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IndusInd Bank’s all-in-one app clocks impressive numbers

With a customer base of around 2 million, IndusInd Bank’s ecommerce mobile app has done 2 billion transactions in 2018. Apart from bank related transactions, it brings together all the regular requirements like mobile and DTH recharge, food ordering, cabs, etc. Biswabrata Chakravorty, CTO, IndusInd Bank speaks to Abhishek Raval

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You have just taken over as the role of CTO of IndusInd Bank. What will be the scope of your role and whom will you report to?
My role as head – IT involves three dimensions, primarily to reimagine the bank from a stakeholder point of view. It means how we prepare to become the digital bank of the future; what sort of market technologies we need to assess and deploy in the bank to get competitive advantage.
Secondly, as a part of my role, I have to prepare a multi layered IT strategy to sustain the growth and business plans, for example, we are working on open banking, mobility, data analytics and cloud to facilitate the growth of the bank.

Third is to manage risk. There are two ways to look at it. One is how technology can help the bank to manage its risk better using AI, risk analytics, etc. The other part is how does the technology remains relevant to the actions taken by the regulators and the events happening in the risk scenario.
I will report to the Chief Operating Officer of the company.

Every company wants to showcase them as being in some or the other stage of digital transformation. How do you define digital transformation?
Digital transformation has to be both top down and bottom up.

The starting point for us is the steps to be taken from a digital business point of view. It entails customer segmentation, with the kind of offers they should be targeted with and the value proposition differentiation. These aspects are backed by measurable goals. In this way, the business knows how to calibrate from a strategy point of view.

In this approach, the idea is to make the employees, more digitally savvy. To use collaborative technologies, so that the users are in better position to make customers appreciate and align and use those technologies.At IndusInd Bank, we have adopted both the top down and bottom up approach.

The challenge in the path of digital transformation is to reconcile the traditional IT infrastructure with the new age technologies. There are integration issues. How do you solve that problem?
We recognise that challenge. We have created a service bus architecture to use the legacy infrastructure in a more smart manner. It helps to abstract the CBS kind of legacy platforms from the digital channels. This helps us to create more channels and improve speed to market without impacting the legacy infrastructure.

But an organisation can become digitally native and undergo transformation when the legacy platforms are also enhanced. We are working in that space using micro services, which breaks a monolithic system into a more agile and light architecture on a traditional banking model.

A major part of our strategy is how do we inorganically grow with partnerships and thus we have also invested in an API management layer. It exposes all our interfaces to our partners. They have also shown a keen desire to integrate to our ecosystem.

We are also deploying applications on containers. So, even if the application is legacy, there are ways in which we can modernise and make efficient use of it. A kubernetes kind of a framework has been adopted in our environment, which will enable us to handle applications which requires bursty traffic with scale in and scale out kind of accommodations.

We are also looking at straight through processing (STP) capabilities, which basically completes a particular transaction without any human intervention – from start to end going upto the backend.

What have been the benefits of these initiatives?
There has been a mutifold impact. From a topline perspective, with a customer base of around two million, we have done two billion transa-ctions last year on our ecommerce mobile app. Apart from bank related transactions, it brings together all the regular requirements like mobile and DTH recharge, food ordering, cabs, etc. The idea is to increase the transaction velocity for each customer in a cost efficient manner.

On the payments front as well, we were one of the first banks to go live on Bharat Bill Pay Service (BBPS), IMPS, UPI2.0. IndusInd bank has been ranked second by Meity in a scorecard published on UPI adoption by Indian Banks.

Digitisation of the backend – Which processes the customer requests is also getting digitised. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is being used. Bulk uploads like salary, reconciliation, suspicious report on AML have been RPA enabled. Its still in a nascent stage but results have been encouraging.

Digital transformation requires the current talent pool to upskill and also hiring talent with niche skillsets. What steps will you take in this regard?
We have a very strong idea generating forum for functions across organisations.

We work with fintechs and my vision is to create a co-creation model, where the fintechs develop solutions in partnership with the bank’s inhouse team. This will empower our teams to be as familiar with the technology as the fintech is. For example, we have taken a platform (including databases) from Redhat on Opensource stack. We are trying to develop certain programs on opensource wherein members from the inhouse team undergo training and co-develop. Good results have come out of this arrangement.

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