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Experiential Digital – Done Right

Banking Frontiers organized a sharing and learning session on the topic of topic of CX. The program started off with a fireside chat between Babu Nair, Group Publisher, Banking Frontiers and Subbu Subramanian, Country Director – India, Dynatrace. This was followed by a panel discussion: Edited excerpts:

Fireside Chat:Babu & Subbu in a fireside chat

Babu: How are you trying to be experiential. What bottlenecks have you see in BFSI space?

Subbu: In any IT production house, there is always fire. People are talking about experiential for many years. For banks, what has changed is that the fintechs popped up and upset the cart. Banks and existing large entities had immense technology fortresses. For many banks, the CBS is 20 years old. Crossing over the chasm is a struggle. But the customer does not have the patience and wants an instantaneous response.

Why the difficulty?

It is difficult for many because of the sheer size. The country is growing and is now the 5th largest. Technology hurts organizations when they realize they have to let go, but they can’t. One bank had a mobile app crash on the day it was launched….and the reason was they tried to leapfrog. What is changing is that an account holder, who used to have only a savings account and would use the app only once in a few days. But today, a typical customer has savings account, FD and demat and all that, and on top of that there is UPI. The question arises whether the bank should build first and then do a smooth transition? The earlier one starts, the better the journey.

Social media is emerging as the new regulator.

Newspapers were far more merciful…the matter would be published one day, discussed and forgotten the next day. But in social media, the bad news remains there forever.

What should moving to the cloud be like?

When making the switch to the cloud, whether you move fully or partly, you need to bring more partners and agencies. Any large SI has a transformation consultancy. You can’t build that expertise yourself, and you shouldn’t. 10 years ago no one talked about observability. Now, my entire strategy is based on the ability to observe and leverage them.

What is your experience with bank and fintechs?

There are visionaries and early adopters. There are people who bite the bullet. The banking business is great for us, largely because of financial and social media regulators. With fintechs, we struggle, as they believe they can do it themselves. They have to choose between making great software versus running a business. When Amazon launches its Billion Day festival, where will it land – it will land on the doorsteps of the bank.

Panel Discussion:

A deeply insightful panel discussion

  • Anand Bhatia, CMO, Fino Payments Bank
  • Dharmender Narang, Chief CX Officer, IIFL
  • Sunil Batra, CTO, NSDL
  • Dipak Nair, CTO, Tata AIG General Insurance
  • Rajesh Ram, CIO, Bank of India
  • Babu Nair, Group Publisher, Banking Frontiers (Moderator)
Babu: What are the major bottlenecks today?

Rajesh: When customers are users of my system, they have no sympathy for me. A slight hitch in the system hits all of us. We built our private cloud named Megh Tara, which is very big today. The more I increase compute and storage, the more every vertical wants to experiment. Whether the branch user or end customer, they are expecting smooth experience which fintechs offer.

Sunil: The purpose of NSDL is to bring digitization in the country. The way we serve investors is through depository participants. So, my journey is customer coming to bank’s portal and then to my portal and maybe an e-sign in between. Our partners are in different stage of digital transformation. The number of demat account holders was 40 million before covid. After covid, we have crossed 100 million. Assets are under $4 trillion. So, the real need is to ensure that customers don’t drop out in the journey.

Dharmender: Covid has pushed everyone into digitalization, which is a benefit. Digital is now the baseline. Also, govt of India has made compliances very easy. For example, it is now easy to open account in 5 minutes. Also, customers have started using apps. After adapatibility, the challenge is improving UI & UX. The more you keep it simple, the easier it is to adapt. Second important aspect is how to add value through differentiation and hyper personalization, whereas earlier we have been looking in terms of customer segments.

Babu: Finance ministry has announced customer satisfaction index for financial services. What is the measurability in infra structure and customer satisfaction?

Dipak Nair: Whatever you start, you should know the quantitative and qualitative aspects. We implemented the entire paperless process for claims, where there is direct measure of productivity. We are doing 3X claims with 2X resources. What I learnt from Amazon is to write a 1-page press release before starting the project. Questions to ask: Am I reducing the response time? Am I reducing the number of steps? Customer wants the experience to be hassle free and he wants instant gratification. Every project, the achievement should be quantified.

Babu: I attended a course by Landmark, where I learnt to announce your goal to the world so that you stick to it. What measurement indices are you using?

Anand: Imagine a small village in Bihar – there will be a bus stop in a village, where some small shop opens up selling tea, samosa and next to it is a telecom shop which acts as an ATM, selling insurance, offering banking, etc. The final measure is whether the sale or the transaction happened. One very interesting measure is the drop-out rate. Technology allows us to measure that. The dis-satisfied customer in that village opens an account on Twitter because he has cracked the code that complaining on social media and tagging the PM gets him a faster resolution than complaining over the bank’s channels.

Babu: Combination of CX, compliance and innovation – how are organizations working on this from tech and biz perspective?

Dipak: We have to do full compliance. We have to be cognization of risk. With thousands of links coming, you don’t know where they are taking you to. So, how do we protect our customer? He must not suffer because of our system failures. We are in a race of functionality, are we compromising on controls and security – that is the biggest challenge. One solution is to replace devOps with devSecOps.

Sunil: Gone are the days of doing VAPT once in 6 months. Controls in older processes are available in the new journey, such as 2FA. Apart from the unknowns, we are struggling to meet the knowns. There are just too many alerts.

Dharmender: We have NSE and SEBI and others auditing us. So there are plenty of checks. We also look from customer perspective to ensure that ease does not go. We have used analytics because we have a huge volume of transactions. We have created models based on parameters, which throws up the most risky transactions, which are put up on quartiles. Based on that, we approach customers or have our partners approach them. This creates a lot of confidence. We ensure there is no compromise on service, and we keep easing out. We now offer voicebot, chatbot on Whatsapp, etc.

Babu: What challenges have you faced in moving to the cloud?

Rajesh: IDRBT has formed a committee to come up with a policy and framework for cloud. The mindset of the tech team is that they are all for cloud, but how to map it to management apprehensions and regulators. We are already there on our own private cloud and open to hybrid cloud. What we were looking at is community cloud. It is a matter of time.

Dipak: Initially the objective was to move non-core activities to private cloud. All my digital assets are with one cloud and core is with another cloud. Insurance is ahead in the journey as we are not as legacy as some of the banks. We want to scale up and containerization is helping with that. Divorce can be very difficult and expensive with cloud partner. Also, you should have an itemized bill from cloud provider. It’s like this: when you are running your own car, you don’t see the meter, but when you are hiring a taxi, you are monitoring the meter.

Sunil: We have to assess how mature we are in moving to cloud. Lift and shift may not give the best benefit. We have set up an on-prem cloud at NSDL based on hyperconverged infra. We have a strategy on what to take to cloud and when.

Babu: Main thoughts on data management and single version of truth?

Anand: Increasingly data is coming straight in digital manner, eg from social media. Exceptions can be wealth management where a lot of data is in mind of person. You will never have an optimal solution. Behavioral economics suggests having a satisfactory solution as an optimal solution is too expensive. A lot of customers lose confidence when digital transformations fail, which becomes a bottleneck to adoption.

Dipak: Data is the currency. My job is to give single version of truth. If there are multiple sources of info, then there will be multiple sources of truth. We implemented a data lake to create a single source of truth. All the AI and algorithms now run on the data lake. We had to create an organization wide definition of data, as earlier same data had different meanings in different functions. Need data traceability, for which we set up a data office. One key benefit is that our fraud detection when up by 30%.

Sunil: We have set up a data lake, but getting data on to that platform is a mammoth task. Data cannot be dumped from the transaction system into the data lake. We try to minimize computations on the fly and instead promoting generated reports.

Rajesh: We have a lot of data and we have kept a good repository. We have not yet set up a data lake. We have kept the main data separate from the associate data. Each new application owner with fintech want to do analytics. They want to mine all the data we have. Single version of truth is a big challenge. When we put in a data lake, our strike rate will increase from 70% to 85%.

Subbu: There is Sisyphean task of going to the management for money, because the management keeps saying that if the system is working, why change it?

Dipak: If it is logical and I can explain it internally, I have the money. No one will raise a finger as long as the money is not wasted. It is not cost cutting; it is cutting wastage.

Dharmender: Even the top man is willing to take the risk if the value is seen. They realize that the early you start, the early you benefit. Implementation is our responsibility. If you fail in implementation, the money is wasted.

Vaibhav Joshi, Easy Pay: The banker inside me says that the data can be mined and some sense can be made for doing the cross sell and upsell. The fintech inside me is saying there is so much more to be done with that. We launched PhonePe in 2017, when I was with Yes Bank. The bank could not much with the data but the fintech has created a new revenue line by selling insurance using that data.

Babu: Concerns about data misuse?

Mangesh Mahale, Union Bank of India: Analytics if done for a good purpose is good. A lot of data can be used for malicious purpose also. AA is a very good concept., but some private sector players are mis-using it.

Dipak: A lot of SMSes are unread. Any data that goes out of datacenter means that it has become public. Cookies are all over the place. As organizations, we should be bit more responsible. Today we are not sending any statement without password. SMS has become a menace. Governance needs to be strengthened. Privacy Act should correct it.

Anand: The brand becomes very important in the world of data. Trust trumps over speed and price, which is where the brand comes in.

Vaibhav: When I download an app, we give so many permissions that the app know so much about me. Such apps should not be able to read our financial notifications, as they can build the customer’s financial profile.

Audience: Data privacy is a myth. SBI has stopped sending account balance by SMS. These kinds of things are product owner’s responsibility. It is responsibility of product owner to protect the customers.


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