Reported by: banking|Updated: June 28, 2016
Arpit Kumar Sharma, Head – IT at Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank, Saharanpur, UP talks about the bank’s unique cloud model:
Brian Pereira: What were the key business considerations that influenced your decision to move to Cloud?
Arpit Kumar Sharma: We were not willing to invest heavily on this. Technology is changing frequently. What is ‘new’ today may become obsolete the very next day, next month or next year. So, instead of investing a few crore rupees initially and also committing ourselves to heavy recurring expenditure on AMC, we decided to explore and exploit the cloud-based technology. When we discussed this option with IDRBT, they helped and assured us that it was possible even though no bank in the country had gone live with this model so far. We decided to go ahead with this model, finding it unique and challenging, and because no one had tried it earlier. The most attractive aspect of this solution is neither it needs any additional expenditure for version upgradation nor for hardware scalability.
What aspects of your infrastructure are now on Cloud? Who is hosting your Cloud? Where is your core banking solution (CBS)?
We are hosting our e-mail, Loan Origination System (LOS), HRMS, Learning Management System (LMS) on cloud. Whereas we are hosting CBS in the CtrlS data center, which is the country’s first Tier-4 data center. We are using Private cloud from Airtel, which we find safe and secure.
What were the challenges in transitioning to the cloud and how were these overcome?
Initially, we faced connectivity as well as some security issues, but we were able to overcome those with the help of our network team and the domain experts at the bank.
Who are the parties involved in this cloud migration?
We are working with Airtel and IDRBT on the cloud migration.
What kind of innovation was generated to introduce efficiency and reduce cost?
Since IT is not the core business of the bank we decided to outsource the data center work to the expertise available in the market. It helps us improve efficiency as our staff may be used for more productive work, as well as to reduce cost, as you do not need 24×7 staff/security as well as infrastructure.
Post migration, how have you benefited? How much is your total investment in cloud?
We benefited a lot but not just post migration. When it was first rolled out we compared the cost and found a lot of difference. So if you plan an RTGS/NEFT within your own data center you have to invest approximately Rs1 crore plus Rs30-40 lakh recurring expenses. But on this model we have invested approximately Rs6-7 lakh one-time cost and approximately Rs. 1.5 lakh as recurring cost.
What are the new /enhanced services that you have been able to introduce after migrating to cloud?
It is not related to cloud but the bank was the first co-operative bank in North India to provide the RuPay-based debit card service.
Can you explain the road ahead and future plans?
We are planning to launch RuPay-based Pay-secure/ IMPS / AEPS Off us/UPI/Mobile APP. We have already launched AEPS and have become the seventh cooperative bank in the country to provide this service, and the first bank in UP.
The bank is now aggressively looking to digitize its services to the maximum extent possible so as to offer the fruits of Digital India program to our constituents. I consider myself very fortunate that the bank is being managed by a highly pragmatic leadership including our Chairman Yashvir Gupta and the MD/CEO Suveer Kumar Gupta who are technocrats themselves.
How is IT contributing in higher level of customer satisfaction at your Bank?
‘Service with a smile’ – though a culture to be imbibed among all employees of the bank is not enough to please a bank’s customer these days. Today’s customers expect benefits of latest technological advancements on one hand and personalized care on the other. We at IT are working from both directions. While we strive to offer the best technology to our customers, we are ever ready to listen to them and encourage them to use whichever channel of communication they feel comfortable with. The feedback is shared with the CEO and necessary action follows immediately.
Shivalik Bank customers know that their views and feelings are of paramount importance to the bank. Various channels of communication like mobiles, emails and dedicated phone lines are used extensively by us.
Customer delight is a core value in our bank which means that we do not stop at mere satisfaction of our customers. We really wish to delight them with our services and this happens to be the secret of our bank’s steady growth over the years.