The thrust to adapt to more digital forms of communicating and transacting, precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, may have created more avenues and opportunities for Jamaica to tap into its Diaspora, says JN Group executive Saniah Spencer.
Spencer, who is JN Group’s marketing executive, says the change in behaviour, led by the need to find ways of maintaining relationships, has positioned organisations to reach an even wider pool of Jamaicans overseas.
“Now that many, if not most, people are now comfortable with online platforms and willing to converge in online spaces, there is an opportunity to reach and involve those who would have been unable to otherwise access some services, or would not have been willing travel to Jamaica, or other states and cities to do business or to participate in activities,” she said.
Pointing to her own organisation, she noted that the JN Group has been able to tap into that behaviour change, for example, by expanding its reach in the US and the UK through its remote customer service platform to serve even more Jamaicans scattered across the two countries.
“More Jamaicans can access our services remotely by simply making an appointment on the JN Bank website,” she said.
The innovation is in addition to the digitalisation of its JN Money platform- the largest indigenous money service brand from Jamaica to the world- which has capitalised on remittances through the JN Money Online platform to afford its customers the convenience of sending money to Jamaica from Canada, the USA and the UK from wherever they are in those countries.
“This evolution in behaviour perhaps comes at quite a symbolic moment as we mark our diamond jubilee,” remarked Spencer, “and signals a new way for us to engage and involve our people overseas.”
She hailed the hybrid structure for this year’s Biennial Diaspora Conference, dubbed the Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference, as a step in the right direction. The three-day conference scheduled for June 14 to 16 will facilitate limited physical attendance and much broader access via a digital platform. Government announced at last Friday’s (May 6) launch of the conference from the new home of the Ministry of Foreign and Foreign in downtown Kingston that it is targeting the participation of some 5,000 Jamaicans overseas.
“This (hybrid format) isn’t just more cost-effective, but provides a more convenient way for our Jamaicans overseas to participate and add their voice to the dialogue so that we can enrich the pool of ideas that will emerge from the various discussions to be had,” she said.
Spencer said the hosting of the conference in a ‘phygital’ format should open a gateway for the government to explore offering other services to the Diaspora exclusively in a digital format.
“There are many more opportunities that can be derived from this, and so we look forward to the added ways that will be developed to strengthen the participation of our brothers and sisters overseas in our development,” Ms Spencer said.
Digitalisation is a prime focus for the JN Group, which over the past few years has further strengthened its digital assets through the introduction of new platforms, such as the ability to open investment accounts completely online through JN Fund Managers. The JN Bank ATM network and online banking platform, JN Bank LIVE, have also been further strengthened by the group. Additionally, the JN Bank core banking platform, Phoenix International, is now owned by the JN Group’s technology firm, MC Systems- a leading regional producer and pioneer of fintech locally and regionally.
JN is one of three legacy sponsors of the Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference. The other two are GraceKennedy and The Victoria Mutual Building Society.