Women workforce is changing the face of BFSI sector: Kirti Patil, Kotak Life

Kirti Patil

Kirti PatilWomen’s ability to foster relationships, being sensitive to others’ views, taking everyone along are great enablers in today’s world where collaboration and customer-centricity are keys to success in any field. Women normally take a balanced view and are more practical and moderate in risk-taking. These qualities have seen women rising to the top in the BFSI sector, says Kirti Patil, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Kotak Life Insurance, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

What technologies are you implementing to give the organisation a competitive edge?

At Kotak Life Insurance, Digital transformation is re-imagining business with a digital-first mindset. The Digital Transformation initiatives are completely synchronised with the technology transformation initiatives to make the most of the emerging, new-age technologies. The key digital elements are:

 1) Extremely simple and intuitive customer journeys

2) Building a foundation for data-driven decisions

3) Simplification of products & processes for instant fulfilment/closure and self-service wherever possible We are implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), based chatbots for customer service, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for efficiencies in processes, for the Management Information System (MIS) reporting and for integrating disparate data systems.

Facial Recognition / Video technologies are being evaluated for several use cases and will be implemented in the next couple of months. We are also embedding AI in decision support systems and AI for empowering the front-end to provide personalised service to the customers. We have implemented a Lead and Activity Management solution for our sales force spanning all channels. The Sales Hierarchy will have complete visibility of the progress of the daily activities of the geographically dispersed sales force which is a challenge today. This will improve predictability and will help nudge the force in the right direction immediately. We have started our App modernisation journey and are using microservices and containers. While we will not completely shift to open source, we are very open to open source and have implemented enterprise open-source software. Our Application development philosophy is mobile-first and Application programming interface (API) first. Hyper-converged infrastructure has been implemented at the Disaster Recovery (DR) Data centre and new replication technology – Resolution Professional (RP) for Virtual Machines (VM). This simplifies disaster recovery and substantially reduces costs due to its efficient bandwidth utilisation.

 What does this Budget mean to you?

The Government has demonstrated its continued focus on Digital India by increasing its allocation for the Digital Program. The focus on a digital literacy program for rural India with a focus on skill sets like language training, AI, iOT, Big Data, 3D printing etc. will go a long way in making India digital. The easing of Angel investing norms for start-ups, a program for promoting start-ups and a slew of other measures will ensure that the start-up eco system will flourish giving an impetus to make in India and Digital India.

How do you feel the women force is changing the face of the BFSI sector?

The Government has demonstrated its continued focus on Digital India by increasing its allocation for the Digital Program. The focus on a digital literacy program for rural India with a focus on skill sets like language training, AI, IoT, Big Data, 3D printing etc. will go a long way in making India digital. The easing of Angel investing norms for start-ups, a program for promoting start-ups and a slew of other measures will ensure that the start-up ecosystem will flourish giving an impetus to make in India and Digital India.

How do you feel the women force is changing the face of the BFSI sector?

The women workforce is changing the face of not only the BFSI sector but of Corporate India. Our Honourable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the first woman FM is a testimony to the strides women are taking in this sector. However, there are still very few women in leadership roles. And that is not because of lack of skills or capability. Women need to believe in themselves, need to take bold decisions and not be ashamed of being ambitious. Women’s ability to foster relationships, being sensitive to others’ views, taking everyone along are great enablers in today’s world where collaboration and customer-centricity are keys to success in any field.

Women normally take a balanced view and are more practical and moderate in risk-taking. These qualities have seen women rising to the top in the BFSI sector. We have also seen women actively becoming agents in the Life Insurance industry. Some of our successful agents are women. Their stories are an inspiration for other women to join the sector.

This is not only an excellent career option for women but will also lead to holistic financial inclusion. Mandatory admission of unlisted public companies in the depository and compulsory Demat for all shares – this will ensure more shares to be held in Demat form. For comparison, there are over 6,00,000 unlisted companies compared to only over 5,000 listed companies. Reintroduce online Aadhaar authentication based KYC for capital market intermediaries voluntarily which has recently been reintroduced for banking and telecom companies. This will help to increase the speed and efficiency of the account opening and significantly reduce the KYC cost for the intermediary.

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