January 2014

Improved banking through technology

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Arindam Mukherjee,  Manager for Regional Sales (BFSI) Cisco India and SAARC

“Banks must invest in advanced contact centers that employ video, SMS and other mobile based solutions to offer services,” says Arindam Mukherjee. In conversation with Ankush Kumar

What has been CISCO’s role in the BFSI sector?

Cisco has been the preferred technology vendor for most public and private sector banks in India. Cisco works with multiple banks in the country and has deployed core banking solutions for them. Cisco powered mission critical data center networks are the base for nine out of ten financial transactions. Apart from the banking segment, Cisco also works with almost all the major insurance companies and the top three stock exchanges in India. Cisco’s solutions are designed to help customers across financial services including banks, insurance companies, brokerage and buy and sell side firms.

Please tell us about some of the technology solutions that you are providing in the BFSI segment?

Cisco has a high-performance trading solution portfolio which is crucial for financial exchanges. It enables low-latency, high-speed automated trading, as well as the next-generation human trader platform. As the number of digitally inclined consumers and employees increases, retail banks are now relooking their approach towards adoption of social media. There are discussions and deployments within the firewall to proactively collaborate and increase efficiency of processes within the organization. We envisage growing demand for contact center. For instance, a private sector bank normally employs 5000 contact center agents for 2000 branches whereas if the largest of public sector banks with almost 12000 branches would employ only 500 agents. It is imperative to understand that customers are increasingly demanding the use of various channels like video, mobile, internet and other alternative ways to access financial services. Therefore, banks must invest in advanced contact centers that employ video, SMS, mobile based solutions.

Which critical business areas in the financial services sector are undergoing transformation because of technological advancements?

Cisco believes that financial inclusion will become the top priority for most banking institutions. The primary aim of the government commitments to financial inclusion is to get the unbanked into banking domain and this bodes well for the segment. The first phase of financial inclusion has happened in an unorganized manner. The traditional manner in which certain banks have invested resources to deploy the business correspondent model has not worked very efficiently. Most of the banking correspondents are locals who are well aware of the environment. So they visit the branch location at certain time and collect the cash. One critical hurdle for this model is most of these unbanked customers are illiterate and don’t know how to sign, so they would need to be identified biometrically.

Who all are your prime customers in the BFSI segment?

Cisco works with most major private and public sector banks, stock exchanges and Insurance companies. Some of our most notable customers have been State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, National Stock exchange, Bombay stock exchange, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank etc. As the preferred technology solutions vendor for the segment, we are able to make a meaningful contribution to the bottom lines of these large organizations and impacts their decision making process by connecting at a very senior level.

What are the key benefits of Interactive Kiosk?

Self-serve kiosk changes the way the BFSI segment interfaces with the customers. Things that once were carried out via face-to-face at the physical branch can now be conducted via faceto- interface interactions. The primary function for this human-machine interface is to enable a self-service interaction model so that users can avail financial services with unmanned operation. Benefits for users include round-the clock service, convenience of use and privacy of transaction. For retailers or merchants, the interactive kiosk is considered to be the most cost effective way for creating a branded storefront or automated store. Typically 80 percent of most people visiting the physical branch are there to just update their passbooks or to get a statement, so if banks can take care of this 80 percent non-priority requests by shifting it to an automated system, they can substantially reduce the average wait time for a queue, therefore enhancing customers experience.

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