We spoke to Murari Sridharan, Chief Technology officer, Bankbazaar.com about the countless technology and business impediments in the Indian fintech and banking sector and how an effectual mobile revolution and digital technology can help alleviate these hurdles.
Business and Technology Challenges
“Issues like cybercrime and security continue to remain core concerns for the Indian finte
ch sector,” said Murari Sridharan, Chief Technology officer, Bankbazaar.com. Cyber security of all assets – IT servers, PoS, ATMs, card security – is a big challenge as newer threats are constantly emerging.
The pace at which technology is developing is itself another problem. Rapid changes in technology every year makes it difficult for banks to keep pace with the changes, and so they are no longer the innovators or first movers when it comes to technology-based innovations, be they are wallets, P2P lending, paperless procedures, or robo-advisory services.
However, it is not only implementing technology itself per se but the utilization of technology as well that poses problems. Embracing digital requires a culture and a mindset change. Technology is not about having the fastest processors or the biggest infrastructure. “What is more important is to build a modular scalable infrastructure that can keep up with the evolving technology and handle increasing volumes,” added Sridharan. This needs to be supported by in-depth analytics derived from digital footprints of the customer. All these need to be tied together by strong process innovation for an entirely paperless, presence-less vision, which is the need of the hour.
Embracing digital isn’t about putting out a mobile app. That is merely a start. For a truly digital process, the whole experience needs to be seamless and end-to-end so that it can remove hassles for the customer and make their journey frictionless. Technology by itself isn’t a competitive advantage; it is what companies do with it, how they develop a unique, personalized experience for the customer that will be the key differentiator.
Role of Bankbaazar
BankBazaar is uniquely poised to help as it is a technology leader that has been pioneering paperless, presence-less vision for financial products. BankBazaar also built up a scalable and secure infrastructure that can adapt to changing customer demands as well as evolving technology needs. “By tying the two together, BankBazaar has a tried to gain a deeper understanding the customer. As a result, it helped to provide personalized service to every customer instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Sridharan.
Mobile Revolution in the Fintech Sector
Mobile technology is a way for financial inclusion. While banks have struggled, mostly with costs, to get more people to be part of the banking industry, mobile suddenly provides a ubiquitous, cost-effective way to reach the customer. Mobile revolution combined with payment revolution and initiatives like India Stack are democratizing finance to a point where a bulk of the technical challenges is solved outside of the banking industry. As said earlier, the technology itself won’t be the competitive advantage; it is about what these companies do to build on top.
Latest Technologies Driving the Fintech Space
“One thing that is happening already and is expected to gain further momentum in the coming days is instant, presence-less, paperless, cashless delivery of financial products using digital and paperless techniques,” remarked Sridharan. Mobile, of course, is one of the prime drivers. Coupled with hardware for biometrics and cashless payments using UPI, it is providing a strong case for even the most conservative banks to embrace presence-less banking.
Non-traditional banking, driven primarily by wallet and payment solutions is moving away from traditional ways to check credit worthiness for lending. Predictably, data will also be a big game changer. Use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will take physical, people-facing advising to online, robo-advisory based on data in a bigger way. These are making managing and investing money way simpler.
Blockchain is not just transforming banking but everything on the Internet! It provides a secure tool that makes it easy to do cost-effective and de-centralized transaction management. For banking and financial companies this means safer, faster, and cheaper transactions at scale and for the customer much lower fees. “We foresee use of block chain technologies for specific use cases within banking industry,” added Sridharan.
Banks will go from physical, paper-based procedures to online, digital, paperless procedures to increase customer convenience, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Banks will start using more data and better data mining for better services to customers, reduce NPAs, and to reach vast set of people who do not have previous financial history.
“Banks will adopt new technologies like Aadhaar online authentication and India stack services like eSign to reduce service delivery times from many days/weeks to instant service,” Sridharan Concluded.