‘Best time to embrace digital transformation and integration of new-age technologies’

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Neelesh Kripalani, Sr. VP and Head – Center of Excellence (CoE), Clover Infotech
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Clover Infotech has been at the forefront in the BFSI industry. In an interaction with CRN India, Neelesh Kripalani, Senior VP and Head – Centre of Excellence (CoE), Clover Infotech, shares the importance to ensure seamless banking service, especially during the time of lockdown and social distancing

How has the business mandate for Clover Infotech changed since the COVID-19 outbreak and nation-wide lockdown?
The world is going through a significant and challenging phase. This will certainly change the way governments and economies function across the globe. We are already witnessing a change in the mindset. Enterprises are realising the importance of building digital workplaces and utilising digital technologies such as cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). They want to proactively move their business-critical workloads to cloud and automate processes to derive maximum productivity and efficiency.

 

As an IT services company, we are dealing with customers across all sectors and are working closely with them in these uncertain times. Our first priority is to ensure that our customers’ core operations function smoothly. Hence, we have ensured that majority of our employees are provided with laptops and the required connectivity is enabled for them to work seamlessly from home.

What are the top three priorities for BFSI customers? How Clover is delivering its customer services?
The top three priorities for the BFSI sector include, ensuring that core operations are running smoothly. BFSI services such as banking are classified as essential services and it is important to ensure that no one faces a challenge with any banking service, especially during the time of lockdown and social distancing. With the perimeter of organisational operations now extending well beyond the office space as employees are operating from their homes with laptops and connectivity, security has taken the central role. BFSI customers want to bolster cybersecurity measures and safeguard their systems from any external malice.

Finally, they also want to augment their digital channels. Hence, these customers are taking a keen interest in ensuring that their digital interfaces such as web and mobile apps, as well as digital assistants such as chatbots are maintained and supported well. This will enable customers to have a seamless digital experience with their banking and financial services in these tough times.

Clover Infotech is at the forefront of the above. Through our managed services model, we are enabling business-critical critical applications, core systems and IT infrastructure for BFSI customers to operate smoothly. We are also keenly monitoring and maintaining digital systems, through which, transactions happen. Our cybersecurity teams are also deployed to keep a constant vigil on the security of these systems and take proactive threat intelligence measures.

 Please highlight major changes in your delivery model for keeping your customers online and agile

The model has not changed much; we still deliver the way we always did. However, the model has evolved to overcome the challenges posed by lockdown and social distancing. In addition to work-from-home, and connectivity to the required systems in a secured manner, we are creating the necessary checks to ensure that the customer’s applications and technology infrastructure are safeguarded. We are also proactively talking to our customers every day to gauge how we can collaborate in these difficult times and help them to operate seamlessly and serve their end-customers better.

From an IT standpoint, what are some of your key initiatives in ensuring business continuity?

We have equipped our employees with the necessary hardware, software and network requirements to work from home. Due to this, the business is continuing unhindered. Our teams are using collaboration tools such as Zoom, Skype, etc, to connect and work together. To get on telephonic or video conferences, we are using tools such as Simple2call and Cisco WebEx.

Since we are the managed services providers (MSPs) for some of the biggest banks, insurance companies and financial services firms, we understand the importance of ensuring robust security across our systems and networks. We have the latest updates on our firewalls and internal security systems. We have carefully designed and clearly defined policies with respect to access to external sites, sending out information through emails etc. Our team ensures periodic checks and gets notified in case of any anomalous behaviour across our user base. The teams are not allowed to download third party software without the knowledge of our IT teams and the required approvals.

Most importantly, we have ensured that we have the requisite security tools to protect and safeguard the data on all our assets. We have also enabled strict governance to ensure that all critical data remains within our organisational boundaries and doesn’t get sent out, unless it is absolutely required and is approved by the relevant authority or head of department.

What are some of the key lessons learned during this crisis?
Like all difficult times, this time has also come with its set of learnings. And the most important one is to understand and integrate new-age technologies with existing ones to reap maximum benefits. It is perhaps the best time to embrace digital transformation and integration of new-age technologies across the business.

According to recent reports, Microsoft cloud and collaboration services witnessed a huge spike in usage over the past week as organisations continue to deal with an increase in remote workers due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This spike has forced the cloud giant to tweak some of its services in order to deal with the increased load. This shows that enterprises, which have successfully integrated digital technologies in their businesses, are managing their operations more efficiently despite the challenges.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced organisations to rethink their approach to digital transformation. Digital transformation requires instilling a digital culture that supports the change while empowering the company’s overarching strategy. A lot of companies will now embark on this path of digital transformation sooner than later.

Being a solution provider for BFSI customers, what has been the role of Oracle and other OEMs in supporting your business continuity?
OEMs such as Oracle have been focused on cloud for a few years now. This has resulted in ubiquitous access to their systems. For instance, companies with Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle Financials Cloud have been able to manage their salaries, vendor payments, collections, receivables etc much better than companies which have not taken this plunge to the cloud yet.

We are well-supported by OEMs such as Oracle to enable us to execute our business continuity plan for our customers. The other vendors have also been supportive. We are seeing a lot of maturity among service providers, vendors and OEMs. They are mutually supporting each other and ensuring that the technology ecosystem does not crumble due to the restrictions under which we are currently operating.


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