Modernizing IT helps businesses do more with less
These two institutions are concentrated almost like the public sector of a given country. Then we have the International Finance Corporation, which focuses on a country’s private sector to help it achieve its goals, by mobilizing private sector investment and providing technical advice. Then we have two other institutions that provide a different type of financial support for these. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency provides political risk insurance to private investors in foreign countries. So they show up without worrying about political risks and the misuse of their money. Then we have the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, which focuses on resolving disputes between countries. These five institutions of the World Bank Group are therefore working towards two common goals, as we all know, which are to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity. This therefore fits the context of the World Bank Group itself. So basically what do we do?
We try to help developing countries escape poverty and share in prosperity. So how do we do this? We are not a for-profit business. We do not sell products and services. We cannot compete in private markets in that sense. So how do we work? We mobilize money from various sources. We have many financial resources that come to help us. One is that our member countries subscribe to the capital to obtain the voting rights. We borrow money through bonds in the capital markets at a low interest rate, thanks to a triple AAA credit rating that we have, and we also have the contribution of donors. We are therefore mobilizing financial resources from multiple channels and leveraging them to help our developing countries that need our financial assistance and technical advice and services. So that’s what the World Bank Group does.
Now, how does it work? Two elements are very critical and essential to the success of the World Bank Group. This information, which is the raw form of, as we call this data, knowledge and our workforce. Our workforce is nomadic. It’s a global workforce, always on the move. Reaching countries and going out to places that are usually not the most exciting for a regular person. With all this, technology plays a very big role, not only for us but also for our customers. We help many developing countries use technology to support their own internal processes and innovations. For example, we help countries establish procurement systems through grants and technical advice. Then we give a loan to build a bridge. Because it is very important for us to ensure that the money is spent efficiently and that we are able to trace the results. We are able to control, we are able to oversee the investment, and some developing countries may not be able to do that on their own, so we help them.
And on the other hand, we also help them, our IT colleagues work with our operational staff and provide many solutions that work on low bandwidth and low infrastructure, because we work with countries where the infrastructure cannot be taken for granted. I remember the early 2000s when, in countries like Africa or India, SMS was the only technology that was the best possible and accessible. So we need to help them find solutions that can also work on low-bandwidth infrastructure. While advanced countries like the United States and Europe may have many modern technologies, innovating in a place where the technology and infrastructure is not at its best actually increases the challenges for an organization like the Group of the World Bank to help countries do this. So technology and innovation is an integral part of what we try to do to help the different client countries in terms of agriculture, in terms of irrigation systems, wherever, whatever sector we work on, technology plays a role and we’re trying to figure out how to help use that.
Laurel: So, given the range of clients you have, what does the World Bank Group’s IT modernization journey currently look like?
Vijay: Again, back to the roots of the World Bank Group and how we operate and why we even exist. Yes, we operate in an increasingly complex environment with a global workforce and we constantly operate under many constraints that come from inside and outside the organization. So why am I saying this? The World Bank is constantly under pressure to do more with less, as we call it. We must therefore mobilize more funding, a lot of funding, and continue to help developing countries whose needs are constantly increasing. So, in an ever-changing environment, due to complexity, risk and security threats with a global workforce, and the World Bank under pressure to do more with less, we seek to capitalize on the technology to fulfill our mission and goals. Thus, our business and IT go hand in hand to help achieve the mission of the World Bank Group.
So what are we focusing on as an IT modernization journey? Before talking about what exactly we do, let me talk about what we are aiming for. Our goal is to enable businesses to be more agile, to be able to respond more quickly to the changing needs around us in a constrained environment, to help our people be more productive and collaborate wherever they work. worldwide. And security, risk and data are key. Not to mention the ongoing need for business intelligence and quick decision making. That said, our IT modernization journey focuses on multiple streams. Data using modern technology, modernizing platforms and modernizing how our customers and internal users can consume data is critical. It’s an element of data modernization where we move our systems and data platforms to the cloud to be more accessible, more secure and faster from low-network parts of the world.
Then we also focus on the systems that are our systems of record, like our human resources, our financial resource planning systems, our treasury and risk systems where we have to continually ensure that we hold a credit rating triple AAA, we are transparent, accountable, and able to trace every dollar that comes in and goes out. Thus, another segment of IT modernization focuses on financial systems. Then we have project portfolio management systems or other systems that help our external staff, when they say external staff that always operate on the front line. Modernize operational systems to help them. And modernize the systems linked to our back office. So we focus on IT modernization depending on the business we’re helping, and each will have a different flavor of modernization techniques and technologies that need to come into play. But all of this will have agility in common. , risk management, productivity and faster decision-making.
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