An online forum for thought leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities impacting the changing world of banking.

September 5, 2014

Tackling System Complexity in Banking - part II

As discussed in my previous blog on this topic, a 'one architecture' approach enables banks to significantly reduce system complexity. Of course, the unification vision has to be applied to application design in order to unify experience across products, channels and devices.  

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August 28, 2014

Tackling System Complexity in Banking - part I

From a purely IT environment point of view, complexity in banking can be a manifestation of multiple factors - legacy systems, disparate technologies, application & process redundancies and inadequate/inefficient integration. These factors can seriously undermine a bank's efforts to embed versatility, flexibility and agility into their operating DNA. Simplification then becomes a foregone conclusion for banks that want to compete in today's marketplace, defined by evolving customer needs, omnichannel distribution models, stringent compliance standards and technologically superior competition. 

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August 27, 2014

Make Business, Not Engineering

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Most Indian IT companies have strategized, developed, branded, sold, implemented and established products & solutions catering to various industries and used by clients all over the world. Given the strength of Indian engineering skills, and good career options in that area, the Indian IT industry's commitment to exploring and building products is not surprising.  While a few products go on to attain maturity and leadership, many others struggle to gain acceptance. The Banking and Financial sector is full of complex IT solutions for core banking, insurance, Asset Liability Management, prevention of money laundering, etc. Such products and solutions must be easily deployable, and have the right features meeting the needs of the target market.

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August 22, 2014

Simplification, without the stress

A research report released last year estimated that in 2014, large financial institutions in the US would spend close to US$75 billion on IT improvements that would help them 'change the bank' rather than 'run the bank'. Change seems to be the operative word for banking across the globe given the fact that that every aspect of the business of banking is also changing. 

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Optimizing Training Costs in Core Banking Transformation

Core Banking transformation enforces change of such magnitude that it requires massive re-training of staff. Almost every user in the bank will be touched by it and therefore large budgets need to be set aside for training. In a budgetary crunch, when banks are looking at cutting costs everywhere, training is almost always a casualty. At the same time no one wants to cut corners in improving employee productivity.

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Is innovation all about managing change?

I did an Internet search on "most innovative companies in the world". Predictably, the search engine that I used, Google was in the list along with several other new-age organizations. There was a clear pattern though - none of the lists featured top-notch business or management consulting organizations at the top. Isn't it surprising that reputed management consulting firms that drive innovation at several client organizations are not considered innovators themselves? They have the ideas and the expertise, so where do they falter?

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August 15, 2014

Annoying Customers by Deploying Technology Not Yet Ready for Primetime

Some months ago, my workplace Employee ID card was replaced by a smart card with an embedded chip and the simple swipe at the turnstile permitting entry, now also needs a fingerprint scan. Whereas in the past I could enter with one swipe, now I need to scan my fingerprint twice (sometimes more) every day. If I do manage to get in at the first scan, I am unreasonably happy. I am one of those gadget freaks and like to try out new things all the time, but this fingerprint scan at the gate beats me! I thought there was a knack to it that escaped me, but no, that isn't so. Having observed other people go through the multiple scan process has convinced me that this is standard fare! The technology works, in the sense that it lets me in and out everyday and I haven't yet got inextricably stuck. But it's frustrating as compared to the earlier experience where one swipe was enough. Clearly, the fingerprint scanning technology works but I feel that it is not ready for primetime. If this technology were to be used with customers, they would get annoyed and competitors would look to take advantage of that.

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July 7, 2014

Prequalification and Prioritization of Opportunities

Software vendors participate in multiple bids across the globe. Though each vendor has a set of presales processes spanning activities in the bidding lifecycle from end to end, they occasionally deviate from them for a variety of reasons ranging from tight deadlines to lack of skills.  However most of the global vendors follow the basic processes, ensuring compliance with eligibility conditions and stipulated timelines. There may be a few cases where the submitted proposals are not of the required standards and are likely to be rejected.

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June 25, 2014

Process Integration and Customer Service Synchronization in the Services Industry

Most services organizations follow different processes spanning activities that run from end to end of the lifecycle of their business operations. Processes, such as those in customer services, are common across industries. 

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June 16, 2014

Banking Sans Banks

The emergence of any new phenomenon often spells the demise of the existing scenario. The internet revolution is credited with ending the reign of several products, services and businesses, such as snail mail and music CDs. Physical marketplaces are fast losing their importance in the era of e commerce. Gaming, libraries, ticket counters, bill payment counters, newspapers & publications, advertising boards etc. have all rapidly moved to the internet domain, leveraging its ability to connect them with a massive borderless audience easily, in next to no time and cost.

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