Tech-Banking ... Banking Transformed (Connected World Series - VI)

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Tech-Banking ... Banking Transformed (Connected World Series - VI)

Naresh B Wadhwa, President and Country Manager, Cisco India and SAARC

Operating in an intensely competitive market, Indian banks and financial institutions are faced with the challenge to attract and retain valuable customers through a blend of robust core financial expertise, innovative products and services, a differentiated user experience, and a cutting edge technology-powered backbone. In this difficult scenario, financial institutions have realized the importance of an efficient and agile technology platform that can enable a multi-channel branch environment. A well judged, correctly deployed implementation of technology can not only drive profitability and customer satisfaction but also enhance competitive differentiation. The reality, today, is that more and more financial institutions are capitalizing on advanced technology and network convergence to provide customers with a unique banking experience.

The concept of Unified Communications promises to be a game changer in the banking scenario. In a data rich environment characterized by mobile workforces, a widely dispersed value chain, social networking, pervasive video, and information overload, Unified Communications connects people, information, and teams, to enable comprehensive and effective collaborative experiences, both for the bank's employees and for the customers. Unified Communications is changing the way employees and customers work and interact, making it easier for bank personnel to reach the right person at the right time to capitalize on up-sell opportunities and enhance customer satisfaction.

Let me share with you an example of how technology helped a leading bank facing manpower shortage and rising customer expectations for better services. At the branch level, employees were hamstrung by limited understanding of products and services. This was turning into a roadblock for the bank to cross-sell and up-sell. The bank deployed an advanced communication solution for its customer services division. With a Unified Communications system in place, a customer-facing employee receiving an unfamiliar customer request could immediately call up a "menu" of product managers on the IP phone. Available specialists would then address queries in their focus areas. The bank conservatively estimates that the solution will add 7 percent in profit to the bottom line and help free up 20 percent of the organizational bottleneck. Encouraged by this success, the bank is now looking at charting out a future roadmap for technology implementation to "future proof" its communication network and technology systems.

As Cloud Computing develops and matures, it promises to provide banks and financial companies with much more than just a technology fillip. In an industry with high levels of security and control needs and stringent regulatory requirement, Desktop Virtualization and Cloud-Based Applications can give banking CIOs a much needed peace of mind when it comes to sensitive customer data and private information. On one hand, it would open up possibilities for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments. On the other, it would provide broad capabilities that banks need on a sustained yet flexible basis to help them do much more than cut infrastructure costs. It enables banks to transform business processes and enhance scalability in new sectors or regions at a fraction of the time and cost investments associated with setting up afresh. It may even facilitate the opening up of new markets and services to differentiate from competition and improve the ways customers' access and use the bank's products and services.

In a "next-generation" bank environment with a common, secure, and flexible IT infrastructure, it would be possible to deploy new or updated banking solutions and business processes, rapidly and effectively. This would minimize "time to market" for new products and services, drive up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and reduce operational costs. In the near future, technology-based solutions that provide Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, Application-Oriented Networking (AON) solutions, video, and digital signage would be commonplace, making it possible for banks to delight customers through simplified yet secure interactions, each time, time after time.

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