In early January, ICICI Bank’s head honcho K V Kamath joined his colleagues
in cutting a cake to mark the entry of the one millionth Internet banking
customer in the bank. And that forms a neat 25 % of the total customer base of
the mega financial institution. Kamath disclosed another startling fact- ICICI
Bank has been surpassed globally by only two banks: Bank of America and Wells
Fargo, in this achievement. So much for an eight-year-old private Indian bank
that started off with technology as a competitive differentiator in the banking
business to wrest business from public sector banks.
But now, technology at ICICI Bank has served beyond that. Says ICICI Infotech
Services Joint President P K Vohra, "Today, technology helps us to improve
transaction costs, increase our geographical reach, and bring products and
services which would have been otherwise impossible". ICICI Bank has gained
leadership in Internet banking, deployment of ATMs, retail banking products,
corporate banking services, cash management, cross-domain products and customer
service. ICICI Bank’s information technology network is possibly one of the
largest networks by any private sector company in the country.
Powered by nearly 15 enterprise-class Unix servers and more than 300 NT
servers housed at two data–centers in Mumbai, the network expands into 1300
leased line connects and over 600 VSAT links to cover even Port Blair. All this
with full business continuity support through a disaster recovery center and
complete security, both electronic and physical. The bank follows the philosophy
of having matters centralized to reduce cost, ensure uptime and availability,
improve management, and create uniformity in standards. Therefore, not much of
the architecture is client-server based, though some applications require
distributed data capture. The core business apps are core banking solutions,
credit card, debit card, auto loans, and cash management systems.
Datawarehousing and CRM are the other applications that help the bank deliver
good customer service and design cross —business offerings almost dynamically.
Office automation is strictly speaking not looked upon as a technology area
since the entire organization is administratively run electronically. And then,
you have the 4,000-odd PCs that populate the ICICI bank offices and are used for
ICICI Bank has been able to leverage these investments to emerge a leader in
the area of delivering innovation in the banking business. Right from its star
category product/ service for corporates, the bank continues to come up with new
products –be it electronic cheques, bill payment through ATMs, or getting your
prepaid mobile airtime refilled at an ATM outlet.