Chennai (India), Nov 25, 2014:

Arun Jain

Banks are now changing their services from being transactional to relationship based in order to provide enhanced customer experience. As relationships become more personalized, Paramdeep Singh, Executive VP & Business Head, Core Banking, Lending and Channels Polaris Financial Technology explains how banks are investing in digital branches that so that customers enjoy their visit to the branches and in turn helps banks to have effective conversations, build relationships and to provide better and tailored services to customers.

What are the challenges faced by banks with the emergence of internet, smart phones, tablets, and social media?

With the proliferation of other channels such as mobile and online banking the branch visits have reduced however branches are more relevant now than before and will continue to be one of the main channels for customer interactions. It's observed that customers prefer to walk into the branches for complex transactions and prefer other channels for simple transactions. The current challenge for the banks is to become the "Principal banker" which will enable customer retention and also improve the customer acquisition. The banks are looking for an "OMNI Channel" solution which promises an uniform customer experience across different channels and want to move away from "Multichannel" environment. In addition to better experience omni channel is also cost effective.

Customers needs are increasing day by day and its imperative that banks meet these needs in order for their customers to continue in these banks. Therefore banks have started investing heavily on future proof solutions for the different channels. Investments are made in branches to provide a different outlook by digitization so that customers enjoy their visit to the branches and this in turn enables the bank to have effective conversations, build relationships and to provide better and tailored services. It's also evident that banks have started investing in revamping the internet banking and mobile banking channels so as to provide their customers a better banking experience.

What is the current banking technology scenario in India?

In recent times, the Indian banking system has incorporated various major financial innovations such as ECS, NEFT, RTGS, implementation of standing instructions, Internet banking and mobile banking. These changes have been brought about thanks to globalization of financial systems, deregulation and advancements in technologies. With some of the fundamental processes in place, banks are now looking to leverage technologies in newer ways to acquire, engage and retain customers by offering differentiated experiences, wider range of access points while remaining customer centric. Banks are looking to adopt SMAC (Social media Mobility Analytics & Cloud) as a way of acquiring a 360 view of their customer. Social media is also proving to be an attractive channel to engage customers, as some banks have Facebook apps through which they allow their customers to carry out banking transactions. Another fast-growing space lies in that of banks moving their standard transactions(like Account Opening) onto devices such as tablets, kiosks, thereby freeing their staff members from the usual confines of a desk. ICICI Bank, Union Bank and State Bank of India are names that spring to mind when it comes to tablet-banking. In order to bring down application hosting costs, banks (especially small and medium size) are leveraging cloud models to consume the entire Core Banking platform as a service. More than 85% percent of the banks in India today offer mobile banking with this channel emerging as a preferred means of communicating products, services and offers to customers.

Banks are adopting omnichannel platform to provide unified experience across different channels such as branch,mobile and internet, reduce operating cost, reduce maintenance cost and improve the bank's profitability.

Do you think Indian banks are ready to face the changing trends in BFSI sector?

Yes, Indian banks are ready for transformation and many banks have already traversed the transformation path and started investing in different channels such as branches, mobile and internet. The main transformation drivers to face the changing trends are Generation Y needs who are looking for newer banking experience with the latest digital technologies. Banks are also looking to drive operational efficiency, improving cost effectiveness, improving sales effective and adaptive to future needs. The banks need an omnichannel solution where a single solution caters to the needs of different channels such as Branch, Mobile, internet. If all the banking functions were available as apps then it provides an altogether different experience for the bank and the bank's customers and also ensures the reduction in the operating and maintenance costs. The channel operating model must provide high flexibility to business as well as the technology solution.

What are the significant technological changes adopted by the banks to build their customer relationship?

Banks are moving from traditional banking methods to digital access. Today, customers are increasingly time deficient and are constantly looking for fast and convenient ways to engage with their bank. Customers are increasingly relying on their bank to proactively uncover their financial needs and deliver the appropriate products/solutions in a quick and efficient manner. It is vital for Banks to engage these new age customers through easy, seamless channel experience to simplify the day-to-day banking experience and become the principal banker of the customer. From that perspective, our Intellect Digital Branch is a unique solution that can enable such digital transition for a bank with its comprehensive suite of apps. In fact, just 30 key apps of the Digital Branch solution are sufficient to fully support any profitable retail branch for the bank in growing and building the client relationships.

How does Intellect Digital branch solution help the banks boost customer satisfaction?

Intellect Digital branch is an integrated Sales, Services and Teller platform and is powered by features such as a complete view of the entire relationship and with consistent look & feel across channels. The solution enables a single user to play multiple roles in a branch which is what the "Universal Banker" concept. It is an integrated Sales, Services and Teller platform and is powered by features such as 360 degree view of entire relationship and with consistent look & feel across channels, Digital Branch allows banks to capture the most out of every customer interaction through any touch-point and engage customers constantly to become the primary bank of choice, resulting in higher revenues and enhanced customer satisfaction. The solution supports different branch models such as One man branch, flagship stores,pop up branches or a full fledged bank. Universal Banker improves the productivity of the user since it acts as a common front end for different applications in the bank and thus the user will not have to spend time logging into different applications. This saves the user's time.

What kind of growth do you foresee in the market for App based integration?

Across the globe there is a real need for the banks to modernize their branches in order to increase the footfalls and retain the existing customers by providing differentiated services. The need of the hour is "Customer Centric" Solution. Today, banks are apprehensive to replace their legacy systems because it could be a long drawn process, an expensive implementation,is risky etc and are looking for solutions with better customer experience without the need for rip and replacement. Our Intellect Digital Branch and Retail Business Exchange (Intellect RBX) are some of the solutions with the capability to sit on the existing systems of the bank. This ensures that there is a quick go to market,better customer experience, improves revenues and reduces operational costs and ensures higher return on investments.

For Media related info, please contact:
Nachu Nagappan
Polaris Financial Technology Ltd
Mob: +91 89396 19676
Email: nachu.nagappan@polarisft.com