“Flexcube is about customer engagement, not just transactional banking”

Vikram Gupta, Vice President and Head, FLEXCUBE -Strategy, Development & Management, Oracle Financial Services (OFSS), discussed how the company intended to target end customers for banks with its new core banking software. By Heena Jhingan

What makes Flexcube 12.0 a new milestone that has the potential to transform the BFSI sector?
We invested in the development of Flexcube 12.0, based on three considerations namely the banks’ customers,  its operational staff and  its IT staff. We have delivered a solution that will prove to be a strategic weapon to help banks execute their business strategies more efficiently and effectively. Bankers, both large and emerging, have identified challenges including fierce competition, stringent regulations and tough-to-manage customer loyalty as having an impact on  their business.

With this backdrop, bankers have underlined key trends in the industry that have led to demand for a product like Flexcube 12.0. There is a strong push for bankers to tailor their own products, service and user experience in order to offer differentiated products and be more personalized and highly intuitive in their approach. The industry is now obsessed with speed and this is tied to market product delivery across channels and geographies. We see a stronger emphasis on technology in driving efficiency and effectiveness in a bank’s operations and IT. We believe that we have been able to deliver all that and more through Flexcube 12.0.

What is your strategy to take this product to the market?
Our strategy is to drive the concept of knowledge workers across the banking fraternity and not restrict it to IT. According to the industry estimates, bankers spend 50% of their time on operational tasks and the remainder is split between preparing to sell and selling. Even from this 50%, the least amount of time is spent on selling. It is important for banks to empower  their workforce in order to build the business. Through Flexcube 12.0, we want to help banks drive a prominent change in that mix.

Secondly, we want to help banks maintain their customer loyalties and, for that, we need to transform the banking experience for each and every user thereby making it more personalized and conversational. Every bank feels threatened; that it’s going to lose customers. In today’s evolved era of banking, customers have multiple choices, forcing public and private sector banks to change their approach when it comes to the customer experience. The new release of Flexcube 12.0 includes features that will enable banks to deliver just this—more personalized and convenient services to customers/users across channels, including online, mobile, ATM and branch banking. Flexcube is about customer engagement, rather than transactional banking

We would like to help banks simplify their IT infrastructure, rather than having their IT staff spend over 80% of their time just keeping systems up. Flexcube is a big leap as we target end customers for banks. The self service platform is important as it will empower them to meet the needs of tech savvy customers that they are dealing with.

What is driving you to focus more on the end customer?
Flexcube is targeted at Gen Y customers worldwide. The banks serve customers that are  accessing banking services on various high-end device including the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Java ME devices. Therefore, banks need to gear up with their services available across platforms.

Further, banks can use the solution to provide customers with real-time offers. We have the complete spend analysis offering available to customers where they can classify their transactions in different buckets in order to help them analyze their transactions. We also have complete cross and up sell integration with Oracle’s Real-Time Decisions (RTD) platform that delivers targeted advertising to customers. Besides this, we have location based offers on the table.

We have also come up with a set of solutions for the end banker, for example there could be a loan officer, who could have a  lot of back-end data being pushed at him, based on his profile, and that would help him improve his productivity. We have a new introductory module for bankers, where they can document any kind of interaction with the customer. They can also store all kinds of documents provided by the customers.

We have launched the entire offering around an open development tool, which allows the bank to customize and build applications on its own rather than coming back to the software vendor. Therefore, this is a new paradigm that we are talking about.

Most of the banks in India are still busy boarding the core banking bandwagon. What are you expectations from the market?
We have about 400  customers around the world; this includes both private and public sector banks. We understand that  time to market has become a critical factor. Banks nowadays are focused not simply on implementing core banking solutions. Rather they are also keen on providing superior services in order to retain customers. It will be difficult to predict any numbers in terms of our expectations, however, I  can say that we  previewed this product with some customers and partners and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

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