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Day 1: BFSI Technology Conclave and Awards 2022 Returns to ‘Normal’

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After a gap of two years, The Indian Express Group publication- Express Computer hosted its two-day-long residential conference in Pune. This mega-conference witnessed a rich confluence of perspectives and thought-provoking ideas.

After two years of successful virtual editions, Express Computer hosted its first physical edition of the marquee ‘BFSI Technology Conclave and Awards 2022’ in Pune, on May 6-7, 2022. The conference theme was ‘Re-imagining The Future Together’, and the event saw participation from 80-100 key senior-level IT leaders from the BFSI sector. Participants came together for discussions at a unique time when the global pandemic is turning into a ‘new normal’ and in-person gatherings are returning back to peer-to-peer networking.

Undoubtedly, there was excitement of meeting with the industry leaders, and networking sessions were electrifying during the course of the conference. The two-day conference highlighted how the BFSI industry is facing a fast-changing landscape in India with digital becoming a core focus and intelligent banking witnessing a shift towards e-banking. Now more than ever, the BFSI industry is seeking digital transformation and innovation and strengthening loyalty through deeper customer insights and relationships, empowering employees, and combating financial crime.

Speaking on Day 1 of the BFSI conclave, leaders from SVC Bank, Equitas Small Finance Bank, NSDL, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Vertiv, Dell Technologies, CrowdStrike, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, RBL Bank, Accops and many more shared their perspectives on important industry developments and implications for the Indian BFSI industry.

Opening Ceremony- Lamp lighting by BFSI Leaders and CXOs
Ashish Singhal, Managing Director, SVC Bank

The first day of the conference was formally inaugurated with the lamp lighting ceremony. Ashish Singhal, Managing Director of SVC Bank opened the BFSI Conclave and Awards with his insightful keynote address, titled ‘Reimagining Banking’. He presented a holistic view of the evolution of banking and how digital banking is becoming crucial for the SVC Bank. “Across the financial services industry, there is a clear focus on customer demand and customer expectations in addition to delivering products and services differently to customers to create differentiated experiences. With the personalisation of banking driving engagements and sales, we are working with the fintech ecosystem to meet the technology shift,” he explained.

Shrirang Deshpande, Country Head-Strategic Program, Vertiv India

The next speaker of the day was, Shrirang Deshpande, Country Head-Strategic Program, Vertiv India. While giving an overview of the Vertiv offerings for the BFSI industry. He said, “Digital banking, unnamed and Robot banking is becoming a new reality. We offer solutions that are critical for banking and finance applications.” He also stressed on the point of increase in remote management among customers.

After Deshpande’s presentation , the next session was the most awaited panel discussion on ‘Lessons & Perspectives from Transformational Digital Leaders’. Leading Banking and Insurance technology heads were among the panelists.  Murali Vaidyanathan, President and Country Head – Branch Banking – Liabilities, Products & Wealth, Equitas Small Finance Bank; Sunil Batra, Chief Technology Officer, NSDL; A Shiju Rawther, Head – IT, SBI Mutual Fund; Nitin Mukhija, Chief Technology & Data Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance; Nandkishore Purohit, Chief Digital & Technology Officer, India Infoline Group and Gunjan Issar, regional Manager BFSI-Data Protection Solution, Dell Technologies. The panel was well moderated by KRC Murty, Senior Vice President & Head – RTB , Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Vaidyanathan highlighted, “Banking is today in the hinterlands and the heartlands of the country. There are billions of payments happ

ening across the country in real-time. So, it is a very different ecosystem that is changing very rapidly. Banks like Equitas Small Finance Bank are sitting on a multi-years of real data and managing risks is one of the cornerstones. One of the real drivers to managing risks better is the ability to use data better.”

The panel discussion saw an interesting mix of banking and insurance leaders’ experiences. The discussion ended with a few key takeaways – that the CEO, chief digital officer, and chief information officer are the drivers of technological progress, and they must be willing to take chances; the ability to manage data at a large scale is at your fingertips today unlike how it was a few years ago. Another key point made by the panellists was that data is the new gold and hyper-personalisation is the holy grail of the entire customer experience strategy across all organisations.

Venkatesh Iyer, Director Sales India & SAARC, CrowdStrike

 Following the panel discussion, Venkatesh Iyer, Director Sales India & SAARC, CrowdStrike presented his session on ‘Security for the Digital’. He highlighted that banking has been at the forefront of adopting technologies, and threat intelligence is going to be very crucial for the BFSI sector. Iyer shared the significance of the Zero Trust. “80 per cent of attacks are identity-related,” he pointed out.

Vijender Yadav, CEO, CTO & Co-founder, Accops

Right after the Crowdstrike session, Vijender Yadav, CEO, CTO & Co-founder, Accops took over the stage from Venkatesh Iyer. His session titled ‘Improving productivity at bank with a Secure Digital Workspace’ was very insightful. Pointing out the various reports and studies done around the ‘future of work’, he said, “The pandemic has forced organisations to explore and use digital workspaces productively. He covered Virtual Desktop Computing Architecture at large and how VDI is becoming important in remote working.”

Goutam Datta from Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance

The next speaker was from the insurance industry. Goutam Datta, Chief Information & Digital Officer, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, BALIC took over the center stage with his presentation on ‘Taking customer service to the next level with AI’. According to Dutta, digitisation is rapidly changing the dynamics of life insurance industry in India in terms of delivering value to the customers. Insurers are using advanced technologies such as AI in order to simplify the customer experience, be it selling or connecting with a customer during a policy term.

“As a company, we are staying ahead of the curve by adopting and executing quickly on newer trends like Machine Learning, AI, customer-focused analytics, bots, APIs, data lakes, cloud, etc. The enterprise use of AI has grown 270 per cent over the last four years. Almost 64 per cent of consumers want AI to be more human-like, and 62 per cent are comfortable with a human-like voice and intellect,” he mentioned.

Puneet Dhar

Following Dutta, Puneet Dhar, National Product Manager, Crestron India presented his session on the title ‘Digital Workplace-Stepping into the Future’. He said, “The pandemic accelerated several workplace trends that had been slowly gaining traction in recent years: namely, a growing number of remote and hybrid employees and the expansion of video conferencing platforms.” He further spoke about how the company is expanding the capabilities of the Crestron Flex digital workplace platform.

Sankarson Banerjee, CIO, RBL Bank

The first day of the BFSI conclave concluded with an unconventional presentation made by Sankarson Banerjee, CIO, RBL Bank, on the topic ‘Rethink your Constraints’. His five points were short, crisp and pertinent recommendations for CIOs, that captured the current challenges and how technologies such as cloud, analytics tools, and databases can help them in yielding better results.

Following the series of sessions and presentations, the evening concluded with the prestigious BFSI Technology Awards 2022 ceremony (see below the winners list of Day 1: 6th May). The evening was concluded with fun and musical show.

The list of BFSI Technology Awards 2022 winners are:

Winner Category
Kotak Mahindra Bank Enterprise Applications
TATA Motors Finance Ltd. Enterprise Applications
Bajaj Housing Finance Ltd. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
SVC Co-operative Bank Ltd. Data Centers
NKGSB Co-operative Bank Ltd. Data Centers
SVC Co-operative Bank Ltd. Enterprise Security
NKGSB Co-operative Bank Ltd. Cloud

Day 2 to be continued…

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