Q&A: Processing billions of the National Lottery’s transactions
Fintech companies have gained prominence in recent years, driven by unbanked populations and cash-based economies looking for viable alternatives to participate in the digital economy.
While much of the focus is on mobile payments and digital wallets, fintech companies are also drivers in other sectors.
Joy Diphokwana, CEO of Paytronix Systems — a black-owned and women-led lottery, gaming and payments provider with a primary focus helping Ithuba to run the National Lottery — talks to Business Day about the growth of the lottery sector and her company.
Can you give us an idea of the size and scope of Paytronix’s operations?
Under my leadership, the Paytronix Systems team has provided platform support to enable Ithuba to run the National Lottery.
The ICT solutions provider manages a complex central lottery platform with retail network connectivity to more than 9,000 retailer terminals, 80,000 hand-held terminals, and more than 180,000 virtual POS [point-of-sale] devices.
The company also designed and implemented two high-tier data centres 350km apart — in Sandton and Mbombela.
Paytronix Systems managed these data operations of more than 1.636-billion transactions on Ithuba’s behalf, with a transaction value of more than R19.5bn. This complex network and the data centres are invaluable to the smooth running of Ithuba and will be strategic for any operator willing to bid for the subsequent lottery licence.
What differentiates Paytronix from its competitors?
We certainly did not get here overnight. Our ability to form strategic partnerships with well-recognised lottery industry leaders has created an enticing value proposition. Due to our partnerships and the digitisation of our lottery draw processes, the SA lottery was one of a handful of lottery operators worldwide able to continue during the worst of the lockdown, performing all draws securely online.
Additionally, we have cemented our offering by obtaining our ISO-27001 certification, affirming our organisation’s high-security standards. We have engaged and grown the player base by increasing player satisfaction and trust.
Using rapid changes to existing games and increasing the game portfolio has led to the continued growth and success of Ithuba. This leads to our most significant differentiator: we see each client as a partner in the true sense. Our ability to become an extension of the existing organisation, as their ICT stream, is what truly sets us apart. We are invested in our clients’ success.
As a leader, what is your vision for Paytronix? Where do you see the company in the coming years?
I am preoccupied with the next phase of growth for Paytronix Systems. I believe opportunities are aplenty for the company with its growing workforce. The experience has given us many opportunities and aligned our capabilities.
The primary focus of the business has been to provide platform support to enable Ithuba to run the National Lottery. We have, however, identified various opportunities to diversify our offering within the ICT sector. These include online banking, monitoring services to gambling/gaming operators, becoming a systems enabler and an e-commerce platform provider, to name but a few.
How are you planning for Paytronix Systems to capitalise on those opportunities over the next two to three years?
The ICT solutions provider space is growing fast and looking to hire more talent and requires a person to cultivate it in a complex industry while diversifying revenues.
We plan on building ourselves to be more of an ICT lottery advisory board capable of partnering with anybody in the world to provide our expertise.
Lottery, gaming and payments have traditionally been male-dominated industries. How has this changed over time, if at all? What more can be done?
Not much has changed, women in executive leadership positions are a rarity in the gaming and payments industry. Our strategic objective is to place emphasis on the importance and quest for gender equity in these industries. I have always had a passion for technology, my proven track record and vast experience in the lottery, gaming, and payment industry has assisted the team to drive the business intent.
If I look to hire I am admittedly very biased. I am alive to the fact that we need to comply with the equity regulations, I do tend to press upon finding women as the best talent. What makes things easy for me is that our group’s leadership is female dominated.
I do agree that there is still more that needs to be done to empower women entrepreneurs within the IT sector. At Paytronix Systems, we are fortunate to be owned by a women-run group, Zamani Holdings.
How would you characterise your leadership style?
I have established myself as a bold and nurturing leader passionate about people who are the driving force behind our performance. I have an inclusive leadership style — staying in touch with people’s aspirations while maintaining excellence are values that centre my foundation.
Collaboration among our team is key. I do believe ideas as a collective is a formula that brings successful results for Paytronix.
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