To keep up with the pace of digital consumerism, the BFSI industry needs agility and flexibility

Arijit Bonnerjee, Vice President & Head of India Region, Tata Communications

The integration of technology in banking has become ever critical. More players are investing in digitizing their businesses to achieve agility and scale, and eventually ace customer experience. However, managing all fronts of a business’ tech infrastructure like network operations, process automation, cloud and security and so on can be daunting. This requires expertise from well-rounded digital ecosystem enablers that can also bring in global strength in terms of innovation and products. Tata Communications has been one of the leading tech infrastructure providers that has been empowering India’s BFSI sector with a power-packed suite of platforms and features. Nidhi Shail Kujur of Elets News Network (ENN) spoke to Arijit Bonnerjee, Vice President & Head of India Region, Tata Communications to share an overview on the evolving BFSI sector and how the organization is equipped to cater to it.

Give a quick overview of DIGO an in-network, cloud communication platform. Also, describe how it boosts customer engagement for digital-first companies.

DIGO is an in-network cloud communication platform that we have recently launched to power up customer engagement for digital-first businesses. The platform offers a full suite of device-agnostic communications tools to seamlessly integrate into an enterprise’s current applications, enabling it to bring intelligent, 360-degree human-to-everything (H2X) interactions for its users. DIGO also enables seamless and customised workflows by integrating and connecting fragmented communications channels, Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms, and connectors (SaaS and IoT) in a platform that is designed to be infinitely scalable. This dramatically reduces the complexity of bringing solutions to the market, while focusing on providing the ultimate end user experiences. It offers businesses an extensive range of cutting-edge customer engagement tools delivered on the most connected network coverage. These include a customer engagement platform integrated with programmable building blocks including voice, SMS, email, social messaging, video, text to speech, IVR, chatbot and analytics tools amongst others. The platform will also augment existing applications of enterprises with an extensive connectors’ library. This complete solution is wrapped with enterprise-grade personalised services, ensuring businesses get scalable, interoperable, secure, and regulatory compliant customer engagement outcomes. For the banking and insurance companies, for example, DIGO can help in the realisation of an enhanced customer experience and customer journey transformation strategy by delivering seamless, omni-channel customer communications, providing a range of APIs for ease of integration with backoffice systems. These APIs, supplemented with application specific connectors, can make it even easier and quicker to complete secure application integrations. This helps the financial institutions in focusing on co-creating solutions, including end-to-end customer engagement, that encompasses physical branches, online commerce, marketing, and contact centres.

How does Tata Communications IZO SDWAN support organizations to manage severe network transformation through a unified customer experience platform with its end-to-end managed services?

The Tata Communications IZO™ SDWAN solution is designed to help enterprises in their SD-WAN adoption through a modular and managed services approach. This approach is facilitated by our ecosystem of network and technology partnerships, flexible deployment, and management models. We have a ‘define-deliver-optimise’ approach that has helped many customers in creating their business-first SD-WAN. Through ‘Define’ on Day 0, our services are created to design and validate the best-fit solution for our customers based on their current and future requirements. This helps in enhancing the Return on Investment with an optimised solution that supports the business outcomes. Via ‘Deliver’ on Day 1, our services ensure risk-free and time-bound turn up of sites with enhanced visibility through our transition frameworks, capabilities, and tools. This helps in enhancing SD-WAN time to value while ensuring fast and secure access to cloud applications. In the ‘Optimise’ phase on Day 2, services ensure simplified management of the steady state ecosystem. Herein, we help enterprises with enhanced network uptime with proactive issue identification & resolution through underlay-overlay correlation. This helps in ensuring business availability and continuity. Few key provisions of Tata Communications IZO SDWAN solution are data synchronisation, Interactive CX, Integration with IoT, Security & Compliance, Service Expansion, Branch Integration & Omnichannel Experience and Quick branch rollouts/Disaster recovery. These can be deployed to enable regular data backup, improve interactive customer experience, while adhering to strict security compliances and protecting customer data. Tata Communication’s IZO SDWAN has enabled optimised bandwidth utilisation and increased application performance for a leading Indian Bank, resulting in about 30% reduction in the operating cost for day-to-day management.

How can Tata Communications’ Bandwidth-on-Demand feature on ethernet, cater to the BFSI industry?

The ethernet Bandwidth On-Demand (BoD) service provides flexibility & control to BFSI customers to manage their bandwidth needs and perform data-intensive activities smoothly and efficiently. It allows customers to increase up to 4x of its subscribed bandwidth on the fly and activate additional bandwidth in 30 minutes. This allows a leading Indian bank with approx. 4600 branches and 13000 ATMs, to meet their bandwidth needs without having to overbuild their network, leading to improved productivity and better application performance, avoiding immediate bandwidth upgrade results in cost savings of approximately 17%. This is especially useful for customers to adjust their point-topoint dedicated ethernet links connecting their banking applications on DC, high-bandwidth transport connections between DC-HQ-Branches, high volume DC-DR data replication & migration activities, to meet monthly, quarterly, or seasonal demands and their global banking WAN backbone.

Do we have adequate cloud expertise for its augmentation in its environment in the country?

As the world rapidly goes digital, staying up to date would be the priority agenda for forward-looking and resilient organisations. Similarly, to keep up with the pace of digital consumerism, the BFSI industry need the agility and flexibility for faster go-to-market strategies for new services and engagement models. With multiple opportunities comes a multitude of challenges. The BSFI sector is facing the hydra-headed task of migrating its legacy estate, workloads, and services to more agile IT platforms to leverage emerging technologies for neo banking services. All while operating in an environment that must remain secure, compliant, and always connected. To address these challenges of the BFSI industry, at Tata Communications we launched the IZO™ Financial Cloud, which is a robust, secure, and scalable managed community cloud. It is purpose built and designed to support the evolving next generation of banking services. The IZO Financial Cloud also provides glitch-free migration with zero business disruption. The embedded, high security controls are compliant to major BFSI industry regulations with relevant certification. The adaptable cloud foundation enables application modernisation and phased new service launches, supporting open, cloud-native banking, through API-driven innovation.

How can we address the concerns of data security, especially when it is offered as SaaS?

Although, the BFSI sector is highly regulated with RBI, SEBI and IRDA providing cyber security guidelines, it is the number one target for cybercriminals. Most BFSI vendors house large volume of personal identifiable information (PII) and payment card industry (PCI) data that is sensitive and needs to be protected. To secure this data, BFSI vendors can implement security technologies such as single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), attribute-based access controls (ABAC) and other access management controls must be implemented. Tata Communications’ security solutions such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion prevention systems (IPS) protect the network, security information and event management (SIEM) help uncover advanced threats. In addition, user entity and behaviour analytics (UEBA) can be used to detect insider threats, which are growing exponentially in the BFSI space. The integrity of data needs to be maintained across its life cycle. Various security controls such as data masking, encryption can be enforced to keep the data integrity intact across its lifecycle. The data also needs to be regularly audited to prevent its misuse and ensure PCI-DSS compliance adherence. But this is easier said than done! Most CIOs have realised that technology is just one part of the problem, finding the right resources and implementing the right threat detection and response processes are of higher or equal importance and they must look at trusted managed security services providers who can constantly detect and prevent data breaches while providing them timely compliance adherence reports. Liberty General Insurance (LGI) uses Global VPN (GVPN) services from Tata Communications to connect 1200 employees in 23 states and 120 branch offices across India, 40 of those are at remote location and connecting them to the corporate infrastructure directly over traditional Internet services would have required higher investment without offering performance benefits, nor would it be secure. The Tata Communications team designed a hybrid solution where broadband Internet service taken from a local service provider would offer high-speed remote access to the nearest GVPN point of presence, offering enhanced experience and better security.

What is the roadmap of your organisation in 2022 and beyond?

We have successfully pivoted our business to emerge as a Digital Ecosystem Enabler. Today, we offer our customers an integrated suite of services through bundled offerings, enabling them to be more productive, efficient, and deliver superior customer experience. Built on our strong underlay capabilities – the strength of our expertise with global Tier-1 IP network – we have invested in developing overlay platforms to enable our customers with more agile, flexible network and associated offerings in terms of cloud, managed hosting, and security services such as managed SASE services, secure remote private access, and MPLS VPN bandwidth on-demand offerings. We continue to focus on the Collaboration and Connected Solutions Portfolio and with the launch of DIGO, we aim to empower customer experience journeys with customized, converged, contextual user conversations across multiple channels of communications. All this to drive superior employee and customer experience and thereby enable the digital transformation of an enterprise.
We support the vision of Digital India to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The Digital India programme is centred on three key areas: digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens. Cloudification is driving the need for networks to become more intelligent, agile, secure, and scalable. Our portfolio of cloud-based applications enabling enterprises across sectors to evolve into cloud first and internet first organisations. The cloud and security offerings including our cloud SOC solution protects sensitive and confidential data from internal and external threats.

As cybersecurity attacks expand beyond endpoints to cloud, network, email and mobile users, the need for a unifying security platform becomes critical. Tata Communications’ full suite managed security services for the BFSI sector is constantly enhancing its capabilities that help achieve a proactive security posture while meeting stringent compliance requirements from RBI, SEBI and IRDA. We have a world class security partner ecosystem and can deliver remote, on-premises and hybrid managed security services. We are on a mission to simplify security operations and make customers security effective so that their teams can focus on critical tasks that matter most.

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