With the onslaught of technology from all directions, the role of Chief Technology Officer in business establishments is changing from that of a technical expert to driver of the business, says Sameer Jaini, Chief Technology Officer, DCB Bank, in an interaction with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN)
What role does a CTO play for the business development of a financial institution?
Previously, the primary role of a business person was to keep the business going, backed with the necessary technical support. However, in the last few years, technology has driven businesses differently and the role that a Chief Technology Officer plays for business development has changed substantially. Hence, accordingly, a CTO has moved on from a support role to a partnership role, thus making our role more prominent for partnering the business.
For example, we have a product called ‘Zippy’, which is an online transaction product for Fixed Deposits (FD), which has been brought into being by us (the Technology Department) and the Business Development Department. Again, while working on the UPI platform, we have together managed to reach out to the masses, as it is half technology driven and half business oriented. Thus, there will rarely be a situation where we will be confined only in technology-driven role, and will focus primarily on partnership roles. For example, if we are now partnering with a fin-tech company, it will be primarily a technology-driven, more than anything else.
Therefore, any technology that we innovate as a financial institution to tap the market is first taken care of by the business development team and then the tech-innovation team, who work closely to strategise how to market that specific product to the targeted customers.
There’s been increasing adoption of technology in the BFSI Sector in the past few years. Being a tech expert to a financial institution, how do you perceive the rise in tech adaptation in the sector?
From a tech expert’s perspective, technology is about simplifying and modifying a process, enhancing customer’s experience and improving employee experience too. Almost every new innovation taking place in the banking industry will get automated and simplified, like mobility, in the banking industry. When a user is on mobile, he expects immediate response, even though it’s a case of opening an account in a particular bank. Thus, at the back-end, the financial institution has to create an experience for their users which ensures their customer of immediate response and solution, rather than lengthy process of document scrutiny, etc. Similarly, these days, people prefer using IMPS option over RTGS, focusing on a solution given right now rather than four hours later.
Gradually, the trend shows a shift towards ‘Zero’, meaning to ensure zero-cost of operations, zero-time involved for a transaction, etc. Incidentally, for any transaction or any project, we believe the more time taken is the more cost involved in its completion. Similarly, employees are also looking for automation to simplify their tasks. For example, if an employee has to login to seven different applications to complete a task, it becomes confusing for him, hence we gave them a single login to perform seamlessly.
Thus, IT at some places is stepping into the business role, helping to run it better, while at some other places, it is helping in automating operations and improving compliance.
What technology has been adopted in the DCB Bank ecosystem to make life simpler for its employees as well as customers?
From the customer’s perspective, we have deployed Android and iOS-compatible application, which is used by many customers these days. Our internet banking is an omnipresent platform. The same will be compatible for use both in handsets and computers easily. If we look purely from an employee perspective, we have just launched a platform called ‘Fundoo’, which is a platform for collaboration of customers and employees on the social platform. For example, employees can Wiki information there, make collaborations and do similar other value additions. Although, we have launched this recently, we see that it’s yielding great results in terms of people collaborating faster and executing transactions faster as well.
Incidentally, we are the first financial institution in the country to use Aadhaar-based ATMs, which again from a customer’s perspective offers immense convenience, wherein he does not need to reveal any of his banking details to transact and can easily authenticate it with his Aadhaar card. We are also in the process of exploring iris scanning ATMs, where a customer will be authenticated with his iris scan and will easily be able to transact through them.
Any technology that we innovate to tap the market is first taken care of by the business development team and then the tech-innovation team, who work closely to strategise how to market that product
Do you foresee any challenges posed by the convergence of social media, cloud and mobile banking to the BFSI Sector as a whole?
Instead of posing challenges, the convergence of the three technologies in banking has opened up faster and cheaper methods to reach out to prospective customers than any other tools ever used for client servicing in BFSI sector. Almost all financial institutions have moved on to virtualisation through clouds, where they run their own cloud systems, without having any impact on data confidentiality. All these have been helping us in being more efficient than before, rather than posing any severe threats. Mobility is helping us big time. For example, recently we have launched a technology wherein we can track a person’s leads and sales generated, and instant updates about his work done on a daily basis is instantly being monitored by his immediate reporting boss, customer’s preference pattern, etc.