Rajeev Tomar: A Hands - Ontech - Leader Passionate About Creating Compelling Digital Experiences | CEOInsights Vendor
Rajeev Tomar: A Hands - Ontech - Leader Passionate About Creating Compelling Digital Experiences

Rajeev Tomar: A Hands - Ontech - Leader Passionate About Creating Compelling Digital Experiences

  Rajeev Tomar ,      CTO

Rajeev Tomar


When the Indian economy was all set for its integration into the global economy in the early 90s, the Planning Commission of India foresaw Tourism Industry's potential in the country.Tourism Finance Corporation of India Ltd. (TFCI) came into existence in 1989 as a crux of this foresight. Over the past three decades, TFCI has been a catalyst in developing hospitality infrastructure in the country by assisting major domestic as well as international hospitality brands like ITC, Leela, Taj, Lalit, Lemon Tree, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Radisson, Holiday Inn, and Ramada, among others. Rajeev Tomar, CTO, TFCI, is piloting a mission to take the well-established legacy organization to new horizons and steering its diversification and growth in the digital to become a futureready young, and vibrant brand.

A hands-on technology leader with more than two decades of professional experience, Rajeev is best known for his keen focus on ground-up innovation and last mile execution. Besides exceptional leadership skills, his expertise includes software platform development, very large infrastructure design & management, optimization of Public Cloud, Private Cloud & Inhouse Data Center, Cloud Security & Compliance, Digital Customer Acquisition, and Technology Budget management; not to mention his unique knack for perfectly aligning technology strategies in line with business strategies. Rajeev boasts an envious track record, having defined, and executed technology transformations for elite organizations, leading to profit and loss (P&L) optimization and often rest. Thanks to his excellent foresight to look beyond the immediate and passion for creating compelling digital experiences by understanding the business requirements, identifying solutions to resolve friction, and constantly innovating and executing strategies to deliver a seamless experience. I recently got in touch with him, and he was happy to engage in an exclusive interview with us. Below is an excerpt from the interview.

What Inspired You To Venture Into The Finance Sector And What Drives You Today?
I always ensure, Tech I am creating must be meaningful for users. In recent years, tech developers have introduced plenty of tools and products that make our professional and personal lives more manageable. But this only happens when technology focuses on the real needs of end-users. A new tech product may excite us, but all that's for nothing if the target users don't find it meaningful. My driving factors are: solving reallife problems with the help of technology the success of my future proof delivered projects; the achievement of cost-effectiveness in the overall technology budget in line with the income statement's bottom line; and lastmile execution.

How Are You Leveraging Your Expertise To Help Tourism Finance Corporation Of India Succeed In The Long Run? Tell Us About Your Latest Endeavors.
In 2020 I joined TFCI as Chief Technologist, a hands-on technologist focusing on grounds-up innovation with lastmile execution. Owing to my experience of defining and executing technology transformation plans leading to P&L reset and optimization, I engaged myself in the Re-engineering of engineering systems at TFCI. I built an in house state-of-the-art data center with vertical & horizontal scalable architecture, zero single point of failure, and a 100 percent uptime guarantee for the next seven years. I spearheaded the migration of legacy applications & systems and deployed a hybrid Infra strategy. Here,we developed a mix of In-house datacenter, SaaS & PaaS for the digital transformation of process and implementation of a single integrated solution for Loan management (LMS), General Financial Accounting (GFA), Asset Liability Management (ALM), Treasury, Regulatory reporting, thirdparty API's & AI-driven document management system (DMS). Along with BPM2 complaint workflow tool.

How Would You Define TFCI As An Organization And Its Position In The Market?
The Tourism Finance Corporation of India Ltd. was established in 1989 upon the recommendations of the National Committee of Tourism under the aegis of the Planning Commission. TFCI has acted as a catalyst in developing infrastructure in the hospitality segment and is the only institution in the country funding tourism projects in over three decades of its existence. TFCI was instrumental in creating manyfirsts (including Indian Railways' Palace on Wheels, Essel world, spa/wellness resort Ananda in the Himalayas, etc.) in the hospitality sector. So far, TFCI has
facilitated the creation and addition of 51, 516 hotel rooms in the country, representing almost equal to 30 percent of the room capacity. The data shared in this annual report indicates that TFCI has aided in offering direct employment to about 95,733 persons by lending its financial assistance. For Businesses across various sectors, especially with the recent partial lock downs It’s undoubtedly been a challenging year.

To maintain a competitive edge, traditional banks and financial institutions must learn from fintechs, which owe their success to providing a simplified and intuitive customer experience with the help of technology

The tourism and hospitality business was also hit adversely due to this. However, despite the challenges, we demonstrated resilient performance during the previous Financial Year. TFCI was able to show a growth in AUM, stable earnings, and asset quality, primarily on account of its prudent selection of assets, stringent monitoring and recovery mechanisms, and appropriate structuring.

How has your response been to the challenges posed by the covid-affected market and the need for new strategies? How would you describe your role in tackling those challenges?
Tourism is the most impacted area due to COVID, and the main area of business for TFCI is Financing tourism projects. With a technology first approach & helping our borrowers for eligible Government schemes like ECLGS etc. and diversifying our loan portfolio, we are able to maintain profitability. The impact across all industries, countries, and demographics due to social distancing and a no-touch environment on customer behavior has been widespread and immediate as a result priorities have been shifted to health and safety first which have changed decision-making andbuying behavior and expectations have been heightened. Now, what was previously considered a great customer experience has no longer been good enough. Almost all businesses including ours have been quickly reorganized approach towards customers because they are the lifeblood of every institution, and the money they spend is the oxygen that enables the business to exist, grow and thrive. Companies that were able to maintain the digital process to transact and interact with their customers rank higher than those that did not.

The main pillars of enhancing the customer experience with the help of technology are Integrity & Empathy, Personalization, and Time & Effort. Integrity & Empathy implies the focus on resolution and proactively addressing customer problems with the help of data science &Artificial intelligence (AI). Personalization is the strongest pillar of customer experience. It would help if you found the right balance between expectations and providing a personal experience, and giving attention with the help of Data Science & Artificial intelligence(AI). With the help of the latest technologies, you also need to minimize delays and customer effort, create frictionless interactions, and then deliver a personalized experience with empathy and compassion. COVID-19 has amplified the need for easy access to products and services, convenience, and relevant information. Doorstep services/ home delivery has become a way of life.

how do you maintain the perfect balance between your personal and professional life? What is your success mantra?
I continuously invest in my second command line at my workplace. I follow a democratic & coach style leadership model. For me, work is always on top of my priority list, but at the same time, my health & family is also equally important. I understand situations are always there, and exigency can happen once in a while but not become a part of the routine. There is a thin line between exigency and exigency becoming normal. I always start my day early & follow the planned schedules during the week. While early morning/late evenings are dedicated to selflearning, my weekends are devoted to family & health.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate, and what opportunities do you foresee? What are your future goals?
Increasing Competition:The menace posed by FinTechs, which typically target some of the most profitable areas in financial services, is significant. To maintain a competitive edge, banks and financial institutions must learn from FinTechs, which incur their success to providing a simplified and better customer experience with the help of technology.

Cultural Shift:Technology has become ingrained in our culture and this extends to the BFSI sector. There's no room for manual processes in the digital world. Institutions need to think of technology based resolutions to BFSI industry challenges. Therefore it's important that institutions encourage a culture of innovation in
which technology is leveraged to optimize existing processes and procedures for maximum cost effectiveness. This cultural shift toward a digitization first attitude is reflective of the larger industry wide acceptance of digital process transformation.

Regulatory Compliance:The growing number of regulations that the BFSI industry must comply with Compliance can significantly strain resources and often depends on the ability to correlate data from disparate sources. In creating this culture of Compliance, Technology is a critical component as it provides insightful reporting, performs indepth data analysis, collects and mines data, and this especially valuable for identifying and minimizing compliance risk.

Changing Business Models:The cost associated with all compliance management is just one of many BFSI industry challenges forcing institutions to change how they do business. The increasing cost of capital combined with decreasing return on equity puts pressure on traditional sources of profitability. There is no option to fail in adapting the changing demand; therefore, institutions must be ready with agility and be prepared to pivot when necessary.

Rising Expectations:Consumers now a days are expects a high degree of personalization and convenience in their experience while intracting in any mode as they are more smarter, savvier, and informed than ever before. With each new generation of customers; comes a more innate understanding of technology and, as a result, an increased expectation of digitized experiences. This presents a unique challenge: How can institutions satisfy older and younger generations of customers simultaneously? The answer is a hybrid model that integrates digital experiences into traditional ones.

Customer Retention:customers expect personalized and meaningful experiences through simple and intuitive interfaces on any device, anywhere, and anytime. Financial institutions can optimize interactions that increase customer satisfaction and wallet share and a subsequent decrease in customer churn. Insitiutions needs to know their customer and engaging with them accordingly.

Outdated Mobile Experiences: Organizations are having a mobile strategy doesn't mean it's being leveraged as effectively as possible. Most institutions have their own branded mobile application these days. However, an institution's mobile experience needs to be fast, easy to use, fully featured (voice enabled digital assistance, live chat, and the like), secure, and regularly updated in order to keep customers satisfied.

Security Breaches:Security is one of the leading industry challenges , as well as a major concern for Financial institutions and customers. Institutions must invest in the latest technology-driven (AI, BlockChain etc.) security measures to keep customers'sensitive data safe.

My Future goals are to continue innovation by deploying technology around hyper personalization with the help of hyper automation, Blockchain, AI, RPA & Data Science, and defending against cyber threats.

What advice would you give to the budding leaders in the domain?
Technology is a must-know subject for entrepreneurs, or at least someone in their founder team must understand the same. The sky's the limit for tech budgets, and we all need to remember that 'one size does not fit all.'While deploying or developing something, the same should be platform-agnostic, future proof by design & timeless. Follow Agile & DevOps as a culture, not limiting the same to the technology department only. Finally it's not the functionality you deliver or solve a problem statement, but the quality attributes that decide the success or failure. Otherwise, any monolith blob having all the functionality will be a helpful solution.

Rajeev Tomar, CTO, Tourism Finance Corporation of India Ltd
Rajeev is an engineer with almost 20 years of experience in the financial sector and has decorated several senior level positions across the industry. At TFCI, he oversees all digital transformation functions, research and development, digital sales, engineering IT Strategy, digital marketing, and Information Technology.

Hobbies:Running, Yoga, Meditation, Reading & Badminton
Favorite cuisines:Strictly Vegetarian North Indian, South Indian, and Continental
Favorite Book:How to Train your mind, Atomic Habit, The Future Is Faster Than You Think and The Wealth of Nations
Favorite Travel Destination: Maldives, Jaisalmer, Dubai, and Australia

Awards & Recognition:
Asia's 100 Power Leaders 2022 by White page International

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