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Advanced AI, data analytics, and cloud-based solutions are transforming operational efficiency in BFSI: Shailesh Singla

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In an era where technology is the driving force behind industry transformations, the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sector stands out as a leader in adopting cutting-edge innovations. Shailesh Singla, Country Head – BFSI Applications at Oracle India, provides a compelling insight into the dynamic changes and future prospects within this sector. As financial institutions strive to enhance their brand value, customer experience, and employee satisfaction, they increasingly turn to advanced AI, data analytics, and cloud-based solutions.

In this exclusive interview, Singla further discusses the latest developments in the BFSI space, the barriers to adopting innovative solutions, and the successful implementations that have led to significant improvements in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Here are the edited excerpts-

1. Digitisation of processes has been underway for years in various sectors, but the BFSI sector has been one of the early adopters and is still investing to differentiate their brand value, improve customer experience and bring higher employee satisfaction. What are the latest trends and developments you are noticing in the BFSI space to service modern day customers?

The BFSI sector has consistently led the charge in adopting digital technologies, and this trend shows no
signs of slowing down. The sector has long been at the forefront of technological innovation, embracing emerging technologies to drive operational efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver superior customer experiences. Currently, we are seeing a significant shift towards hyper-personalisation, driven by advanced data analytics and AI. Banks and financial institutions are leveraging AI to offer tailored financial products and services, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on mobile-first strategies, as customers increasingly demand seamless, on-the-go banking experiences.

This has led to the proliferation of mobile banking apps that offer comprehensive services, from account management to loan applications. Additionally, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) related opportunities and risks are becoming more and more relevant for banks across the globe. Lending banks in India have a key strategic pillar for ESG or sustainability. Carbon emissions resulting from banks’ end-to-end technology infrastructure are coming under intense scrutiny which involves the energy consumption from consumed SaaS based cloud solutions, making many banks eager to measure and reduce their overall carbon footprint. Organisations are investing heavily in cloud-based solutions, such as Oracle’s Cloud Applications offerings, to improve agility and scalability, ensuring they can quickly adapt to market changes and customer demands. Oracle’s innovations are extended across sustainable cloud operations and cloud applications that help our customers run their businesses at lower costs and with less energy use.

2. What are the major barriers that banks/financial institutions or even NBFCs are facing towards adopting innovative solutions and mitigate risks?
Despite the clear benefits of innovative solutions, several barriers impede their adoption in the BFSI sector. One of the primary challenges is the legacy infrastructure that many institutions still rely on, are both costly and complex to upgrade. Traditional software deployment models require significant investments in hardware, software licenses, and maintenance, increasing both CAPAX as well as OPEX. However, with the use of Cloud based Applications, enterprises can eliminate these expenses as the software is hosted and maintained by the service providers, allowing customers in the BFSI sector to align their resources more efficiently and concentrate on their core business operations.

Additionally, the regulatory landscape is continually evolving, and staying compliant while implementing new technologies can be daunting. Given the sensitive nature of financial data, there is also a significant concern around data security and privacy, as financial institutions are prime targets for cyberattacks. Banking and Financial institutions are integrating new technologies with existing systems without compromising security, ensuring robust security measures to protect their clients data. Encryption, regular backups, access controls and disaster recovery plans are some of the measures that are increasingly vital to provide the highest level of security and avoid any malicious activities. By adopting Cloud based Applications solutions, banks can mitigate the risk of data breaches, fraud, and non- compliance, enhancing customer trust and maintaining a strong reputation.

Oracle offers Oracle Compute Cloud@Customer, one of our integrated cloud platforms that uses Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) compute services anywhere. Organisations can simply run their applications on cloud infrastructure to address data residency, security, and low-latency connections to existing resources and real-time operations in their data centres.

3. Amidst these concerns, where do Oracle AI-powered Cloud services fit into the growth strategy of banks and financial institutions? Also, how can they leverage these transformative solutions to achieve business resilience and decision-making?
The Indian SaaS (Applications) market is continuously thriving and is set for more growth in the coming
years. The market for SaaS in India is expected to touch $37 billion in market size by 2028, from $12 billion presently, as per 1Lattice’s latest report. For Oracle, the banking and finance sector has been a major driver witnessing constant growth. We offer an end-to-end applications layer, providing financials, supply chain, human capital management, and more on a single instance. Oracle AI-powered Cloud Applications solutions are at the forefront of driving growth and innovation in the BFSI sector, enabling banks and financial institutions to harness the power of AI and machine learning to gain predictive insights and make data-driven decisions. By integrating these advanced technologies into their operations, our customers in the BFSI sectors can enhance customer experiences, streamline processes, and reduce costs.

For instance, our deep-rooted expertise in BFSI and public sector allows for localised product offerings, addressing the unique needs of Indian institutions. From core banking solutions to advanced AI/ML capabilities, Oracle's suite of applications supports a spectrum of functions across Tier- 1 banks, NBFCs, insurance firms, and emerging fintech startups. Oracle expanded its Oracle Banking Cloud Services portfolio to help banks quickly launch comprehensive transaction banking offerings spanning cash management, liquidity management, and virtual account management. With the ability to be embedded directly within a corporate’s existing Enterprise Resources Management (ERP) and allied systems, the solutions enable real-time payments and settlements and unprecedented cash cycle optimisation.

4. Can you share examples of successful Cloud Applications implementations in the BFSI sector that have led to improved operational efficiency and enhanced customer satisfaction?
Our complete cloud suite of SaaS applications with embedded AI capabilities assists customers in the
banking and financial services sector to bring consistent processes and a single source of truth across the most important business functions. These functions are from enterprise resource planning to supply chain management, human capital management to advertising and customer experience to improve client servicing processes through data-driven strategies. Our comprehensive stack of solutions from Cloud Applications to Cloud Infrastructure to Database supports top banks, financial institutions, NBFCs as well as startups. For instance, Kotak Mahindra Bank has implemented Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP and Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM to optimise their finance and human resource functions. The bank has streamlined its operations, leading to improved financial management and a more efficient HR process. SBI Cards has deployed a single cloud layer leveraging Oracle Financials, Supply Chain, and Human Capital Management. Our holistic cloud solutions have allowed SBI Cards to integrate and streamline their operations across different functions, leading to significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.

Recently, Unico Housing Finance, a new-age digital housing finance company, has chosen Oracle Cloud
as the foundation for its housing loan solutions and services that cater to the unbanked community in
India. With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Oracle’s business and industry applications, Unico has
a stronger foundation to run its loan management more efficiently, to empower aspiring homeowners
to get a step closer to owning their dream homes.

5. As the Country Head for BFSI at Oracle India, can you describe how Oracle is uniquely positioned to meet the specific demands of BFSI customers in India, what approach do you follow with the advancement of Generative AI and big bets in this space?
Oracle took a special approach and developed a complete, open, and unified suite of cloud solutions – from industry solutions to core applications to infrastructure. Our configurations and offerings are supportive to banks and financial institutions to set up a simple architecture offering a layer of rich Business intelligence (BI) capabilities on top of it across business functions ensuring a uniform user experience, seamless mobility, chat-bot assistance and voice capabilities. Moreover, our Fusion Cloud Applications work across all industries is helping customers to confront their biggest challenges – from financial forecasting and navigating supply chain disruptions to talent acquisition and retention. We approach security differently than other cloud providers as our security-first design principles provide integrity and preserve privacy, providing banks with highest levels of security, performance, and value in the industry.

Oracle’s advancements in Generative AI and machine learning (ML) further set us apart in most business
functions. Built on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and leveraging its leading AI services, Oracle supports over 50 generative AI use cases that are embedded within Oracle Fusion Applications and designed to respect customers’ enterprise data, privacy, and security.

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