In an interation with CRN India, Kishan Sundar, Senior Vice President, Digital Business Unit, Maveric Systems, sheds light on the challenges and opportunities presented by the Covid-19 crisis and how his company has been responding to the situation and helping banks in their digital journeys
What’s your assessment of the COVID situation in terms of business challenges and opportunities in the banking space?
This unprecedented situation is forcing the customers for more digital adaption, and banking is not an exception. However, it is the sector that has the maximum adaption uptick. Technology and regulatory requirements around the world were encouraging banks re-platform their ecosystem for open banking and finding an alternative to in-person banking. The current pandemic scenario has only accelerated this process.
Most of the big banks generally subscribed to co-working than the remote working of their technology team, citing reasons of data sensitivity or strict info security policies. Now with frequent changes in the policy coming from regulatory authorities, both technology and business need to work remotely but still deliver the change quickly. We are working with quite a few banks wherein earlier they had a monthly cycle of releases and now with frequent small changes, the banks have moved to release on an ad-hoc basis.
An example being, we helped a challenger bank based out of the UK in conceptualising and executing the complete requirements of loan EMI waiver scheme in a week, the customer had the option of choosing and learning about the scheme both in internet banking and mobile banking.
With this, the bank also has been able to alleviate the security fear of digital banking and push both corporate and retail customers on adopting digital channels.
What trends do you see among your customers?
We are seeing an increase in digital transformation implementations within the banking sector across the geographies that we operate in. For example, in the UK, where we work with some of the biggest names in the banking space, the onset of COVID-19 has pushed more people towards digital banking. More and more banks are talking about digitisation, customer experience, and customer retention. We are seeing a trend where traditional banks have realied their infrastructure is not flexible enough and will need to scaleup.
Globally, both, banks and regulators are now becoming more open to moving to the cloud. They are positive about the mobility, scalability, agility and capacity of the cloud while being a bit cautious about the security aspect. Automation, the adaption of new tech stacks to enable contactless banking is also on the upward path across financial institutions.
Back home in India, the pandemic has led to a shift from traditional forms of banking. Currently, 27 of the Indian public sector (PSU) banks are on a path of consolidation to 10 large banks. It is an opportune time for the PSUs to explore better technology integration and customer adoption.
How do you see the intervention of emerging technologies in ensuring enhanced customer experience even in times of crisis?
I believe the use of emerging technologies is at its peak now and will exponentially grow in the days to come. It is interesting to observe that this gradual change is being driven by customers who are forcing organisations to explore newer ways to engage with them.
Enterprises are experimenting with technologies such as chatbots, AI, VR, etc, to connect with clients. This is also due to the reason that now the customers are digitally conscious and are open to trying newer avenues of engagement.
For instance, at Maveric, by implementing templatised/canned customer journeys across onboarding, KYC, underwriting processes, etc, we can bring down the duration of the customer onboarding process to 60 seconds. We can simulate near customer environments through our cloud-based digital lab enabling intelligent and informed decision making.
Please elaborate on how Maveric Systems has ensured seamless operations for its customers in recent times?
As an organisation, we have been working on continuously updating our operational functions to evolve with time. During the lockdown we focused on three core areas to ensure uninterrupted operations:
Hardening the core: We have made significant investments in terms of scaling up the core infrastructure (network and server capacity) with robust security controls. There are automated systems that are enabled to monitor – track – back up the server and network capacity by over 25 per cent at any given point of time.
Bandwidth: We have had active conversations with our ISPs. The bandwidth is scaled up with failover and load balancing capabilities enabling associates to connect to the client network seamlessly.
Security: All the endpoint devices at Maveric were enabled ATP and DLP protocols to ensure seamless and uninterrupted connectivity for seamless project delivery. Apart from them, we have also set up a robust NOC and SOC with abilities to monitor volumes of interface, application traffic, weblogs, and firewalls for anomalies using IPS and IDS solutions.
Virtual communications: Communication which is not face to face has always been challenging and now when most of the team started a remote-first working style, it adds up to the challenges. We quickly implemented best-in-class collaboration tools for the associates and established a virtual communication protocol for the success of remote working while enabling seamless operations
Client meetings and showcases were prioritised and engagements happened more on video conference tools like Blue Jeans or MS Teams than over a phone.
What are the industry best practices that you foresee in a post-COVID-19 world?
Co-working than competing – I foresee that many banking organisations will now join hands to offer a seamless experience to their customers by offering linkage between partner apps and services. For instance, a banking app embedded within an e-commerce app will now be activated with a single login instead of two different login attempts.
Personalisation – I see the banks offering a lot more hyper-personalised solutions to its customers exactly the way the retail sector has been doing. Efficient design and management of the customer lifecycle from onboarding to transaction to offboarding while delivering seamless omnichannel experience is going to be the key focus.
Evolving the operating models – Re-designing the operating models and moving away from the legacy model which was derived based on the in-branch experience, is going to be another big trend that I foresee in the days to come, post Covid-19.
What are the key focus areas of Maveric Systems and the GTM strategy going forward?
We understand that for a financial organisation, successful digital transformation focusses on unlocking the enormous business potential of customer experience. We are focussing on engineering superior customer experiences for banking leaders which can result in successful transformation.
As part of our focus areas for digital business:
- We conceive and apply digital for banks in the context of customers, their journeys, and the various experience points across these journeys
- Experience Engineering brings together the art of reimagining digital transformation by applying the rigorous science of architecting unique customer journeys
- Crafting superior digital experiences mandate proven domain expertise as well as the ability to engineer with open source and hardened technologies
- Our digital transformation experts deliver accelerated experience, powered by solutions and managed services across open banking, digital channels, agile transformation and cloud adoption.