Project Management Institute

Tower of Babel

During the early months of the recent global economic downturn, most financial institutions scaled back or eliminated their investments in projects. But South Africa's Standard Bank took a bold step forward by investing in a project that has provided the groundwork to capitalize on an emerging trend: The country's dramatic rise of tourists from China. This article examines how Standard Bank extended its network of ATM's and point-of-sale devices to accommodate Chinese tourists and provide them with the functionality to use their China UnionPay bank card when paying for goods or accessing money from ATMs. In doing so, it describes the project's key challenges, discussing how project managers overcame language barriers between the South African and Chinese project team members and Standard Bank's and China UnionPay's IT systems--two systems which were initially incompatible. It overviews the outcome of this successfully realized project, which was rolled out before the influx of thousands of Chinese tourists in
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