Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank, is pivoting towards personalized human centric design journeys, engineering excellence and an omni-channel experiences, managing director and CEO Amitabh Chaudhry said at the recently concluded Mint TechCircle Business Transformation Symposium.
“We will know where you have touched Axis (bank), we will be able to pick up your conversations,” he said, during a keynote at the digital event, held on June 25, adding that human centric design would customize the solutions and offerings more towards behavior and the persona of users.
Chaudhry was speaking in the context of how the Covid-19 pandemic had redefined the speed of innovation and accelerated a digital shift across sectors.
“Before Covid we had 300 employees who had access to 11 applications. We moved that number to 60,000 employees accessing 400 applications,” he said.
Prior to the pandemic, the bank was already working on enterprise mobility tools and a few work-from-home (WFH) solutions. Solutions such as ‘bring your own device’, mobile applications, collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and financial software provider Intuit’s enterprise offerings were deployed by the company. “The pandemic allowed us to drive mass scale adoption that we were planning to do anyway,” he said.
The bank is also working on other technologies such as cognitive intelligence, robotic process automation, API (application programming interface) based banking and is now working on creating a large API platform through which it can connect with third-party partners easily. About 15% of its apps, he added, are in the cloud and the bank plans to take this to 70% in the next two years.
Axis Bank currently has 800 people focused on digital, while its in-house engineering team consists of 125 employees who are working on peta-byte scale analytical models, among other things. It offers more than 250 services on its digital channels, and more than 90% of its transactions today are digital. The bank has a market share of 20% in UPI and mobile transactions.
“A significant portion of our sales is now digital. 73% of customers are digitally active, more than 70% of our deposits, 50% of loans and credit cards are sold end-of-end digitally,” said Chaudhry, adding that the bank plans to further expand its digital footprint as it moves forward.
In a separate keynote, SoftBank backed hospitality chain OYO’s CEO for India and Southeast Asia Rohit Kapoor believes that the company and the sector is on the cusp of a major growth curve in the next 2-3 years.
“This might be the biggest growth we will ever see in the industry in the next 2-3 years. We have witnessed a once in a century event over the last 15-18 months,” said Kapoor. He attributed this to the wide scale adoption of digital technologies and applications by the general public, ever since the pandemic came to the fore.
“Once people go digital, it doesn’t stop there. Travel will benefit massively from this digital move,” he said.
The company exploring multiple use cases, such as booking entire hotels for occasions such as marriages, contactless check-ins without needing to report to the reception, among others. Kapoor said that most of its partners are small business owners who have hotels or homes as secondary primary income sources. “About 40 partners today own more than 10 hotels. They have asked for more technology, as opposed to human beings to solve their problems,” he said.
The company, he added, has introduced features in its app for partners to show critical information such as the number of customer visits, prices at which the rooms were booked, hourly occupancy of rooms, and feedback from customers. The feedback would also be made comparable to hotels in surrounding areas, along with insights on what price range should a partner hotel operate in, depending on time and other conditions.
“This power (insights) was earlier available only to large hotel chains, now it is available to a 15-room hotel owner anywhere in India,” Kapoor said.
Speaking about how the cloud has become the catalyst for digital transformation, Puneet Chandok, president of AWS India, said, “Technology and cloud react well to uncertainty and the world that we are entering will be more dynamic and volatile.”
An April 2021 study by Gartner predicts that the worldwide end-user spends on public cloud services will grow to $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020. This is due to businesses thinking deeply about the cloud because it allows for unlimited scale and agility, which are crucial components.
“Most businesses in India, for the past two decades, have been wired for efficiency and cost, and not towards agility,” he said. Another realisation among enterprises, he added, is that transformation is not about technology, but about leadership. Chandok was also a keynote speaker at the event.
As of 2020, AWS commanded 51.8% share of the global cloud infrastructure market.