As today’s net-savvy customers demand constant attention anytime, anywhere, it is immensely important for new-age banking organizations to stay on top of the digital trends. In an interaction with Dataquest, Aniruddha Paul, CIO, ING Vysya Bank shares his views on what digital means for enterprises, and its prerequisites and challenges. Excerpts
What makes digital transformation so important for organizations in this new business scenario?
‘Digital’ is a much used, perhaps overused, phrase. Conceptually, digital has been around since the days of Charles Babbage. It’s just that there have been different eras of digital—from ivory castle EDP to personal computing to self-service and now to the Internet and beyond. My personal definition of digital for today’s era is around the twin concepts of ubiquity and real-time advice. The former, ubiquity, is about today’s customers’ expectation to be in touch with whatever they need—whether it’s their bank accounts or medical records—at any point of time and on any device,be it a browser, phone, watch, car dashboard or the door of the fridge. The latter, real-time advice, is about the ability to provide or seek advice just at the point of need. The advice can be crowdsourced, eg, you want your friends to help you choose the color of your dress when you are in the store, or the advice can be from an expert, for instance, the bank’s ability to give advice on your transactions if it spots unusual behavior. None of these are leading edge stuff anymore since our customers are anyway experiencing these from the top eCommerce and Internet companies. There is an expectation that all organizations, and not just Internet-centric organizations, follow suit.
How can banking organizations engage with customers more effectively and offer improved customer experience through digital initiatives?
In order to be digital, an organization cannot simply slap on some ad hoc Internet and mobile-facing applications on existing manual back offices. That would be like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s important to automate the back office and make it proactive and seamless to the ebb and flow of our digital customers. In other words, digital’s prerequisite is digitization.
What are the challenges for CIOs embarking on the digital route? What’s your advice?
For an organization to be digital, it is not enough that the IT organization under the CIO becomes digital. The entire organization has to be in lockstep in the digital journey. There has to be executive leadership commitment towards digital. Along with retooling of legacy IT systems and infrastructure through initiatives like cloud and SOA (Service-oriented Architecture), back office functions will need to be automated and front office customer- facing capabilities will need to be transformed to conduct meaningful conversations with customers and prospects, and not just process reactive transactions, as is commonly done today. It’s a massive transformation, and it needs organization-wide leadership and commitment to do this.