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Technology: The business enabler during COVID-19

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By Santhosh Mahalingam

Santhosh Mahalingam

As the mankind is facing its biggest existential crisis since World War II, COVID 19 has disrupted the way people live all across the globe. Thirty days ago, no one in their wildest dream would have thought about a global lock down which would force over 20 per cent of global population to stay home. This was unprecedented, appalling, distressing and will have an enduring effect on people, society, businesses, and the global economy at large. For us in the banking industry, this would be the most critical days we ever had in our career.

In the last few days, we had to undo a lot of past learning and experience that we garnered over decades. But every cloud has a silver lining and COVID was a blessing for all of us to reinforce our trust and belief on the power of technology. The need of the hour for all financial institutions is to opt for new banking models/technologies during this crisis. Organizations should create new business models that will impact all components of performance. Use of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Machine learning have become the lifeline for a large set of financial institutions worldwide to ensure business continuity and offering uninterrupted services to their customers.

With the push for digital banking, organizations can go further to transform businesses through innovation as a practice. In the journey towards digitization, I would like to capture few critical innovations that made the banking industry to stay afloat at this critical juncture.

Payment Investigations: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning based payment investigations platform which depicts high capabilities of real time Payment Tracking, Operational and Data Analytics. Prompt responses to payment investigation requests are a major benefit being borne by customers and employees against implementation of the system at work. Banks need to evolve their payments operations to meet cash management demands, reduce operational risk and improve visibility.

Optical Character Recognition: The global optical character recognition market size was valued at USD 5.27 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a CAGR of 13.7 per cent from 2019 to 2025. The Artificial Intelligence based Optical character Recognition (OCR) platform can be used to convert content on physical to digital form. Digitalization in business organizations has made all the processes faster and more accessible. As companies are witnessing technologically advancements, data is becoming a critical element for growth. Trade processing with exciting features like Auto Classification, Auto Indexing, Click-to-Pick Text Reader and Trade Screening are benefits of the technology. Automatic Data Extraction and Auto Indexing feature helps in identification of the document and indexes accordingly. Approximately 70 per cent of the data required for the transaction can be extracted using the technology.

Corporate Digital Onboarding: Implementation of Corporate Digital Onboarding to automate delivery and the handshakes between front line-middle office-compliance and back office without the need to access multiple systems. It is a unique digital channel for corporate client onboarding which allows the clients to experience instant account opening through guided digital fulfilment and digital activation. The customer centric technology helps in bringing in a faster and improved real time experience for its customers with due importance to security and seamlessness.

The increasing focus of financial institutions to offer an enhanced and personalized experience to their customers is expected to drive the market. The technological advancements such as e-mandates, biometric-enabled authentication, e-signatures, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and advanced analytics, can help in mitigating fraud.

Retail Banks are looking forward to transforming themselves to achieve utmost customer satisfaction. Trends have shown that banking institutions have developed a tendency of concentrating on core competencies and carry out activities with the help of such technologies. While COVID 19 is a foe to the entire human race with no doubt, this phase is also a classic example of our determination to surge ahead and fight back at the time of uncertainty. And technology has emerged as our best friend and the most successful weapon in winning this battle. Looking at the way how people, organizations, businesses and nations are driving their fight against this dreadful pandemic; I’m more confident than ever today that – this too shall pass.

(The author is the Managing Director at Mashreq Global Services)


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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5 Comments
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