desktop software and mobile applications. Netcash has focused on making its features available on all these platforms to assist and guide small businesses not yet ready for the cloud.

“Imagine if you had your order system, warehouse, banking, accounting, distribution and every other aspect you can think of inter-connected with one click. This level of connected service can save your business a great deal of time through automation and give them access to data-driven insights for smarter decision making,” says Pittaway.

“Over the course of the last year, we have seen an accelerated move to digital systems among South African businesses. They recognise that now is the time to simplify administration, automate manual processes, and gain more control over their payments environment – with a view to improving efficiency, saving on transaction costs, and enhancing the customer experience,” he says.