Our Disruptive Solutions Are Compatible With Omnichannel Platforms-UNIKEN Exec
FIONA KONCHELLAH, tells Clifford Agugoesi at CyFrica 2020, organized by Tradepass 25-26 February, at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, south west, Nigeria, UNIKEN solutions are functional on multiple digital channels.
CYBER ERA: Why is UNIKEN attending CyFrica 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria?
FIONA KONCHELLAH: Our interest is around enhancing security for customers, especially for financial institutions, such as banks, and that is why we are here today to interact, engage, network and also gain some insights from industry leaders.
CE: In the course of our research, we stumbled on a comment by analyst firm Gartner, very catchy, very interesting, describing your company UNIKEN as a ‘cool vendor.’ How does it feel to be so described?
FK: For us to be awarded in 2018 as a cool vendor, we were actually honoured, humbled and privileged, because, we believe that our innovations have been thrilling, young, and cool, as Gartner put it, and for us, that is a recognition that we, infact, have achieved. That as much as we are constantly innovating every single day to get Gartner extend such an award, for us, is humbling.
CE: Our teeming readers globally would like you to describe cool from a UNIKEN perspective?
FK: I believe our solutions are exciting, hence the title ‘cool vendor’ by Gartner. If you look at our solutions from a demonstration perspective, as we demoed them today, to various industry leaders, we are disruptive in the way we do things at UNIKEN and that is why we have won not one, not two but Five Multi-Factor Authentication(5MFA), for a customer to be able to be verified, that they are, indeed, a true customer and, that, in itself, is very cool in our opinion.
CE: What is the UNIKEN edge?
FK: Most of our competition in the market would probably have Two-Factor Authentication(2FA), we have five levels of mulfi-factor authentication. We also provide a single signon, enhancing consistency of how customers interact with financial institutions, for instance, as multiple channels. So whether they interact with the financial institutions from a mobile, from a web, from an IVR call centre, from WhatsApp, from Telegram, it is the same, consistent channel in which they interact over various digital platforms, making it seamless for the customer, making it a fantastic experience and ease of use, which is critical in this day and age, because, we are moving towards a very digital era.
CE: Lead us into your solutions applicability worldwide and what is the driving factor for this applicability from a UNIKEN point of view ?
FK: From an applicability point of view, our solutions are able to be used on many omnichannel platforms and with omnichannel, here I mean, you are able to have UNIKEN SDK file sit on IVR call centres, on social media platforms, on your mobile applications, on your internet banking applications, or web-based applications and over and above that, even on card transactions, from an ATM point of view. So from an applicability point of view, we cut across various channels that any financial institution, banks, or service provider would have, and we are very proud of having a solution that is able to be Multi-factor, yeah.
CE: How gender-sensitive is UNIKEN’s employment policy; would you describe UNIKEN as an equal opportunity employer, for instance?
FK: I think being a woman in the tech industry, in itself, that should answer your question, because, tech has been a predominantly male-dominated industry and in Africa to have a lady lead the Africa division for UNIKEN, is ideally showcasing how equally we are when it comes to opportunities. UNIKEN is also a member of global Women in Identity (WiD), which goes to show why we focus on employing from more of a skills-based as opposed to gender-based.
CE: What challenges do your responsibility bring across for you as an individual and what would be your counsel to young and upcoming female technopreneurs?
FK: It is not challenging to be a woman in technology. It really isn’t, because, we are evolving in a digital era. And women are also moving in that era, as well. As you can see now, there are a lot of women in high-powered positions in industries. So, it is just for us to take up initiatives, take them up as an opportunity, learn and grow.
CE: How would you quantify tech opportunities in South Africa and do you think the SA experience could be cascaded across the continent?
FK: There are many women in financial payments as well as technology across the continent, not only in South Africa. The CEO of Cisco East Africa is a lady, so we are having more and more women taking up very very high positions in technology across the continent and it is actually quite inspiring and that is why is you are seeing a new frontier of young women coming and actually seeing that it is possible to succeed and to lead in tech.
CE: What is the attraction for UNIKEN to CyFrica 2020?
FK: We are a cybersecurity platform and CyFrica being a cybersecurity event is a perfect fit for us. We have also done some events with TradePass, not only in Africa, but in the Middle East and Asia as well and our experience has been extremely fantastic with them. So, this is actually a perfect fit for us and we are happy that we are here and we love Lagos, the people are lovely, the food is great, so, why not?
CE: What are your major takeaways and what do you think would be the state of the cybersecurity landscape after CyFrica 2020?
FK: For us at UNIKEN, we always come into any conference knowing that we also need to learn. As much as we are giving information about what we do at UNIKEN, we are also here to learn. We are here to learn about what the country is about, what values, what infrastructures are necessary, what is the need in the tech industry here in Nigeria? And, for us, we are coming out with so many learnings from it, because, by the time we leave here tomorrow, we better understand what the banking sector looks like here, what the insurance sector looks like here, what the government sector(because there are a lot of government representatives here), from Central Bank point of view, from a parastatal point of view, so we are gathering all that information and seeing how we can make our solutions effective across multiple sectors. So, that is the key learning that we have.
CE: Would you say you have you learned enough or are you still giving yourself room to learn more?
FK: You can never say you have learned enough. Wisdom can always be acquired in various forms, in various times, in various places. So, we are still learning. As long as we breathe, we are learning, yeah.
CE: What partnerships, if any, have you been able to forge in the Nigerian market?
FK: We are making efforts to have a Nigerian partner, as we said during our presentation. Conversations are ongoing around how we can partner local Nigerian firms who have the skills that are necessary to support our technology, because that is a mandatory requirement that we have and we have also met with a number of people who are very interesting for us to engage further with them, so we are happy for this summit which has enabled us have such conversations with local Nigerian companies. As I also mentioned during my presentation, we also have partnerships with Termenos, who are one of the global leading core banking systems as well as Finnacle which is also large. We have had these partnerships because most banks need our core banking system, we are having a core banking partner who is able to integrate easily into ser advantage.
CE: After CyFrica, what other fora are you attending and what values are you taking to such fora?
FK: We are always in for a such as this. We will be in Seamless Middle East in Dubai, UAE, next month. We will also be coming back to Lagos for the Digital Banking Summit. There are so many conferences across the continent in Nairobi, in Johannesbourg, in Cape Town, in Kigali, that we are part of, because, the African landscape is huge, the only way to learn is by interacting, by having conversations and learning from multiple stakeholders from across the continent.
CE: What flagship product or service did UNIKEN come with to CyFrica 2020?
FK: For us at UNIKEN, our flagship service is REL-ID, which we have demoed to a number of interested parties throughout this summit and we spoke about today during our presentation and we are proud of the REL-ID software, because, again, Our Motto is: We make connecting safe. We are looking to ensure that by the time any of our consumer is engaging with any service provider, that connection is safe, secure and seamless.
CE: What is your overview of this summit and to what extent would your presence impact it?
FK: CyFrica for us has been fantastic. As I mentioned earlier, we have partnered with TradePass in Asia, in Nairobi and also here in Lagos and we are always excited to partner with TradePass, because the caliber of people they invite for these fora are people we enjoy interacting with, who we learn from , who we gain insights from, which is critical. Our takeaway is: We are learning about a new territory for UNIKEN and we are excited at the opportunity of exploring business opportunities in this market.
- Fiona Konchellah is Vice President, Sales, Africa, at UNIKEN.
- Editor’s Note: Tradepass is a leading B2B events organizer.