Powering the explosive growth of banks in retail finance

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Retail BankingSpurred by financial inclusion policies, the Indian banking sector is facing exponential growth in its customers, accounts and funds. There has also been profusion of payment avenues – both physical and digital.

And over the last couple of years payment banks and digital wallets have gained wide acceptance, even popularity, with even phone companies and cab aggregators jumping in. As this space streamlines, banks are furiously expanding their footprint by launching branches, kiosks and ATMs across India.

IT departments need to establish strategies and solutions to support this dramatic growth trajectory. While scalability, versatility and agility of IT infrastructure are essential, potentially unpredictable user volumes also need to be addressed. Banks today need to be able to manage multiple branch infrastructure centrally in a seamless manner and provide a secure branch application server. Additionally, performance and user experience in every branch needs to be monitored to provide improved customer service.

Distributed systems grow as retail avenues proliferate and the need for their impeccable security and availability assumes great significance. Automated management tools powered by intelligent technologies are critical as one false step can irreversibly dent customer trust.

Virtualisation and hyper convergence can support the banking sector’s growth and expansion trajectory. By virtualising all infrastructure elements and delivering them as a service, banks can manage critical functions independent of the physical hardware. The intelligent software layer added to the IT infrastructure helps to dynamically manage and access all elements with ease. It ensures business continuity and quick and secure data recovery as well, resulting in very little business downtime.

Flexible infrastructure permits workloads to move freely to the optimum resource anywhere,anytime. For the IT organisation, technologies such as virtualisation and hyper convergence transform a traditionally CAPEX-centric budget into an OPEX-centric one by forecasting HW over a horizon. Infrastructure decision is made once annually without having to go through it repeatedly.

Financial inclusion ranks high on the Indian Government’s agenda today. The banking sector, with its legacy infrastructure and outdated modes of operating cannot meet the financial inclusion objectives before it unless it digitally transforms. Virtualisation can also enable interesting retail business models such as Tab banking and micro-ATMs, often operated by non-banking partners, as part of rural banking.  As remote branches grow, a virtualised central pool of servers and storage is crucial so that resources are highly utilised, and attractive cost savings are realised.

The business benefits of virtualised infrastructure architected for growth and managed through software are multi-fold, ranging from less time to set up new branches to lower IT overheads and lesser time to provision/modify infrastructure resources and more.

Design and implementation-readiness of infrastructure are the critical success factors for growing banks. Virtualisation makes it easy for banks to grow, handle sudden peak demands with great customer experience and TCO. Automated tools for operations help dramatic growth with stringent security and control. Financial institutions need to embrace these proven methodologies and set the stage for even higher growth in future.

The views expressed in this article are of Jagjit Arora Sr.Director – Sales at VMware.

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