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Our digital-first strategy is driving growth and innovation: Jyothirtlatha B, CTO, Godrej Capital

Godrej Capital, the financial services arm of the Godrej Group, has a digital-first approach and a strong focus on customer-centric product innovation. Jyothirtlatha B, Chief Technology Officer, Godrej Capital, shares that along with product design and delivery innovations, their digital strategy is also focused on meeting important goals like improved employee productivity and enhanced customer experience

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Please share with us the key highlights of Godrej Capital’s digital transformation journey in recent years.
Before the pandemic, the digital transformation of the retail financial services industry was already underway. The onset of Covid-19 only accelerated this.
On the other hand, Godrej Capital, born during the pandemic, did not face legacy systems’ challenges. On our foundational principles of enabling fair, fast and flexible financing, we had the opportunity to commence our operations with a digital-first approach, focusing on the entire consumer journey, from product design to product delivery.
Our customer journey for home loans is entirely digital, from lead management to application to loan disbursals and even the service.
Within the journey, we brought solutions like Instant Sanction, which acted as enablers allowing customers to make firmer and more confident decisions about home purchases. We can provide customers with estimated loan eligibility and interest rate in less than 15 minutes with just a few basic details.
With our tech-first approach, we also launched Design your EMI. Under this program, a customer can choose a bespoke/custom EMI plan that suits their needs, financial situations and life stage with the flexibility to alter to plan within essential guardrails defined.
Our approach to internal processes has always been tech-first, where solutions to core problems are centred around technology. It extends from productivity apps for sales to deploying robotics processes automation in operations.

Which tech implementations during the pandemic times have been integral to your business?
Traditionally, the mortgage loan process has been paper-heavy and time-consuming. This business was associated with relationship managers meeting customers, assessing their needs, and completing the loan paperwork. However, the pandemic inhibited these interactions to a large extent.
With the onset of Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdowns, consumers did not want to meet relationship managers. They preferred lenders who would provide convenience through a digital process – from loan processing to loan repayment. Godrej Capital tapped into evolving customer sentiment and launched an industry-first service, Zero Touch Loans.
Zero Touch Loans is an end-to-end digital service that enables customers to avail of a loan without being physically present in the city of loan origin. This service innovation uses prevalent tech options such as E-Sign, Video KYC, and E-NACH initiation in different legs of the loan journey to provide customers with a hassle-free home financing experience at their convenience.
Currently, more than 45 per cent of our customers avail of the completely paperless, Zero Touch loans.

How is your digital strategy driving growth and innovation across the organisation?
Along with product design and delivery innovations, our digital strategy is also focused on meeting important goals like improved employee productivity and enhanced customer experience.
For our employees, we strive to enhance productivity and efficiency through internal applications. We launched Sales One, ‘a one-stop platform for information efficiency, access to the status of applications, query resolution etc.’ – allowing for more intelligent interactions with the customer and helping sales to be on top of their goals.
Coupled with tech-driven real-time customer feedback measurement, actioning help uncover gaps in meeting customer expectations, which we address through further tech developments and process reengineering.
This helps in creating a loop of iterative feedback and tech developments.
In short, at Godrej Capital, we have imagined each stakeholder’s journey – whether customer or employee – to be digital-first, driving growth and innovation across the organisation.

How are you leveraging the power of emerging technologies?
Being in the business of risk, one of the core strengths we are developing is our ability to make data-driven intelligent decisions to enhance our underwriting capabilities.
With the scale-up of our existing Loan Against property business and launching an unsecured business shortly, this is central to our strategy of becoming a lender of choice for SME customers.
SME customers are characteristically different, and it requires breaking the segment into smaller clusters and using the power of Machine Learning to develop better underwriting models.
Along with this, as we scale up, we are leveraging Robotics Process Automation to reduce manual processing of tasks, especially in operations which will make the functions much leaner and allow for heuristic work to be the central focus.

How have you witnessed the significant benefits of smart automation?
Automation has many benefits: –
· Increased productivity of sales directly results in higher business for the company.
· Reducing effort in manual processing reduces the cost of operations
· Automation in the various legs of the customer journey reduces TAT, and smoother automated interactions with the customer enhance customer experience
In short, automation aids financial performance and employee and customer satisfaction.

As a leading financial services provider, what will remain the key focus of your digital strategy in the future?
As we expand into the SME sector through our products, such as Loan Against Property and cash-flow-based unsecured lending, our key focus will remain to induce flexibility for this segment through our products and services.
We aim to become a lender of choice for the SME segment by bringing flexibility in repayments and borrowing. For instance, under Design your EMI program, our customers have the flexibility to pay only interest for up to 36 months or choose bi-monthly and quarterly instalments options.
We aim to strengthen our tech-enabled product offerings as we understand the micro-segments better through our data-driven decision-making.
We will also continue to invest in technology which allows for hyper-customisation, and also from an infra perspective, we will continue to invest in cloud technology for hyper-scalability.

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