Indian Financial Technology Industry Knows No Limits
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Indian Financial Technology Industry Knows No Limits

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Anurag Mantri, Executive Director, COO and CFO,  Nucleus Software ExportsThe digital transformation space is entering its fine-tuning phase. India is emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the segment. The innovative transformation opportunities are enormous, and so are the challenges. Given the serious lack of room for a go-around, there is an increasing need to invest right in digital transformation, meet employee expectations, and cyber security. These combine to make life extremely challenging for technology organizations. Deciphering the challenges and opportunities in the Indian Fintech industry is Anurag Mantri, Board Member & Global Business Head—Services, Nucleus Software—one of the leading global Indian IT companies in the banking and financial services space. Having kick-started his career with Nucleus Software in 1994, he now leads the company’s services business. In addition to providing executive oversight to Customer Engagements and expanding Nucleus’ footprint to cover new geographies, he is responsible for the overall strategy of the Services Business Unit, where he keeps a razor-sharp focus on shaping and future-proofing the company’s Digital Transformation Services.

In conversation with Anurag Mantri, Executive Director, COO and CFO, Nucleus Software Exports

According to reports, the Indian software services export market size is expected to reach $189.19 billion by 2029. As a person with first-hand experience in the market, how do you perceive the future of the industry and market?

The reality of the industry is as bright as these predictions. The anticipated expansion of the Indian software services export industry, poised to reach more than $180 billion by 2029, is underpinned by multifaceted factors shaping the global and Indian IT landscapes. The global emphasis on ever-growing digital transformation will be pivotal to this growth trajectory. If the digital transformation was confined within the walls of banking and some select industries earlier, today, all industries worldwide are steering towards digitalization. India's progress in delivering innovative digital transformation solutions positions the country at the heart of this global paradigm shift. As the trend of outsourcing continues to drive growth, businesses across the globe benefit greatly from the highly innovative yet cost-effective Indian IT services. We give them access to specialized skills and expertise built on decades of domain expertise. Adjacently, the sector's resilience and adaptability have helped accelerate digital initiatives globally—further amplifying the demand for Indian software services. In truth, it is not just about IT services; India has developed world-class products, too. We continue to witness global appreciation and demand for products developed in India. The growing rise and acceptance of Indian IT products clearly reflects 'Make-in-India' demand worldwide. I also believe the confluence of technologies, including data sciences, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and cloud services, will contribute significantly to this expansion.

At Nucleus Software, we have built 10,000+ years of BFSI domain expertise with an in-depth understanding of customer needs across the globe


However, the surge in demand triggers a need for a skilled talent force. Positioning India as a hub for technology expertise, wherein continuous innovation becomes a focal point, also means that our country is evolving into a dynamic, agile, and vibrant hub for research and development. The global recognition of the industry is solidifying India's position as a proven leader in providing world-class, cutting-edge IT solutions. I believe the Indian IT innovation and delivery centers have no limits. They can take the numbers beyond the industry & market predictions that we have been talking about.

At Nucleus Software, we have built 10,000+ years of BFSI domain expertise with an in-depth understanding of customer needs across the globe. We are a proven, trusted partner for 200+ financial institutions in more than 50 countries. The market need for new-gen services received at our end actually proves that the Indian IT services industry is capable of delivering innovative and cutting-edge solutions to global companies.

As an expert in the Fintech industry, how does Nucleus Software perceive and address this change?

As we discuss the growth numbers, we reflect on the interplay between growth certainty and market volatility, which are expected to go together. At Nucleus, we embrace these dynamics with a unique mix of humility, optimism, and innovation. We recognize the need for an adaptable strategy in the ever-changing market and envision a business landscape marked by continuous transformation. We also acknowledge the challenges posed by the technology shift and global events and see them as a great opportunity for continuous innovation. We are committed to navigating these changes with resilience, using our expertise developed over decades to proactively address the challenges and stay ahead of the industry's emerging needs and trends. As a thought leader, we have to preempt how the industry navigates and stay ahead of the game. We have built our digital lending and transaction banking platforms to be Robust, agile, future-ready, and adaptable to customer expectations and regulatory compliances in each geography. We are aligned with the latest trends in rec tech, which combines regulatory and technology aspects in our products. 

We anticipate a sustained focus on digital transformation for years to come, and we aim to lead this evolution with our unique blend of domain expertise and new-age technologies. We also value our people as our biggest assets and foster a culture of continuous learning, innovation, result orientation, and collaboration. We have a diverse and inclusive workforce, with most associates staying with us for over two decades. 

One of our unique initiatives, the Nucleus School of Banking Technology, creates domain expertise, customer centricity, and related technical prowess of our associates. In summary, we acknowledge market volatility but are optimistic that we can successfully overcome the challenges and changes, as we have been doing for the last three and a half decades. We embrace change, we stay agile, and we foster innovation to navigate the delicate balance between growth certainty and market volatility.

How do you look at the battle of legacy versus new-age? How does Nucleus approach this challenge?

Our approach is to go for merit-based enablement, which means selecting optimum technologies for strategic and future-ready objectives. We acknowledge the transformative potential of new technologies, which can offer huge capabilities for driving growth opportunities. However, embracing new technologies also requires carefully evaluating our clients' strategic initiatives, internal infrastructure, processes, and readiness to change. Sometimes, this aspect is overlooked. Therefore, we strive to achieve a thoughtful balance between preserving the strength of legacy while incorporating innovative solutions to meet organizational growth objectives. I believe that the answer lies in the fine balancing and synergizing of these two aspects.

At Nucleus Software, we do not see new technologies as a replacement or a challenge for the older ones but as a catalyst for transformation and growth. We have integrated AI, data analytics, cloud services, and machine learning into our platforms, and in some use cases where it made sense, we have also maintained compatibility with the legacy systems of our customers and partners as we are cognizant of the strategic investments and continuous integration needed. The key is in balance, and a strategically balanced approach allows us to leverage the best of both worlds and provide the best possible returns and enablement for our customers.

Tell us about your leadership style.

My leadership style is based on humility, empathy, result orientation, and collaboration. I believe that a leader should listen actively, respect diverse perspectives, and empower each team member to achieve their potential. I also think a leader should be adaptable and responsive to different generations' changing needs and priorities. I value diversity and create a culture where people can complement each other and work as one team. I communicate effectively and ensure clarity and alignment across different age groups while emphasizing mentorship and continuous learning. I encourage an atmosphere where knowledge and experience are shared seamlessly, leveraging emotional intelligence to understand and appreciate the different motivations, factors, and styles of a multigenerational team. My leadership philosophy is building a united, high-performing, self-motivated team. I inspire and guide them, cultivate an environment of mutual respect, and help them harness their full potential. I support them to become the best version of themselves. That is my leadership style and what I strive for.

As a highly experienced leader in the industry, what advice would you like to give the upcoming leaders?

First, cultivate a genuine and sustained passion for learning, as the tech landscape is evolving rapidly, and you need to keep yourself updated and relevant. Second, invest in building strong and meaningful relationships, as success in this industry depends on collaboration, networking, and effective communication. Find mentors, peers, and industry contacts who can inspire and support you. Third, be curious and embrace change and challenges with a positive mindset. Fourth, maintain a strong work ethic, resilience, and integrity. Success requires dedication, hard work, and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. But having a strong work ethic, resilience, and integrity will help you in ways you cannot imagine. 

 

Hobbies: “Some of my hobbies are writing poems, reading books, and traveling with my family. I also enable the underprivileged to become self-reliant. These are the things I enjoy and value.”

 Favorite Books: “Some of my favorite books are “Srimad Bhagavad Gita,” which teaches spirituality and ethics, “Vidur Niti,” which throws light on varied leadership qualities, “Ghalib Nama,” which is a collection of Urdu poems, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” a self-help book, and “What Got You Here Won't Get You There,” a leadership book that I recommend all to read. These books have influenced me a lot.”

 Favorite Travel Destinations: Bali and Germany

 Favorite Cuisines: Indian and Mexican

Favorite Movies: 12 Angry Men, Saaransh (1984), Aandhi (1975), and Koshish (1972)