At Infosys Cards and Payments, we help our clients harness the power of technology-led innovation across the entire payments ecosystem encompassing payment networks, merchant services, stored value, FI payment services, and payment aggregators. Our thought leadership and a design thinking approach helps us co-create solutions with our clients to address their business problems.

December 12, 2018

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Payments - Creating visibility by making itself invisible

Payments is a unique touch-point which is used by all industries for value exchange. Previously seen as a mere back-office operation and a cost-center necessary to run the business, payments industry has now rightfully gained corner office attention to become the strategic differentiator in winning customer mind-share and business growth. And the funny part is that the payments industry is creating this unique visibility by making itself invisible.

Payments used to be a slow, costly, painfully data-entry driven (and error-prone) activity for businesses-delaying critical business transactions even days/weeks and reducing profitability. For Banks & Payments Service Providers it meant taking huge risks around Security, Fraud, Compliance and keeping a huge army of operators to fix and monitor transactions. With the advancement of Digital Technologies, Data Sciences and Automation, Payments is increasingly becoming faster, cheaper, secure and intuitive - in short 'invisible' for the users. Today as we don't remember - we google it, similarly we don't pay - we venmo it!

Explainable Insight at Scale

Payments Transactions with additional remittance information are like Pandora's box - we can identify who paid, how much, when and why. With increase in Digital Payments Volume, convergence of online and offline commerce and availability of technologies like Explainable Artificial Intelligence (Explainable AI) machine can now not only identify a profitable customer or a potential fraud transaction but also explain like a human why it thinks so. This kind of white-box thinking and continuous machine learning help hyper-targeting increasing the system efficiency which was unimaginable even few years back.

Evergreening Payments Infrastructure to address ever-changing business needs and remove constraints of growth

Payments companies are learning from the pain of maintaining legacy platforms and adopting a new Evergreening strategy - they are constantly upgrading and iterating their IT infrastructure so that they never go out of date to become a legacy problem. Also they are opening up their infrastructure through Open APIs for external consumption and monetization. Futuristic Payments companies also started to appreciate the value of partnerships with Fintechs to meet ever-changing customer needs.

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Digital transformation is beyond technology adoption and needs an organizational culture change. This needs an iterative learning approach at scale starting with early adoption in few value streams and then extending it over the enterprise and beyond. We help you navigate this massive exercise by bring you:

a.       AI Powered Core to Deliver Insights   

Use AI to Automate and augment business process- Automation and customer self-service to improve straight through processing and reduction in operational costs. We help gather real-time actionable insights to improve operational efficiency, compliance and customer advocacy.

Business Activity Monitoring solutions automate infrastructure management to ensure your critical systems are always up and payments operations are always meeting SLAs. This is extremely critical in faster payments regime for both domestic (e.g. NPP in Australia) and cross-border payments (e.g. SWIFT GPI).

With Open Banking getting huge traction; Cloud, API and Microservices based solutions are becoming mainstream. We help this API economy adoption journey through Payments Analytics and Design of new Overlay services.

Protect customers and business Partners-We help address cyber threats and payments security challenges through real-time active monitoring and an integrated secure infrastructure.

b.      Agile Digital at Scale

Customer expectation, extreme competition and ever-changing regulatory requirements make Payments business extremely agile and complex. We help your Payments organization to address this agility at scale through our consultants who have experience working in similar complex environments and using proven frameworks such as Scaled-agile framework. 

Payments is a network business and hence any new Product need to scale to become successful. For such kind of customer adoption, the truly innovative product must be at least an order of magnitude better than the existing product. Our Product Managers appreciate this fact and benchmark new designs against existing solutions to improve the odds of success - otherwise we recommend pivot to new designs.

We help build scalable global platforms which differentiate our clients from competition. We partner with leading global cloud infrastructure providers (like google and amazon) to bring scale, security and agility to our solutions.

c.      Always-on learning

Drive continuous improvement by transferring digital skills along with ideas from a cross-section of industries and innovation ecosystems.

Strategic Partnerships with leading vendors and industry groups - We help enable growth by accessing the capacity and capabilities of an ecosystem of partners. We work closely with leading vendors (Finastra, Visioplus), industry bodies (SWIFT) and fintechs(Volante).

 

Re-engineer and explore new approaches - We help re-engineer legacy platforms and extend standard capabilities provided by vendors with differentiating ones developed internally with microservices. We help deliver more features faster and build end-to-end journeys.

 

We help organizations co-create and recognize value through design-thinking workshops, experiment with sandbox environments and providing training through our learning solutions.

We find Design Thinking to be a refreshing approach to problem-solving and use the core premises of desirability, feasibility, and viability. Design Thinking spark customer-obsessed innovations thereby solving the initially unrecognized challenges faced by our customers.  Infosys has been working closely from an organizational perspective to incorporate Design Thinking and an innovator's mindset into how our teams collaborate, ideate and prototype more user-centric solutions. E.g. Through empathy sessions, we listen to our clients, end-users, and industry experts and formulate the best responses to the megatrends in the Loyalty and customer experience space.  Following is an outcome from such a Design Thinking session specifically addressing Loyalty Issues faced by customers today.

 

Customer Journey

Customer Persona - Empathize

Addressing Solution -Define and Ideate

Design Considerations - Prototype & Test

Earn

I do not understand the Loyalty Program - too complicated.

The Loyalty Program should be easy to understand and easy to use.

 

Show them Value from the program

 

Explain them the point accumulation and redemption process through interactive statements and communication

 

Provide Chatbot/FAQ/Self-serve channels to clarify doubts around the Loyalty Program

 

It takes too much time to earn meaningful points

Show Contextual Loyalty at the point of Sale- time for immediate gratification

 

Short term Loyalty promotions build long-term loyalty by making customers feel valued and understood frequently and thus maintain & grow a relationship.

Provide them additional benefits for their frequent purchases.

 

Convergence of online and offline commerce - provide deals in stores based on their online searches

 

There are just too many Loyalty Cards in my wallet

 

Why should we use your loyalty program?

Can the various points become interoperable with minimum costs involved in redemption?

 

Can we provide unique value to the customer for program differentiation?

Blockchain or Points Bank based solution with a partner ecosystem

 

Personalized offers - build relationship beyond spend pattern - non-liner loyalty design(Behavioral rewards) for effective engagement

 

Can I get special treatment for my loyalty beyond cashback/points?

Can we offer special pricing for the customer based on the relationship?

 

Can you waive annual fee or provide travel benefits beyond points/cashback offers?

 

 

Gamify the experience with Leader-boards/ Milestones/ Variable tier benefits.

 

Can I get benefits for sharing with my friends in Social Media?

 

Can I get benefits for sharing feedback of my experience?

Offer points for Social media likes or shares

 

Offer special benefits for sharing any constructive positive/negative feedback.

Plan non-linear engagement models

Burn

Can I be reminded to use the points and best offers at the right time?

Can we offer a personal shopping experience for best deals?

Automate the deal-finding algorithm based on various factors and send push notifications/auto-apply best offers

 

 

Do you know me, my interests?

Allow using points in both online and offline stores

 

Understand customer spend pattern and push right offers for redemption at right location at right time

Allow expedited redemption for preferred customer categories

 

Customer segmentation and analytics led campaign management (A/B Testing etc.)

 

Beacon-based notifications

 

Can I redeem my points/cashback seamlessly?

Mobile coupon or better automatic redemption at smart point of sales

 

Promote redemption and avoid making rewards points a balance-sheet liability. Rather engage customers through meaningful redemption options to make the experience meaningful.

Offer Omni channel redemption options

 

Focus on great customer experience, think just beyond points accumulation or burning if you solve some real customer problem (i.e. Starbucks App to order beforehand and avoid queue or Uber VIP Program to arrange cars with privilege)

  

May 14, 2018

Cross-border Payments at cross-roads - how banks and payments companies should respond

With increasing globalization value and volume of cross-border payments are increasing. Digital technologies are changing the customer expectation to a near-real time transaction experience with end-to-end traceability. At the same time operational risks of making a cross-border payment is increasing due to ever-changing regulatory requirements across the globe and criminals finding new ways to use the payment systems to transfer illegal funds. Due to legacy rails, varied global regulations and lack of global standards, cross-border payments are error-prone with low Straight Through Processing(STP) rates making the traditional correspondent banking model slow, costly and unpredictable. It is estimated that banks collectively need to keep trillions of dollars in idle 'Nostro' accounts for handling cross-border payments reducing the overall return on capital. Due to this, many banks are finding it difficult to maintain loss-making correspondent bank relationships in low volume markets and abandoning their service. This is increasing concentration risk and the need of additional routing layers increasing overall cost of payments. Payments Transparency (including Fee Transparency) is another issue of conventional SWIFT payments - as the payments touch many banks and payment rails the remittance information is often modified and multiple fees are deducted reducing the amount reaching beneficiary. 
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Recently both Incumbent Payment players (like SWIFT) and emerging Fintechs (like Ripple) are responding to these challenges and building new solutions to improve the efficiency of cross-border payments. Broadly we can classify these innovations in three categories - 

  1. Incremental Innovation - Incumbent player SWIFT is driving incremental innovation through their Global Payments Innovation (GPI) initiative. We call it Correspondent Banking 2.0 where the basic correspondent banking model remains the same but SWIFT provides additional features like Unique End-to-End Transaction Reference (UETR) for Payments Tracking (through a Cloud based tracker), faster same day use of funds, fee transparency, transfer of rich remittance data, real-time Nostro reconciliation etc. addressing some of the key concerns.
  2. Disruptive Innovation - Challengers like blockchain based solution Ripple is trying to disrupt this space directly competing with SWIFT. They are offering a totally new way of moving funds across the globe through Interledger protocol where pre-transaction validation improves STP rates, settlement occurs in seconds, with lowest fees and best FX rates.
  3. Collaboration-led Innovation - Some of the fintech startups are taking a middle role. They are not building a new rail but filling the gap of exiting inefficiencies in the market. For example, instead of doing FX for individual payments they are consolidating multiple payments for better FX rates (Currencycloud/Transferwise/Earthport), using Swap based models to reduce FX need (Transferwise) or providing payments orchestration solutions (Bankingcircle, Currencycloud etc.).
 
Recommendation for Banks and Payments Organizations:

Cross-border Payments market is huge and Leading Banks can win a significant part of this business even in a very competitive marketplace. Banks need to adapt and adopt right technologies and partnerships to succeed. Here are some key recommendations for banks -

  • Explore the right-fit for customers and follow a portfolio approach in adopting innovations -most banks are experimenting through proof-of-concepts with early adoptions of Incumbent solutions (SWIFT GPI), Challenger solutions(RippleNet) and Collaboration-led models (Currencycloud/EarthPort)
  • Embrace Open-Banking - Build IT infrastructure to partner with Financial utilities through API-Economy, e.g. use CurrencyCloud for Compliance or for live rates, EarthPort for International Low-value, high volume payments
  • Improve Back office systems & processes through Digital Adoption to remain competitive -  invest in SLA management, automation of manual processes through Artificial Intelligence, Optical Character Recognition platforms etc. 
  • Monetize Rich Payments information by providing value-added services in Customer Financial Supply Chain (e.g. reporting and reconciliation services through Virtual Account Management, AR/AP Integration etc.)
  • Take regulatory compliance and payment security with utmost priority to reduce operational risk- banks may selectively consider outsourcing to niche partners to cope up with ever-changing regulatory landscape.   

April 22, 2018

My idea of an ultimate shopping App

Today I will talk about something which we do every day and most of us always feel something is missing - I am talking about shopping!

I see some doubtful faces - shopping is super-easy nowadays-is not it? We can buy stuff with just few touches in our mobile. What else you want?

Let me explain..

If you are like me who wants to ensure we are getting the best deal - shopping is still a complicated affair. Say I am trying to buy a MacBook Pro - as this is a costly purchase I am looking for the best deal - right? Sunday afternoon I search it in various eCommerce websites for the best price; I also look for local shops just to ensure there is no better deal. I see online prices are better - and although one site is showing less price, the other site has a credit card linked offer which makes it the best deal. I start checking out and just when I am going to click 'Buy Now', I see that Monday onward there is some 'Shop Local' offer starting with my AMEX Card. Let's wait - this may be the better deal - I say to myself. Next day I visit the shop and find it really is a better deal - they are even adding some better perks like 'Extended Warranty'. Let's buy it - I even run a check on the eCommerce sites to ensure I am not missing out something. I buy it and return home happily - I am the proud owner of a MacBook Pro..I configure it and to declare this to the world open my Facebook. Before I post it I see a promotional link - 'Best Price for the MacBook you were searching yesterday'. OMG - I realized I just overpaid 10%. I closed my Mac - even Apple could not make me happy!

Next day I open my Facebook again - somehow all these eCommerce sites know that I was trying to buy a Mac or in general a Laptop. They push me promos for Apple, HP, Dell and what not! They don't know that I already purchased a Mac and probably don't need another Laptop for next 5 years. This is truly annoying isn't it? Classic case of failed personalisation! 
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You are probably now appreciating the fact that purchasing is not that easy nowadays. Things have surely improved in last few years- competition and review sites have ensured that you are not insanely charged or sold some crappy product - but the information overload has also made our purchasing process much more complex and frustrating at times. And then so many adds and promotions trying to get our attention- mostly misdirected.

What are the options- what can be done better? Let me consider the consumer perspective first- what I can look for in my ultimate shopping app? 

My Ultimate Shopping App should allow me to enter my wishlist and all my payment methods and then show me the best offer calculating all possibilities. I can personalise it with my preference anytime (say I want to avoid any specific airlines, and the algorithm reflects the results immediately).

What is my wishlist - say I want to travel to Boston from Aug 15-Aug 18 - show me best offers for Air Ticket, Hotel and Local Activity within a specific budget/target price point. 

This information is shared with all the vendors servicing these specific market and they start sending me their best offers through my Ultimate shopping App. This is similar to a website called cruisecompete.com where you specify a specific cruise/room type and then the travel agents send you their best offers-you can then pick the best offer and book your cruise. 
In this App we will have some improvements. The App will not only get the offers from various vendors it will find out the best deal after considering everything possible - for example one vendor gives me a 10% discount for using a AMEX card and another vendor gives me a promotional discount of 15% for using a specific mobile wallet (and with a specific promo code), it will consider any difference in taxes, shipping or any other fees- it will then calculate what is the best price and instantly show it to me. It will consider any value-added offers and price it accordingly. 
It will also indicate any known possibilities of a price cut - either from historical analysis of data (e.g. wait till Saturday and your air ticket price may reduce by 5% with 70% confidence) or there is an offer-week coming next week which may potentially reduce your hotel bills. 

This app will converge online and offline commerce. It will consider local offers - e.g. you travel to a shopping mall and the local travel agent knows your requirement and pushes you some offers even better than online players.

So now you are reasonably confident you are getting the best deal - you press pay and the rest of the payment is automatically taken care of after a simple biometric authentication. In technical terms we call it Passive Payments - where payments become invisible. The App will select the best card/wallet, apply the best promo-code to make the purchase and securely connect with the outside vendor. Everyone hates typing same address data again and again!

What else this App offer to me as a customer? Kill switch - I have a need for this requirement for a specific time - and once I finalise the booking or I cancel my trip for some unavoidable circumstances I can just delete this wish and voila no more offers sent to me!


What is the deal for sellers in this model? First of all, instead of a lot of guesswork through machine learning, analytics etc. they know the exact client requirement in real-time and hence they can provide a customised price offer to make a deal. They can see the customer target price point - they can match that to make a sale without exposing the price to everyone in a mass market sale event. It is low-tech but Holi-grail of matchmaking. They also know once the requirement cease to exist so they don't need to bombard the customer with misdirected offers - this saves marketing budget and improves customer satisfaction - no one likes to see promo emails/leaflets in their mailbox which does not meet their needs. This model of handing over the power to customers to tell what they need and then serve the need rather than guess-working through high tech analytics is like Pencil made by Russians to write in Space - low tech but much more effective than sophisticated and costly American Pens.

This is an age of automation but we are still not utilising automation for our personal shopping assistance space. Why we need to shop around in various so called 'deal-sites' for offers, promo-codes and then manually calculate the best offer which is ever changing. Why can't machine do this for me and I just click to complete the purchase peacefully within seconds knowing pretty confident of my decision - that in my view is an idea worth sharing!

April 12, 2018

Why I called it Fraud - world of explainable AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning(ML) have made significant progress in predicting outcomes and prescribing proactive steps to address risks. Unfortunately, it still cannot reliably explain why it took a decision. This 'Black Box' approach to AI is a problem as we cannot trust a decision which cannot explain itself. For example, AI may find fraudulent transactions better than a human operator but it cannot explain why it thinks it is a fraud. Latest developments in AI is trying to address this explainability problem called Explainable AI (XAI).

Explainability is not only a technology problem; human experts also take decisions on 'gut-feel'. We are not always objective or fair - we have our own cognitive biases and blind spots. Many times we take a decision correctly but cannot fully explain it explicitly. But society and regulations demands explanation and we are extremely biased against machines in this regard. Starting 2018 European Union is enforcing a law requiring any decisions made by a machine to be explainable. This is a difficult proposition for technology sector as AI is still learning how to be XAI.
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Over time most of the decisions will be taken by machines and hence they must learn to explain their decisions to gain the trust. Machines should also be able to advise their limitations where human intervention is potentially required. Researchers are following multiple techniques to make AI inner workings explainable - one of them is to design new kinds of modular deep neural networks which can be explained at the modular level and then plug them as Lego blocks to achieve a more complex decision.

Days are not far away when machines will be able to catch a fraudulent transaction and explain its decision. That will be the ultimate AI success story!

December 28, 2017

Payment Banks - Key technology imperatives

 

It was around a year back in the immediate period post the dramatic Demonetization in India that I first felt the need to get a mobile wallet.   Before that, mobile wallets were a mere fancy without the "killer use case".   Demonetization provided that push and there is no looking back for myriad number of mobile wallets since then.   When I last looked, there were at least 20 mainstream wallets with many more in the sidelines.  The next step of evolution for these wallets is the latest move from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) - Payment Banks.   With the arrival of Payments Banks, wallets have started to lose market share in less than 1 year since they became mainstream (a testament to the rapid evolution in this space). Paytm has evolved by launching a Payments Bank of their own.   

Payments Bank is a new concept which I like to label as a 'mini bank'.   With limitations on deposit amounts and product offering, these banks will have to find revenue streams that mainstream banks may ignore/find too small.  For example, since they cannot issue loans or credit cards, Payment banks will have to monetize their data, bet on huge volume to offset the end user's expectation of 'free' service and depend on selling financial products like insurance, mutual funds and ETFs.    One player in the market has already started pushing for Gold ETFs to be purchased on its platform.

 

The three key levers available for Payments banks are shown below:

Figure 1 Financial imperatives for Payments Banks

 

All these will ride on having a massive user base which would be a given for any successful player in this space.   Given these financial goals, it immediately becomes obvious that these banks will have to deploy innovative technology solutions to survive and flourish.     Let's look at what banks will need in each area:

Monetize Data - Big Data

"Data is the new oil" will soon become the most clichéd line.   But innumerable examples show this to be a fundamental feature of our society going forward.   Payments Banks will have at their disposal all kinds of financial data that can be converted to actionable information that will be of great interest to other companies like traditional banks (e.g. credit worthiness/score), online retail (spending pattern), even the government (tax compliance?).   This will require the bank to build robust data platforms that will provide the insights others are interested in.     Big Data and Analytics will be the driving force behind their success in this area.   Efficient data capture that brings in the right attributes will be an obvious need, but even more importantly, ability to rapidly change their systems to adapt to new learnings, needs will be critical.   If they build large, inflexible systems like most large banks have ended up with, they will soon find that they are outflanked by nimble fintech startups.  

High Volume - High Performance

An obvious revenue stream for Payment Banks is to charge something equivalent of the much maligned Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) used by credit card companies.   In the Indian context, small retailers will balk at the 2% -3% fees that are charged as MDR so Payment Banks will need to have a lower rate and couple that with incentives for high volume.  Not having to roll out expensive POS machines and associated costs, is a big positive for Payment Banks.   But they must build robust, scalable payments platforms that function flawlessly.    Any problem will be magnified multifold in today's social media driven environment.   A CRM system that keeps the ever expanding customer base at the core and offers engaging User Experience, deep customer analytics, and enables the bank to offer customized offers to its customers will play a major role in expanding the customer base.   The expanded customer base will mean that the banks that are able to deploy Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI and bots quickly will be able to achieve profitability faster.

Having a scalable and highly available Cloud based platform will be one way to achieve this.  Services like Performance Engineering offered by FS STAR team and Performance Testing services from IVS can play a key role in helping Payments Banks achieve the scaled up performance.   

Multi Product - Integrate everyday

With the need to cross sell multiple kinds of products like Insurance, Mutual Funds and ETFs, Payment banks need to build interfaces quickly and efficiently into existing marketplaces to provide efficient services to their customers.   While the philosophy of keeping costs low will be a mantra even here, the key would be the ability to integrate rapidly with different partners.   The easier they make it for large established players in the respective areas to integrate with their payment platform, the bigger the portfolio of products they can offer.  

Getting the right SI to build their systems is going to be key for Payment Banks.   Infosys has deep expertise of integrating partner products like GPP, Finastra along with our own Finacle to achieve seamless system build.    For a large bank in Australia, we helped build a complete end to end solution that was the first to integrate with and process under the new National Payments Program (NPP) structure.

To conclude, what are the key imperatives for Payments Banks?  It's all about leveraging technology to the maximum and tapping into nontraditional sources of income.   Sustaining large customer bases on high performing systems, mining data arising from these customers and rapid innovation to offer new products based on the insights gained from the customers.    System integrators like Infosys will play a key role in enabling these banks on these dimensions and it will be an exciting couple of years as the banks innovate and leverage cutting edge technology to achieve their ultimate goal of profitable growth.

Continue reading "Payment Banks - Key technology imperatives" »

October 17, 2017

New Payment Platform - Australia's transformational journey to cashless society

Payments Industry is undergoing disruptive change over the last few years. And this change will continue for foreseeable future. Digital payments are rapidly replacing currency as the primary instrument for payment transactions. With the increased accessibility, affordability and reliability of technology, cash-less society is turning out to be a reality. While cash still remains 'king', newer and better payment instruments are changing the customer behavior rapidly.

There are three 'C's which are critical for any good payment instrument. And in comparison to cash as payment instrument, Digital Payments are showing better performance on these three 'C's. They are:

1. Confidence: The instrument has to be 'trusted' by the transacting parties; ensuring soundness of digital payments including availability, security and reliability.

2. Convenience: The instrument has to be easy and quick to use. While societies find cash as a 'convenient' instrument, modern technologies using mobile phones, contact less cards, wearable devices etc. are turning out to be much more convenient than cash.

3. Cost-effectiveness: Handling cash is costly as it involves printing, logistics, distribution, processing etc. The digital payments can provide much better economy of scale.


Considering these imperatives and industry trends, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) started an initiative called New Payments Platform to propel Australian market into such cash-less world. In 2014, thirteen financial institutions, including the Big 4 banks in Australia, signed up to build the New Payment Platform (NPP). Accordingly, Industry Consortium was created to govern the program under the leadership of RBA. This Consortium has representation from all the thirteen financial institutions.

NPP provides basic payment infrastructure which offers following key capabilities to retail and business consumers in Australia:


1. Near real time payments - Payments can be made from one party to another almost instantaneously, including settlement. Within a matter of few seconds, funds will be transferred and made available for payee to use.


2. 24X7 availability - The infrastructure is always-on. The platform is designed to be made available for 99.995% of the time. It means a maximum down-time of 2 min/month. Besides, there would be zero data loss for the transactions during any outage.


3. Data-rich - The global ISO20022 messaging standard is used to provide ability to send more complete remittance information along with a payment transaction.


4. Simple Addressing - The centralized addressing service enables retail payments by way of using an identifier like phone number or email ID or an organizational identifier. There is no need to use complex account codes and branch codes of the payee.


5. Versatile - NPP offers basic payments infrastructure on which financial institutions can build 'overlay' services looking at the specific needs of their clients. These overlay services can offer additional functionality to retail and business customers of financial institutions. In many ways, NPP is similar to operating system on a mobile phone, while overlay services are the apps built on the top of this operating system.


While smaller financial institutions have not signed up for NPP directly due to their inability to make upfront investments, they are expected to tie up with others to make use of the capabilities offered by NPP. This approach will ensure that entire Australia supports NPP covering each and every consumer.


The participating financial institutions see the initiative as an opportunity to create a futuristic payments platform that meets not only stringent NPP requirements; but also enables rapid adoption of overlay services. Some of them have a simplification roadmap to replace other digital payments platform with NPP.


In late 2015, Infosys was chosen as the System Integrator for one of the Big 4 banks in Australia. The payments business contributes 15% of the bank's revenue from the customer base of 3 Million. The bank believes that 50% of its payments business is at risk without NPP. Importantly, the bank sees NPP as a huge revenue generation opportunity through overlay services. It is also the largest investment initiative for the bank for FY2016 and FY2017.


The scope for Infosys includes technology architecture/design, requirements, development, infrastructure sizing/selection/build, integration across channels and back-end systems, testing and vendor management services. It is the largest 'turn-key' project for Infosys in the region and across FS business at the moment. Infosys has pushed its traditional boundaries and accepted stringent SLAs, liquidated damages and full responsibility for the work done by the product vendor. Infosys has set up an integrated team of 175+ professionals with participation from 10+ units (ADM, DCG, CIS, EAIS, IVS, Lodestone etc.). In addition, product vendor is also the key partner of Infosys in this journey. The valiant efforts put by this team for last 20+ months have brought us very close to the completion of the program. The bank acknowledges the contributions made by this team has already given an interim Engagement Level Feedback (ELF) of 6/7. The go-live is expected to happen before the end of 2017. The team is now busy giving a final push and take the platform to 'live'.


Once 'live', NPP is expected to alter the customer behavior like never before. As of now, 47% of payments in Australia happen using cash. Conservative estimates suggest that Australia will be a cash-free society by October 2027, while aggressive estimates suggest that this feat will be achieved by June-2022. When that happens, it is certain that NPP would have played a huge role in it. And Infosys can take pride in its contribution to this transformation!


October 13, 2017

Design Thinking - Our approach to identify and address untold customer needs

Financial Services Industry is getting disrupted with emerging players meeting customer expectations with new technologies and business models. To address these disruptive changes for our clients, we find Design Thinking to be a refreshing approach to problem-solving and use the core premises of desirability, feasibility, and viability. Design Thinking spark customer-obsessed innovations thereby solving the initially unrecognized challenges faced by our customers.  Infosys has been working closely from an organizational perspective to incorporate Design Thinking and an innovator's mindset into how our teams collaborate, ideate and prototype more user-centric solutions.

 

In this blog, I will share two such specific examples from Loyalty and Lending Program Design.

 

Design considerations across loyalty burn and earn customer journey

 

Through empathy sessions, we listen to our clients, end-users, and industry experts and formulate the best responses to the megatrends in the Loyalty and customer experience space.  Following is an outcome from such a Design Thinking session specifically addressing Loyalty Issues faced by customers today.

 

Customer Journey

Customer Persona - Empathize

Addressing Solution -Define and Ideate

Design Considerations - Prototype & Test

Earn

I do not understand the Loyalty Program - too complicated.

The Loyalty Program should be easy to understand and easy to use.

 

Show them Value from the program

 

Explain them the point accumulation and redemption process through interactive statements and communication

 

Provide Chatbot/FAQ/Self-serve channels to clarify doubts around the Loyalty Program

 

It takes too much time to earn meaningful points

Show Contextual Loyalty at the point of Sale- time for immediate gratification

 

Short term Loyalty promotions build long-term loyalty by making customers feel valued and understood frequently and thus maintain & grow a relationship.

Provide them additional benefits for their frequent purchases.

 

Convergence of online and offline commerce - provide deals in stores based on their online searches

 

There are just too many Loyalty Cards in my wallet

 

Why should we use your loyalty program?

Can the various points become interoperable with minimum costs involved in redemption?

 

Can we provide unique value to the customer for program differentiation?

Blockchain or Points Bank based solution with a partner ecosystem

 

Personalized offers - build relationship beyond spend pattern - non-liner loyalty design(Behavioral rewards) for effective engagement

 

Can I get special treatment for my loyalty beyond cashback/points?

Can we offer special pricing for the customer based on the relationship?

 

Can you waive annual fee or provide travel benefits beyond points/cashback offers?

 

 

Gamify the experience with Leaderboards/ Milestones/ Variable tier benefits.

 

Can I get benefits for sharing with my friends in Social Media?

 

Can I get benefits for sharing feedbacks of my experience?

Offer points for Social media likes or shares

 

Offer special benefits for sharing any constructive positive/negative feedbacks.

Plan non-linear engagement models

Burn

Can I be reminded to use the points and best offers at the right time?

Can we offer a personal shopping experience for best deals?

Automate the deal-finding algorithm based on various factors and send push notifications/auto-apply best offers

 

 

Do you know me, my interests?

Allow using points in both online and offline stores

 

Understand customer spend pattern and push right offers for redemption at right location at right time

Allow expedited redemptions for preferred customer categories

 

Customer segmentation and analytics led campaign management

 

Beacon-based notifications

 

Can I redeem my points/cashback seamlessly?

Mobile coupon or better automatic redemption at smart point of sales

 

Promote redemption and avoid making rewards points a balance-sheet liability. Rather engage customers through meaningful redemption options to make the experience meaningful.

Offer Omni channel redemption options

 

Focus on great customer experience, think just beyond points accumulation or burning if you solve some real customer problem (i.e. Starbucks App to order beforehand and avoid queue or Uber VIP Program to arrange cars with privilege)

 

 

DT.jpg

Design Thinking Approach to Lending Program Design

 

Almost one-third of Bank revenue comes from Lending which is under pressure from fintechs and other anti-incumbents. Banks need to build a frictionless digital lending experience by extracting intelligence from the data that persists within and outside the enterprise to fight back in the Lending business. Following is a sample Design Thinking outcome for desigining Lending Program. 

 

Customer Journey

Customer Problem - Empathize

Addressing Solution -Define and Ideate

Design Considerations - Prototype & Test

Apply for loans

Customers expect a seamless connected experience across channels, instant quote generation, and faster loan disbursal

Build a Digital user-friendly interface to reduce loan application time and paperwork and improve loan origination experience.

 

Workflow Management - Configure Status and define a Status workflow. Configurable business rules Track Status and Asset Status (when applicable) 

 

Lead Management - Generate and Track Leads

 

Build Self-serve options like Chatbot, interactive video guides, loan repayments calculators, payment reminders, set up automatic payment facilities etc.

 

Need a unified approach towards Lending Platforms

 

Need to utilize already available information from various sources to avoid asking a question which we already know - Can I get most of the information in the form pre-filled?

Single View of the Customer and consolidation of platforms to help Customer Support, Risk Management, and faster decision making

 

Document & Content Management - Better capturing, storing analyzing and retrieving systems to harness customer relationship and transactional data. Use improved Paperless signing, Optical Character Recognition(OCR) and other digital technologies to minimize paperwork

 

Build Mobile Apps for effective Loan Origination through handheld devices - this is very effective in contextual car loan space

 

Build systems with high Straight Through Processing and Automation to reduce multiple redundant touchpoints and improve disbursal time.

Faster and more accurate Credit Decision making

Credit Decisioning Team to take a quick and improved Credit Decision to compete with the Fintechs while analyzing new dimensions of data which was not available/used before

Build new interfaces/APIs to collect relevant data from various sources (like Social Media, 3rd parties etc.).

 

Use Big Data Analytics Platform to analyze unstructured data and then feed them to Machine Learning algorithms and historical data for better decision making.

 

Build improved monitoring systems for timely alerts, forewarnings, compliance and fraud prevention.

For Student Loans build Decisioning systems which think beyond FICO score and consider potential future earning of the student from the degree to decide the overall credit risk.

 

Build better personalized risk-based pricing systems with improved multi-dimensional credit risk system

 

Improve Credit Underwriting and Decisioning efficiency by building a more dynamic and real-time credit portfolio management system.

 

Use Robotic Process Automation(RPA), Distributed Ledger Technologies and Internet of Things(IoT) technologies for automation and transparency in Trade Finance/Supply Chain and Operations Space.

 

Partner with right Fintechs for acquiring niche and hard-to-build capabilities.

Direct and Open Marketplace Lending

How a bank can complete with Fintechs offering Direct Lending solutions which offer faster loan disbursal and better rates

Adopt Lending-as-a-service model to partner with Fintechs.

 

Use Incubation partners to drive build a faster working prototype with improved credit decision model.

 

Embrace regulations driving Direct Lending and monetize the opportunity.

Banks are adopting Challenger Bank model to test new Direct Lending models and then making it mainstream with Legacy modernization and Lego-building-block approach.

POS Lending

How can banks venture into Point of Sale(PoS) instant lending which is becoming a bigger trend. PoS Credit is helping Merchants to reduce increase sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment

Develop short-term financing products and integrate with PoS and Checkout process. Partnership with merchants for engagement and sponsorship is the key

 

Need instant Credit scoring and decisioning systems based on internal and external data sources

Partner with merchants and POS Platforms to push Bank driven POS Lending Solutions.

 

Develop Machine Learning based instant credit scoring and decisioning systems.

Handle Regulations

How to effectively manage regulations related to Lending, treasury, and Liquidity(BASEL etc.)

How can I effectively manage the cost of compliance especially when competing with fintechs having a lesser burden of regulatory compliance

Use Digital technologies to reduce the cost of compliance by reducing paperwork.

 

Use introduction of any new regulation as an opportunity to build a nimble IT and operations Infrastructure so that handling future regulations become easier.

 

 

October 2, 2016

Augmented reality, gamification and new voice interfaces transforming tomorrow's commerce

In my previous post, I discussed how carefully orchestrated use for emotions and senses can improve purchasing and payment experience increasing the likelihood of spend. This post is a continuation of the same theme providing more details on how payments and advertising are getting transformed with new emotional interfaces, gamification, and augmented reality technologies.

Pokémon GO, the revolutionary augmented reality game, is changing the way small businesses do marketing. In this inherently, social game players need to walk around and catch creatures with the smartphones. Local eateries and small businesses are using this opportunity to increase traffic through various Pokemon Go Marketing techniques (Pokemon Lure Modules, Pokemon Gyms, Pokemon Paid Sponsorships etc.).

Although Google Glass did not get expected success, Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat Inc.) is introducing a new wearable 'toy' called Spectacles which can capture 10 or 30-second videos and share with Snapchat friends. This makes absolute sense as opening an app from user's smartphone can take quite some time and for unplanned circumstances, the user may miss capturing the moment. There is also a plan to use Spectacles for context sensitive advertising as evident from their Patent application.

open.jpg

The other big opportunity is Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Voice Interfaces like Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa powered Echo. These Intelligent Agents do things for you, understand what we say in proper context and continually learn to improve response accuracy. This will introduce Voice Commerce replacing today's advertising and Voice Payments becoming the foundation for Voice commerce. It will be quite a revolution! 

August 2, 2016

How to process Investment in Associates in Oracle E-Business Suite?

 

When an investor entity exerts significant influence over an investee entity, the latter is called an 'associate' of the former. When the investor has the right to take part in the financial and operating policy decisions of the investee, it is treated as a 'significant influence.' However, the term 'significant influence' does not include 'controlling influence,' in which case, the investee would be called a 'subsidiary' of the investor entity. The investor may acquire this 'significant influence' by holding a 20-50 percent stake in the equity capital of the investee, or through terms and conditions of its investment that provide the entity such rights.

Continue reading "How to process Investment in Associates in Oracle E-Business Suite?" »

June 1, 2016

Redefining loyalty points to save, not spend

 After a year of employment, I became an excited owner of my first credit card. The fact that it did not mandate instant re-payment, and instead provided the flexibility to re-pay after a certain duration depending upon the billing cycle and grace period, took-on a new approach to my purchasing approach! What intrigued me most was the concept of loyalty points, also referred to commonly as reward points, which the card company provided to all its card members for making purchases. And it worked quite well to encourage customer loyalty towards the card brand.

Continue reading "Redefining loyalty points to save, not spend" »

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