ZZTL or Zara Zaman Technology Ltd. has emerged as one of the fastest growing suppliers and service providers for alternative delivery channel for banks. Its strategic partnerships with international suppliers and manufacturers have enabled it to play an important role in the banking sector, particularly through introducing cash recycler machine at the beginning of last year.
Fintech talked to the person at the helm of ZZTL, Rumana Zaman, to understand more about the company. The managing director of the company Rumana Zaman shared her vision with us for the company, about the services, impact on the market and a number of other related topics.
As Ms Zaman is one of the very few women business leaders in fintech, we also asked her about women’s role in ICT and her advice for women looking to come into the tech industry.Here’s what she said:
FINTECH: Tell us a little bit about your background, how you came to work in the financial/solution sector.
R Zaman: I have completed my graduation and masters from Dhaka University. After that I have joined my family business which is a group of companies plying its trade in real estate, construction, conventional and renewable energy, agriculture, media, printing etc.
While working I got attached to the printing industry which led me to start my own security printing venture about four and a half years back. What I envisioned earlier during the start of the security printing, was that slowly but surely we are getting up to that point of being the market leader in the industry.
As we had targeted the bank cheque for our main portfolio in security printing, we were getting lots of request for Alternative Delivery Channel (ADC) products and services from banks. That’s when we decided to venture into the ADC industry as well. At that moment GRG Banking, China was also looking for a new partner in Bangladesh. We have been able to convince them to be our partner and from that point our growth is very promising to go further. I also got inspiration from my husband who is closely related to banking and the IT industry.
Fintech: Tell us about your hardware products and services, what are their unique features?
R Zaman: As a classic B2B service provider, we provide products and services to banks for their customers to get proper service. So, all of our hardware products are tailor made keeping in mind both the robustness of the hardware and convenience of end clients. We always engage subject level experts to design the hardware or ask our principal to deliver it with country specific requirements, but at the same time maintaining international standard.
We started with installing solar system for ATM booths in different banks and still doing it. But when we ventured into the market of Offline Cash Deposit Machine with an upgraded hardware design and feature rich application developed and designed by industry experts, the banking industry, especially ADC started to notice us. Now our offline CDM is the number one CDM in the market.
In parallel, we have started to supply ATM from GRG along with deploying ATMs after sales service. Our management envisioned that market should get ready for the launch of Online CDMs. So, with the full support of GRG we have started testing a Recycler ATM with leading banks of Bangladesh. After almost one and half years of currency certification we are proudly standing now, as the pioneer of introducing first ever Recycler ATM from GRG Banking, China in Bangladesh.
Recycler ATM is unique because it can dispense and take deposit real time online without any manual intervention. Since the deposited cash can be dispensed, more money circulates in the economy rather than sitting idle in the ATM vault. As of now only GRG Recycler is in live operation in Bangladesh. Our very recent introduction is a state of the art Note Sorting Machine and we have already penetrated the market. There are other products such as MPOS, Kiosk etc. which we supplied time to time for the client demand.
Fintech: How are your customers responding to your products?
R Zaman: The customers are highly encouraging our growth now. So you can understand we are getting rave reviews from our customers not only for the quality of the product but also the quality of the after sales service.
Fintech: What kind of after sales support you provide?
R Zaman: We basically provide 24/7/365 after sales support to our clients with our large pool of certified, experienced and dedicated engineers all over Bangladesh. We are also blending experience with the youth by taking fresher engineers every 2-3 months to keep the same level of service going. It is not only supporting employment rate of Bangladesh especially for engineers but also stand as a testimony to our growth in the market.
Fintech: What is the most challenging thing in delivering hardware products to your customers?
R Zaman: There are few challenges we are facing while delivering hardware products. The major challenge is to maintain the delivery schedule because of the congestion at the Chittagong port. Nowadays, port delay is happening frequently. I will urge the government to take effective initiative to cut down the time which will be beneficial for both export and import.
Fintech: When your video teller service product will be seen in the market?
R Zaman: We are very optimistic about at least soft launching this year at the fourth quarter, if everything goes according to the plan. Hopefully, we will finish all the necessary integration and testing by the third quarter of 2018.
Fintech: Do you face any regulatory challenges in importing the hardware products?
R Zaman: Everyday new products are growing due to technological advancement especially in the Fintech industry. So, it is difficult for the regulator to keep track of each and every product. So, it is always time consuming for vendors like ourselves to get them understand the value of launching these in a timely manner. But they can set up a single point where we can go and give them all the details regarding the hardware. They can then evaluate it and provide the required permission.
Fintech: Has your cost decreased for importing after the last budget, as duty on IT products were made minimal?
R Zaman: Although duty on IT products was made minimal in the last IT budget, it, unfortunately, couldn’t apply on products like ATM, Recycler etc, and the duty rates remained the same for us. In some cases, it has been increased such as imposing of AIT. If the government wants to realize the Digital Bangladesh vision fully, it should encourage incentive in the modern product like Recycler, VTM etc. Our neighboring country India has also done the same for encouraging greater financial inclusion.
Fintech: Tell us about your software solution products. Are these just for supporting the hardware products or you have independent software solutions?
R Zaman: Initially, our software solution product was more of a supporting tool to our hardware products. But nowadays we are strengthening our application development team gradually to set up a dedicated software team. We have also started to market different kinds of fintech solution from our foreign partner such as Financial Switch and Card Management System, QR based payment, Payment Gateway, Payment through Social medium like Facebook, Twitter, EMV Personalization solution etc.
Fintech: One of the most important aspects in your service is security. What kind of physical and software security you deploy with your products?
R Zaman: All our major hardware and supporting software have international security certification such as from PCI council or at least complaint to such standard. Each hardware product from our international partner like GRG is equipped with hardware security protection like advanced Anti-skimming, fishing and Anti-card-trapping solution. Our supporting software also includes latest security patches and malware solution. We also try to encourage our customers to go for regular upgrade of security patch to have the latest protection. All our software solution is minimum PCI complaint. What’s more is that it was us that introduced encryption-decryption facility in the Offline CDM in the market which adhere to the PCI standard.
Fintech: What kind of growth you are anticipating in the next five years?
R Zaman: We are anticipating exponential growth in the next five years not only in our core hardware product but also fully developing into application development firm catering to both national and international client. We want to cover all the banks of Bangladesh that will use at least one product, solution or taking some kind of service from ZZTL.
Fintech: As a woman entrepreneur and business leader what is your advice to women thinking about starting a career in the ICT sector?
R Zaman: Time is very ripe for women to start career in the ICT sector of Bangladesh, as we are entering the era of 4G communication. The Digital Bangladesh vision of government has brought drastic changes on the use of technology in different spheres of the society. It has also changed the perception of the people for the technology. So, it will be easier for them to start the career and go onto have a successful professional life with the growing ICT sector of this country. In India over 35% women work in ICT-BPO sector. I hope we will be able to increase the ration of women working in the tech and fintech industry and will have more women leaders.
Fintech: If you could change one thing that will help women in social and professional lives, what will it be?
R Zaman: We should encourage them to be bold with their passion which definitely will help them bring positive result in both social and professional life. One such glaring example standing tall in front of us is our Prime Minister.
Fintech: What is your impression of our magazine?
R Zaman: I would like to congratulate Fintech for such a wonderful magazine dedicated for the fintech industry. It is a necessary and timely initiative for a growing country like us. I wish you to be successful in your endeavor for many years to come.
Fintech: Thank you so much for this valuable interview
R Zaman: You are welcome. ■
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