Cloud platforms provide benefits of scaling infrastructure on demand and pay per use: Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank AG is a multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, and dual-listed in New York Stock Exchange and Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The bank’s network spans 58 countries with a large presence in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Dilipkumar Khandelwal, MD & Global Head of Technology Centres, Deutsche Bank, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

Deutsche BankDQI Bureau | DATAQUEST

DQ: How is India emerging as the tech hub for evolving banking of the future?

Dilipkumar Khandelwal: India is an obvious choice for all major banking and financial firms. The important reason is because India is a High-Value location. Equivalent skills in technology, operations and finance are available here. The technology skills of the future, like cloud technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with enterprise technology platforms knowledge is there as well. This makes the value India brings to the table exponentially higher.

The global banking industry has started setting up their base here from early 2000s and now we have nearly 20-year worth of experience in the space. India now have banking technologists who understand the business and also how to build the platforms supporting the business. Over time, the market in this space has matured even further. Now, various global functions are being run out of India.

The important thing to note here is that along with banking technology presence, there are also businesses, operations and finance teams located here. This makes India a unique value proposition as you can get the whole bank in the setup here. With distances reducing and mind-sets changing, India will continue to rise in this space.

DQ: How are you automating critical banking tasks?

Dilipkumar Khandelwal: Technology is all encompassing. While there are technology strategies, which we are running around modernising our application landscape and data availability, we are also very focused on operational processing and how can we move away from manual nature of work.

A good example is the use of modern technologies like robotics process automation (RPA), along with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The key is to becoming simpler and more efficient.

A concrete example is the solution of the New York technology start-up WorkFusion, which is used in the Corporate Bank. Artificial intelligence combined with high-speed scanners helps the Trust & Agency Services division to analyse and process large volumes of unstructured documents on a daily basis.

Workfusion’s AI-driven automation capabilities are also being used to create efficiencies in the time-consuming process of adverse media screening, as part of the bank’s know-your-customer screening processes. The software scans news sentiment and context for negative news, rather than looking for rudimentary word associations. Moving into this space provides us quick turnaround times and efficiency gains are quite fast.

DQ: Which collaborative tools have been introduced to help employees work remotely in the current scenario?

Dilipkumar Khandelwal: Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented and it has made all firms think differently. At Deutsche Bank, the crisis accelerated work we already started as a part of our technology strategy.

* Usage of collaboration tools significantly increased. Skype Conference minutes have exceeded 2 million per day, up from pre-crisis levels of 150,000 minutes. This has helped colleagues to stay in touch.
* For BCP, we fast-tracked the upgrade of server infrastructure so that we can handle the load of all our colleagues working from home.
* We have also done a lot of investment in platforms like Symphony. We have integrated Symphony with WhatsApp enabling our people to securely meet our clients through channels of their choice.

DQ: With the emergence of new operating models such as alternate work arrangements etc., how are you ensuring data security, cybersecurity, and safeguarding customer information?

Dilipkumar Khandelwal: To protect its information and systems, Deutsche Bank takes a multi-layered, defense-in-depth approach to building information security controls into every layer of technology, including data, devices, and applications.

This delivers end-to-end protection, while also providing multiple opportunities to detect, prevent, respond, and recover from cyber threats. This approach is a key facet of the group-wide information security strategy to increase the security and stability of the technology platforms.

A range of solutions are in place to handle evolving threats, including the global Cyber Intelligence and Response Centres in Singapore, Germany, and the US.

The centres provide global 24*7 coverage across different time zones and follow-the-sun model that has improved the bank’s ability to detect threats and respond to incidents worldwide. Through 24*7 monitoring, the CIRCs handle upwards of 2,500 items of new intelligence every month, including alerts about potential cyberattacks.

Another key pillar for this is awareness. We have a big focus on internal ongoing trainings and a global multichannel awareness campaign, which covers a broad range of information and corporate security topics. The goal of the campaign is to help employees understand common, yet, significant security threats, and their individual responsibility and contribution in helping to protect the bank against these threats.

DQ: What is your view and strategy on the adoption of cloud?

Dilipkumar Khandelwal: Cloud adoption is important as it allows banking application developers to focus on solving business problems and let the infrastructure experts handle infrastructure. Over time, we will see more and more banks moving on to cloud platforms.

Cloud platforms provide the obvious benefits of scaling infrastructure on demand and pay per use. The platforms that can be moved on to cloud should be identified. Such platforms might have to be re-engineered to make the optimum use of cloud services.

Recently, we announced that we have signed a Letter of Intent with Google Cloud to form a strategic global, multi-year partnership to accelerate our cloud transition and create the next generation of technology-based financial products which will generate considerable value for our clients.

With this partnership, Deutsche Bank will also gain direct access to world-class data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning to better serve customers.

Potential use cases include helping treasury clients with day-to-day tasks such as cash flow forecasting, improved risk analytics, and advanced security solutions to protect clients’ accounts. For the private banking business, digital and intuitive solutions will be the focus, to simplify the interactions between customers and employees.

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