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Nuvama adopts several technologies; looks for more

Reengineering workflows, using RPA, e-Sign, Penny Drop, DIY, OCR, various industry APIs have helped Nuvama Group eliminate human errors, ensure strong validation, speed, scale and STP:

Nuvama adopts several technologies; looks for more

Nuvama Group encompasses 3 businesses: Wealth management, asset management, and capital markets, and is one of India’s leading firms in its category. Nuvama holds client assets of over Rs2.25 trillion, servicing over 1 million affluent individuals & HNIs as of Dec 2023. Riyaz Ladiwala is President and Head, Technology and Operations at Nuvama Group. Riyaz has an MBA from MET Institute of Management Studies. He provides insightful views on digital initiatives of the company.

Mehul Dani: How has your company benefited from implementing digital strategy in 2022-23? What are the changes for customers?

Riyaz Ladiwala: 2022 was a year of impactful moments in our technology journey. Following PAG’s acquisition of a majority stake in Nuvama Group (previously known as Edelweiss Wealth Management), we took an initiative called ‘Project Plutus’ to establish a dedicated IT organization for Nuvama, to enable us to operate independently without any dependencies on group companies for technology infrastructure & network, enterprise applications, cyber security, and workplace services. Throughout this journey, we embarked on a range of initiatives that were critical to our success.

  • We set up a dedicated team, finalized partners, and operating model.
  • We setup our new data centre and DR site and adopted a multi-cloud strategy (AWS, Azure and Oracle Cloud) to leverage the latest technologies and innovations and deliver world-class IT solutions.
  • We migrated over 900 servers, 330 applications, and 3800 users seamlessly without any disruption to our operations.
  • We took over IT operations from the group company’s technology team and brought in a managed services partner to facilitate the transition.
  • We designed a comprehensive network architecture and undertook a thorough review of our cybersecurity policy and tools, ensuring that our systems and data always remained secure. We established a comprehensive cybersecurity program and completed ISO 27001:2013 certification. We have received 7+ awards in various industry forums in the infosec space during 2022-23.
  • We spearheaded an initiative called ‘Lakshya’ to automate various operational functions. We reengineered workflows and used various industry available digital options like RPA, e-Sign, Penny Drop, DIY, OCR, various industry APIs, etc. This helped eliminate human errors, save time, and bring scale. Using RPA, we developed multiple bots for 150 activities which can cater to 4X increase in transaction volumes with zero addition in ops head count.

What are the major milestones achieved by your company during this journey.

2022 was a year of key milestones in our technology journey. I will draw your attention to some of the new key customer engagement strategies that we executed.

  • We built a digital self-service onboarding platform for investment management, making it the first of its kind in India. This revolutionary product enables RM onboarding in just 30 seconds and client onboarding in a mere 10 minutes, providing an unprecedented level of efficiency.
  • We introduced WhatsApp bot for instant answering to RMs, CXOs and clients.
  • We launched a modern mobile app (Nuvama Private) exclusively for clients of Nuvama Private which offers offer a true family office experience.
  • We implemented a cloud-based telephony system for 900 users, with the aim of recording all incoming and outgoing calls related to trade confirmations. This implementation serves as a safeguard against any potential compliance issues, as well as providing a reliable means of maintaining thorough records of all trade-related calls.

We are proud to say that our IT initiatives have driven significant business outcomes in the new normal digital economy. Overall, our IT initiatives have been instrumental in driving tangible business outcomes, including increased revenue, cost savings, enhanced operational efficiency, and improved customer engagement. We will continue to innovate and leverage technology to position our organization for success in the new normal.

Please describe underlying technologies of your company.

Using analytics engine, we identified new investment opportunities and provided increased personalization to our clients. Multiple data models prepared through AI-generated insights have helped create a product propensity model for our research and advisory teams.

We have enabled transparency and accountability through proactive communications with our clients. AI-enabled systems have empowered us to expand our reach from conventional email and SMS modes to more advanced modes like WhatsApp and CTA driven notifications to cater to clients at every touchpoint.

We have incorporated various cutting-edge technologies, including RPA, AI and ML, to enable us to deliver personalized and efficient services to our clients.

What are the usage patterns of your apps and digital platforms?

Regarding our usage patterns, we rely heavily on various apps and digital platforms to interact with our clients. These platforms allow us to provide real-time market data, trading tools, and research insights to our clients, while also making it easier for us to manage our operations.

We have also implemented various digital payment solutions to enable our clients to make transactions seamlessly and securely. We utilize multiple payment gateways and employ advanced encryption technologies to protect our clients’ financial information.

In terms of our clients’ usage patterns, we have observed a significant increase in the number of clients who do mobile-only onboarding, trading, and banking. This trend is driven by the convenience and accessibility that mobile devices offer, and we expect it to continue to grow in the coming years.

Overall, we are committed to leveraging technology to enhance our services, provide better experiences to our clients, and stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving financial landscape.

How have digital-online initiatives contributed to increasing business? How have you aligned IT infrastructure and processes with your business strategy?

Our IT initiatives have driven significant business outcomes in the new normal digital economy. The key achievements of our initiatives are outlined below:

Designed for Scale: We have designed our infrastructure to accommodate 3-5 times growth, along with significant cost savings of 20%.

Business Resilience: We have implemented a geographically distant DR site to ensure business continuity and mitigate risks. We have also taken steps to reduce people risk by selecting large partners for IT managed services, who can provide the necessary expertise and support to ensure seamless operations.

Organization Simplification: We have designed our operating model to simplify IT infrastructure and cybersecurity processes. Our approach enables us to operate efficiently and effectively, while ensuring that our systems remain secure and resilient.

Process Efficiency: We have implemented robust and independent processes through digital interventions, resulting in a significant improvement in the average level of automation achieved from earlier 64% to 90%.

High Availability: We have achieved 99.9%+ service-level agreements (SLAs) for IT infrastructure by implementing redundant devices and network links.

Who are the main technology vendors and their services?

Nuvama has one of the best-in-class infrastructure in place. Our main technology vendor is NTT, which provides the data centre as well as disaster recovery service. The DC has one of the highest rated TIA certifications (Rated Tier 3/4) with availability of 99.96%, making it one among the most reliable data centres. As per regulatory compliance, the DC & DR are in different seismic zones. Our all-fibre network is ready to cater 5X traffic growth making it withstand any unforeseen load and keeping the services up and running.

Nuvama has a single umbrella platform for all the managed services related to IT infrastructure which enables a smooth functioning and management of the IT infrastructure. We have 900+ servers, private cloud, 3 public clouds (AWS, Azure, Oracle), 330+ apps, 100+ network links, 3800 + users.

What is the capex and opex for digital initiatives by your company for the last FY and their annual growth?

We have now reached a stage where most of our processes have been automated. We have invested nearly Rs400 million every year for the past 3 years. Hence, the annual growth is stagnant. There were 40 digital initiatives – 20 on capex and 20 on opex.

How have you gained by deploying analytics to increase business? What are you doing to enhance CX?

We at Nuvama have already taken a step forward on enhancing customer experience with the help of the ‘new gold,’ often cited as data. We have created various dashboards which provides insights to senior leadership on various aspects like concentration of industries, stocks to monitor risk, prediction of cashflow, etc. We are looking forward to AI/ML driven analytics to further enhance the analytical abilities to determine the trends and to enable us to foresee the future and plan accordingly.

How are you improving customer experience?

To improve customer experience, we always engage in:

  • Continuous improvement in processes to create efficiencies.
  • Creation of a strong infrastructure backbone that is future ready and scalable.
  • Automation of activities using APIs and bots to build scale, manage risk and reduce people dependencies.
  • Constant focus on user needs and aspirations to improve client experience through our platforms.

What are your targets and plans for IT, digital initiatives, for the current FY to increase business, to expand customer base and to increase productivity?

Emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and RPA open entirely new business opportunities and give rise to completely new customer expectations. Companies with the resources and mindset to take the leap gain a competitive advantage, widening the gap between digital laggards and leaders.

We believe that the key digital trends that will reshape Nuvama in 2023 and beyond include:

  • The continued adoption of cloud computing and the shift towards multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies. This will cater to the independence from any single cloud service provider.
  • The increased use of AI & ML to automate tasks and improve decision-making. This will significantly reduce the processing time and improve quality of service. Moreover, this will help in better decision using the predictions.
  • The implementation of privacy by design due to the growing importance of data privacy. Also analytics that incorporate enhanced privacy protections. This will cater to the global privacy requirements.
  • Edge computing and IoT to process and analyse data closer to the source. This will help in reducing roundtrip time significantly, and sensitive information can be processed at the edge.
  • Blockchain technology for secure and transparent data management and business processes.
  • Low-code and no-code platforms to empower non-technical employees and speed up development process.

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