Traditionally, insurance sector has been a laggard in the adoption of emerging technologies. However, the ever-rising expectations of today’s tech-savvy customers are compelling the companies to actively embrace new technologies. In this context, Dataquest spoke to Ram Kalyan Medury, CIO, Magma Fincorp, to know more about how emerging technologies like mobility, analytics, and wearables are shaping the sector and their possible security implications. Excerpts
There’s been a lot of talk about the growing BYOD adoption in enterprises. But critics say there is too much hype and rhetoric. As a CIO what is your take and at what stage are we in BYOD?
BYOD has indeed been a buzzword and has come to denote a set of technologies that enable the work environment to be accessible on mobile devices. The explosion of mobile devices in the consumer space has hit the shores of enterprises. Employees, today, expect corporate functionality to be available on the devices that they carry. However, most corporates today allow mobile devices to be used largely to access emails/calendar and some reports, while core apps central to the enterprise are not yet fully available.
Hence, critics definitely have a point in attributing a hype angle to it. However, the rhetoric has also helped carve out space for mobile device management technologies that will not only enable BYOD, but also help enterprises secure all its mobile applications.
Do you think technology is shaping the way of doing business in the BFSI segment?
Absolutely. Technology is vital in automating business processes. The rising trend of mobility allows the enterprises to be virtually present where the customer lives and transacts. Similarly, data analytics provides key insights to allow organizations to take strategic decisions.
Being in the BFSI segment, do you have restriction in implementing any new technology?
I do not see any restrictions, as long as the new technologies deliver business benefits without compromising information security principles.
What are the emerging tech trends in the BFSI segment that will rule in 2015?
We will continue to see an upswing in mobility and maturing of analytics. Data maturity will further improve and get democratized, led by the widespread adoption of self- service business intelligence tools.
What is your take when it comes to the future of mobility in your sector? Please elaborate on the approach you have adopted to secure mobility in your organization.
We are extensively using mobility in our business operations like collections, sales force enablement, etc. Our entire field work is completely mobile and our associates are actually encouraged to spend more time in the field with the customer.
In the last 4 years, I have evaluated various approaches for the finance and insurance sector ranging from OEM-based security models to more robust cross-OEM models. At Magma Fincorp, we have implemented a leading mobile device management software to secure thousands of mobile devices.
While ensuring secured work environment, what steps have you taken to deal with employees demand for BYOD?
So far I have not seen a huge clamour for employees using personal devices for corporate beyond emails, calendar, and simple collaboration. However, the MDM infrastructure that we have put in very well supports BYOD and we plan to extend this as and when the need arises. The pull factor for this will be compelling collaboration solutions provided by the enterprise to its employees.
Today, experts believe that BYOD is giving birth to BYOA (Bring Your Own Applications). Do you think this trend will add another worry in the CIO bucket?
This is too nascent to be called a trend and the very usage of the term appears to indicate huge potential security issues. Each application has its own security vulnerabilities before you even prefix ‘BYO-’ to it! CIOs and CISOs as it is, have their hands full, finding and plugging vulnerabilities in their existing application portfolios.
How are you using analytics in your workplace?
We use it to monitor the risk profile of various portfolios in the business and also identify potential customer segments for cross-sell and up-sell.
Big data is a current hot topic in IT departments all across the world, but beyond the hype, what does it mean for the financial services industry?
I would say that the volume and velocity aspects of data are not changing dramatically, however, the variety of data sources as well as a number of use cases of using data is increasing. To that extent, I would prefer to call it smarter use of data.
What are your views on the emerging trends of wearable technologies in the workplace?
I see a limited use of wearables in the financial services workplace as of today but the future could portend a variety of uses.
The insurance industry could use technologies like Google Glass to enable better surveys. Also, fitness-related wearables have a significant usage in the healthcare and health insurance industry.Wearable technologies are definitely an exciting new trend to ‘watch’ out for. Of course, watches are at the leading edge, but we may see various other form factors and body-embedded devices as part of the IoT wave. Watches and other wearables will be useful for notifications and simple collaboration needs. They can be tapped by using native messaging and other native wearable apps. Further, enterprise applications can also be ena-
bled for sharing notifications and alerts on these devices.
In my opinion, this trend will pick up momentum in the year 2016.