Today Indian banks are witnessing a massive transformation with aggressive investments in digital technologies to catch up with leading global competitors offering wide-ranging and sophisticated services. At the same time, current innovations, such as India Stack, are creating a rapidly growing digital citizenry.
“Digital consumers are increasingly demanding that Indian banks not only keep pace with global leading practices, but leapfrog far beyond them by developing new, uniquely Indian products, services and business models.
By adopting new strategies that incorporate the principles of Digital Reinvention, as well as embracing rapidly advancing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing, Indians banks can challenge global leadership to be among the strongest, most dynamic in the world”, Likhit Wagle,GM, Global Banking & Financial Markets, IBM Asia Pacific underlined in an interview with ETCIO.
How is banking & financial market transforming with digital trends and new technology implementation?
It is fair to say that today’s financial services and institutions are being disrupted by the market and technology changes as well as increasing demand from their customers. They need to keep transforming, building new architecture, providing an extreme level of convenience for their customers, thinking beyond banking services while, at the same time, radically reducing cost to stay competitive.
We see that the innovation front runners are truly bold in how they are using technologies such as Cloud, AI, Blockchain and IoT to reinvent their businesses models and operations.
And, they are appreciating and leveraging their assets they have over disruptors coming from fintech and platform companies – the wealth of information hidden in the data they have.
The front runners realize the need to digitize and use technology to transform in line with customer expectations. More often than not this is a multi-pronged approach where we see a modernizing of the backend while incorporating a cognitive strategy to make use of the vast amounts of proprietary data they possess and create the experiences that today’s customers demand.
What next gen technology and digital strategies are you leveraging to revamp global customers and associated growth?
There are three closely connected areas that I strongly suggest we focus on: Data, AI and Skills.
First, data, the new natural resource. We believe it will be the incumbents rather than the platform giants who will dominate this data centric economy – in a large part because they don’t have access to most of the world’s data – the 80% that is not searchable on the Web.
Data presents both an opportunity and a challenge. IBM believes organizations that collect, store or process data have an obligation to handle it responsibly. That means moving, managing, and storing data efficiently — while also protecting its security and privacy. That belief is embodied in our century-long commitment to trust and responsibility.
Second, AI. The complexity of today’s businesses means that humans needs machines to help automate the task of finding, managing and securing the vast amounts of personal data within their organizations.
We also believe that AI – which IBM see as augmented, not artificial intelligence – must be explainable and people must understand the potential risk or bias – it cannot just be a black box – it must be clear about who trains their AI systems, which data was used to train those systems and, most importantly, how an algorithm came to a specific decision or recommendation.
And to really put this smart to work, we need to go beyond technology itself. We also need the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs, living in thriving communities.
Please share some insights of any recent digital transformation project in banking and financial market.
Let me give you two different examples that nicely describe the appetite of financial institutions for technology innovations – interest in hybrid cloud, systematic digital reinvention and use of AI to drive customer experience.
The need for technology transformation, enabled by cloud, is now key as banks look to reduce cost imperatives and prepare their infrastructure to bring new innovations to consumers.
Westpac, Australia’s oldest bank, is the first in Australia and one of the first major banks globally that implemented a fully integrated hybrid cloud, moving the full spectrum of its banking services to IBM Cloud.
The bank has reduced the time it takes to set-up new applications from 19 days to just 3-5 days, with a more than 30 percent reduction in set-up costs, from start to deployment of an application.
Digital transformation projects to succeed and bring real business benefits need a continuity.
A great example is the Bank of Baroda, leading India’s public sector bank operating in 24 countries, which chose IBM to establish its Center of Excellence to fuel the Bank’s digital reinvention strategy to not only create a technology blueprint and innovation roadmap, but also lead its execution making the bank more agile and using the latest solutions.
One of the first projects is use of IBM Watson APIs for customer BOT assisting during digital interactions.
Being a global leader working with fortune 500 companies and C-suite executives,How has been your journey in IBM?
We are at a defining moment in time – a moment that IBM believes only comes around every 20 to 25 years – when both business and technology architectures change simultaneously.
Driven by data, this evolution is presenting both business and society with enormous opportunity and some big decisions on how to invest, plan and thrive. For many businesses, this is time of transformation, for some of them of re-invention.
IBM itself is an example of an ongoing transformation and we have been restlessly reinventing since 1911.
As IBM, we often play a role in shaping the future. We transformed the census, developed the UPC barcode, invented the disk drive, the relational database, the mainframe and the PC. We even helped put man on the moon.
Whatever transformation the company has gone through, it was always focused on its purpose – to be essential. To have a clear purpose, understood by employees and key stakeholders, should be high on any executive’s agenda.