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Cooperative banks & technological adoption – Keeping pace with the competition

In an exclusive interaction, Mannu Singh, Vice-President, Tata Teleservices shares the details about the next gen connecting solutions for cooperative banks in India: 

Ravi Lalwani: What offerings from Tata Tele Business Services have become popular among cooperative banks?
Mannu Singh: Most of the cooperative banks have a core banking setup hosted on their data centre centrally and all branches are required to connect to the setup. The core banking services include mortgages, deposits, loan, and credit processing capabilities, with interfaces to general ledger systems, and reporting tools. Cooperative banks make these services available to their customers across multiple channels like ATMs, internet banking, mobile banking, and branches that are geographically spread across cities and states.

Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) is a smart connectivity solution that helps bank branches to connect seamlessly. 

  • Secure MPLS network for banks to prioritize and set up highly efficient routes for customer traffic, get assured of a high QoS, and benefit from any-to-any connectivity. 
  • Multiple PRI lines facilitate the concurrent transmission of voice as well as data traffic over the dedicated line with the flexibility of using multiple channels at the same time.
  • High-speed internet leased line with secured connectivity for business efficiency.

How have these helped banks to strengthen their business?
TTBS provides advanced bespoke solutions which provide secured connectivity, flexibility and are backed by 24×7 managed support services. These solutions help build operational efficiency, greater customer satisfaction and increased customer base.

Operational efficiency: Bank staff can easily and at a quickly access accurate, timely, and actionable information about customer relations. A single view between banks and customers at any time helps speed up operations. The bank gets further advantages by easily introducing new financial products and manage changes in existing products. The seamless merging of back-office data and self-service operations brings in a great deal of operational efficiency.

Greater customer satisfaction: The entire range of banking products including savings, deposit accounts, etc, are available from any location seamlessly through reliable and secure connectivity solutions from TTBS. Easy accessibility and customer operations through multiple channels, including mobile banking and the web, become possible.

Increased customer base: The availability of real-time transactions and the entire portfolio of financial products available through the internet and mobile banking enable reaching out faster to customer and helps in increasing the customer base. The flexibility to scale up solutions helps in easy expansion of services.

How does Tata Tele Business Services help banks identify the best technologies and services to achieve their business goals?
Tata Tele Business Services works as a progressive digital catalyst to enable the banks to adopt the best connectivity and collaboration solutions that significantly boost their customer experience and help them to do big. The most important challenge in the transition towards ‘digitization’ is the cooperative bank’s preparedness and readiness in terms of technology and innovation. Some of them lack reliable connections that can ensure secure transactions and protection of all customer data. Given the transaction data’s sensitive nature, there is a need for a seamless and secure communication channel that provides the right collaborative tools to make transactions more efficient. They must also make sure that they are equipped with an easy to configure hosted infrastructure that facilitates a distributed working environment.

TTBS has an array of solutions to help co-operative banks leverage digitalization:
Smart VPN: An MPLS-based virtual private network that enables you to share data securely and confidentially over any internet service, from any location.
Smart Internet Leased Line: A dedicated source of secured internet service with uncontended bandwidth and symmetric upload & download for remote users.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP): A signaling protocol to facilitate interactive communication sessions, including voice, video, and chat over the internet.
Hosted PBX: A feature-rich SIP-based telephony solution for outbound calls from any location.
Cyber Security Solutions: With ever-increasing cyber threats and data breaches, the importance of cyber security cannot be overlooked. TTBS offers endpoint security, email security, web security, multi-factor authentication, and virtual firewall.

We have recently introduced the industry’s first ‘Customer Experience Platform (CEP)’. CEP provides first-hand experience of our solutions and services to our potential customers, and shows how they can utilize these for improving their business processes, and then make an informed buying decision. Additionally, our solution experts are available for interactive consultative sessions with our customers to guide them to smoothly integrate these solutions within their existing technological framework with minimum disruptions.

What would Tata Tele Business Services advise banks for improving overall customer experience?
TTBS helps with evolved connectivity and security solutions for BFSI operational efficiency and improved customer experience. As the cooperative banking sector sets upon its post-covid digital transformation journey, the key imperatives that it must consider include:

  • Have robust smart internet connectivity which is highly secured.
  • Focus on enhancing digital banking experiences as customers are becoming more comfortable with digital modes of banking and transactions.
  •  Emphasize more on the adoption of cloud solutions which are capex and opex light and provide anywhere, anytime working flexibility to the banking workforce.
  • Stress more on cybersecurity and data privacy to provide secured and uninterrupted services.

To add further, a better managed toll-free number can help the bank bring a paradigm shift in its customer experience by enabling customers to conveniently reach out to the bank without any cost – this is also as per RBI’s recommendation.

How is Tata Tele Business Services helping banks migrate from the capex model to the opex model? How does it help – especially when the service loads fluctuate from minimal to peak?
Being fast and flexible is at the foundation of all digital and network transformation initiatives today. For cooperative banks the cost of building and maintaining their private networks can be high and legacy connectivity solutions (like private WANs using MPLS) can be financially crippling.

This is where TTBS introduced SDWAN-iFLX which brings intelligence and flexibility. Powered by Fortinet, the SD-WAN iFLX solution offers operational simplicity, application-level prioritization, and visibility, integrated security, enhanced overall business application environment as well as much-needed resilience at an affordable price point.

Finally, how can the technology ROI be justified?
As the businesses of customers expand and grow, their banking needs too are rapidly evolving. Post covid, the quantum of financial transactions over digital modes has increased tremendously. With the penetration of the internet and smartphones, customers are using more digital payment gateways than using cash for transactions. Cooperative Banks need to add more and more products in their kitty and at the same time, increase channels of accessibility to their customers.

With this, the need for robust networking practices has skyrocketed. Connectivity across branch locations that is seamless, break-free, with minimum or no downtime, congestion-free, and with faster speed is quite the necessity today for operational resilience. At the same time, secure connectivity is what most banks today look at. Cyber security is like insurance to prevent great financial, legal, and reputation loss which may directly impact the loss of customer base and business, especially in the competitive scenario today.

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