Indian Banks Need To Learn And Adapt What Big Tech Teaches

Indian Banks Need To Learn And Adapt What Big Tech Teaches

Harish Prasad, Head of Banking - India, FIS, 0

A veteran of the Banking technology industry in India, Harish is actively involved with Financial Institutions across the region on adopting innovative new capabilities.

While Banks in India have relatively newer technology bases compared to their peers in the western world, their technology and application ecosystems have evolved into complex, fragmented, difficult-to-maintain architectures over the last 10 years or so, through constant feature-function enhancements patched in over time (Band-aid syndrome, so to say). A typical bank could easily have in excess of 200 applications most of them running on diverse and fragmented technology infrastructures and inter-connected by bespoke plumbing, and the complexity of managing these increases by the day.

With complexity comes the ‘technology paunch’, and the inertia that makes it difficult to change and adapt to new needs. Changes are expensive, time-consuming, fault-prone and feared, and the baggage of these fragmented architectures can make it difficult for banks to compete with nimble-footed big-tech players who are thinking on their feet and able to have technology keep pace with their ideas.

It is essential that banks pause and decompose these fragmented, diversely different bunch of applications, especially their Core, Digital and Payments technologies, into a componentized, micro-services architecture deployed on a homogenous modern technology platform. Simplification and componentization are at the heart of becoming as nimble as the Big-techs, and if not now, it is very much possible that it could be never.

There is undeniable evidence globally that Cloud technology Infrastructures provide an alternate platform that can drive huge efficiencies and agility and banks have been taking note and charting out roadmaps to move workloads into these Cloud platforms. Technology evolution is largely driven by the Cloud, as we speak, and aligning to this future is an imperative for banks as well.

Banks Coping with the New Digital World
A key element of the digital world is the speed of customer experience improvement and change. It is no longer an option for banks to rest on their laurels and
work to a plan of widely-spaced experience enhancements, whose introduction is often accompanied by outages and disruptions. Big-tech has shown established incumbents that improvements can be quick, seamless, predictable and continuous, and that is a key tenet of competing in a digital world. DevOps tools and processes have become the go-to model for incumbents based on the success of Big-techs who have adopted this into a competitive differentiator supporting their modern technology architectures.

Banks also need to invest in technologies that can make their customer facing applications amenable to continuous, transparent-to-user improvements, and allow for new experiences to be threaded together via APIs enabling hook-up into services outside the boundaries of the bank’s environment. Technologies that seamlessly drive roll out of new capabilities across device form-factors, while allowing back-end capabilities to improve independently at their own pace is the best way to go, and these are what we call as two-speed architectures.

There have been many larger banks who have realized the importance of having such a technology base and have been investing in creating such digital platforms

In recent years, banks have been looking to unify their digital footprint and move to technologies that allow them to compose uniform and transportable experiences across every channel of customer interaction, be it self-service or assisted. There have been many larger banks who have realized the importance of having such a technology base and have been investing in creating such Digital platforms.

Strategies for Banking Transformation
In summary, banks should focus on decomposing their monolithic Core systems that have evolved into extreme complexity, into modern componentized, micro-services-based designs. Complementing this is a need for an omni-channel digital platform resting on top of capable API infrastructure that allows banks to innovate internally and collaborate externally. These, along with a move to continuous change processes and aggressive Cloud adoption, form a solid base for banks to react to the change all around them, and to increasingly lead the change which has evidently become a constant.

Much of Big-tech’s success have been based on their nimble technology, which has allowed them to drive innovation and collaboration which are at the heart of their value proposition, and it is very much worth the investment of time, effort and expense for banks to become a hare rather that stay a tortoise.