How Vodafone Idea, NPCI and SBI are reimagining and building a roadmap towards greater value

How Vodafone Idea, NPCI and SBI are reimagining and building a roadmap towards greater value
4 Nov, 2020

The great reset in business operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic was one of the key themes at the recently concluded TechCircle digital symposium, 7 Digital Dialogues

During the panel discussion--  Reimagining Value: where the value is going to be and a roadmap that will get businesses there -- speakers explored how enterprises need to reimagine value for businesses and restructure their goals amid the new normal. 

According to data published by Israeli cyber security solutions provider Radware, 83% of C- level executives expect the changes they made in the areas applications, processes and people in response to the pandemic to be permanent. 76% said they have increased cloud adoption and 56% were moving to contactless.

“In such times any strategy or investment decisions we make should have two components. One is emerging customer segments have to be targeted and secondly, innovation has to continue to add value to products and processes,” Sunita Handa, chief GM (IT - Channels and Ops) at SBI said.

A good example of this was the partnership between SBI and Hindustan Unilever where digital payment solutions would be provided for small retailers to the tune of Rs 50,000, along with other financing options.

Handa pointed out that small retailers have the power to avail loans through the SBI’s Yono mobile application or HUL’s Shikhar Digital ordering application as opposed to traditional methods of visiting bank branches or government websites.

Another company, the National Payments Corporation of India, also witnessed a boom in its digital payments through its United Payments Interface (UPI). NPCI recently reported that the UPI volumes had grown 80% from 1.14 billion transactions in October 2019 to 2.07 billion transactions in October 2020.

Watch: Deutsche Bank MD Dilipkumar Khandelwal on how cloud, APIs are making operations agile 

“If India has to reach a $ 5 trillion dollar economy, we have to see a minimum of billion digital transactions. It is not only about scale but also thinking of what do you embed as new, how do you architect and how do you solve challenges,” Arif Khan, the chief digital officer of NPCI said.

Khan added that in order to bring value to customers in digital payments, the cost was a crucial factor, hence in building a digital payments structure for the country, keeping operating costs at a bare minimum was essential.

“The idea is to create a chassis which is so open that you can adopt new solutions and models on the go,” Khan added.

On the other hand, Vodafone Idea’s EVP of technology planning, Mudit Agarwal, said that in order to create a roadmap for future value, the company has created the world’s largest edge cloud, with over 88 edge locations across India. Agarwal said that the cloud is a completely open stack, open source and universal, which means that the ease of development of new applications would be easier due to the virtual servers and resources being made available to users.

“By universal, we mean multiple network applications, IoT applications, and third-party applications run on this platform. And that's quite a big technology breakthrough that we have provided to the ecosystem partners,” Agarwal said.

These edge cloud locations enable Vodafone Idea to serve high bandwidth use cases at a high latency. Agarwal also added that such edge computing measures can allow for AI/ML (artificial intelligence- machine learning) queries to be done instantly. Some of the use cases where this could help include assisted driving, drone as a service or manufacturing units, which need constant monitoring for disaster prevention such as a furnace temperature going too high.

Today as organisations go digital, the innovations are more focused towards the themes of creating autonomous systems, making them more programmable and making them more connected.

“Every organisation is creating asymmetry in offerings and consumption models. Because the companies can decide whom to compete against in the spectrum, that's the biggest reset that I see in the last six months,” Vikram K, senior director, industry verticals at HPE.

In terms of key performance indicators to add value to companies, Vodafone’s Agarwal believes that a few key questions can showcase the right performance indicators towards realizing better value. “We have millions of mobile users, what is the latency they are experiencing? What percentage of the traffic is being serviced from the edge cloud? How many customer transactions are being moved from physical to digital channels?,” these questions together form one performance metric for Vodafone.

Explained: How APIs drive digital transformation 

Other areas that Vodafone Idea believes are a key performance metric for value include the number of new application programming interfaces, new cloud locations for these APIs, IoT partners and seeing the growth towards becoming a digital native organisation as a whole.