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'To deliver a good customer experience, you need a strong API framework’

'To deliver a good customer experience, you need a strong API framework’
20 Dec, 2021

Banks are gradually moving towards Platforms and application programming interface, or API-led ecosystems to develop innovative business models. Amid the rapid digital transformation, regulations and compliance norms set by the government will define how banks evolve in future. In an interview, Biswabrata Chakravorty, Head – Information Technology, IndusInd Bank, spoke about how the bank has created a differentiated customer experience through APIs. Edited excerpts:   

How has IndusInd Bank leveraged tech to deliver value to businesses?

We embarked on the digital journey much before the pandemic hit us. While the one-and-a-half years have been tough, it has expedited digitization and the focus and speed of innovation has increased. We began with automating the manual processes by leveraging technologies like customer relationship management (CRM), robotics and others. Then, we focused on creating the right digital architecture by taking the hybrid cloud approach. This enables us to rapidly scale, provision, and create multiple application infrastructure in a very short time. We can monetize the infrastructure for application design and ensure rapid delivery of customer experience.   

Data lake is another area that we focused on. We have got a data lake that enables us to rapidly ingest huge volumes of data. We use cloud capabilities to analyze the data and open source to mine the data and generate statistical models.   

Most importantly, our efforts concentrated towards creating a differentiated customer experience with all the enablement through application programming interfaces (APIs). 

We have created an unassisted or DIY (do-it-yourself) customer journey for practically every product. The technology platforms are helping us deliver these journeys to the customers, which are completely paperless and seamless with no human intervention. For instance, we have stitched the entire loan journey with almost 40 APIs, and all the APIs are running in orchestrated manner.

What are the pillars for the bank’s digital strategies?

There are three areas that will underpin how we have prepared ourselves for digital strategy. Firstly, we want to take an overview of end-to-end customer experience. Our ultimate objective is to remove friction, optimise processes, and create an impact on the customer journey. We are also conscious of the fact that no technology stack will function smoothly for delivering a customer experience if it doesn’t have a foundational API management framework to support it. Hence, the second strategy for delivering superior customer experience is to have a robust layer which is enabled through APIs. 

To deliver a good customer experience, you need a strong API framework. And we have been able to do it because we have a strong API platform to support our digital customer experiences.  

Then, with our hybrid cloud approach, we have created a technology infrastructure, which is scalable and resilient. This ensures all the customer services are delivered in a reliable manner. Secondly, we have invested significantly in data warehousing and analytical capabilities. We want our analytical units, like the campaign management team, to be able to use data and run campaigns in a targeted manner. And the third pillar is the right organisation and governance structure. Having the right operational processes to deliver the technology and the right governance structure helps.

How are you maintaining operational resiliency and ensuring there’s no lapse in the digital engagement with customers?

The crux lies in the way we architect our infrastructure and how we have scaled up the private and hybrid cloud. We have kept redundancies with the design and physical deployment architecture. And we are not using the cloud to optimize our costs but for better reliability.

How do you see banking services evolve in the near future?

Every industry got disrupted due to the pandemic and so is the banking sector. Customer experience rules the roost and there will be a huge demand for all the technologies that will help in creating a differentiated customer experience.

Then, we will see the emergence of connected ecosystem banking – an area that will witness a lot of innovation in the coming years. For instance, Neo Banks is an ecosystem play wherein they are connecting to traditional banks and offering services to their customers.

The regulatory and compliance landscape will play a key role in determining what is going to be the future of banking. With data privacy at the centre stage, we are moving towards an era of more and more granular control of data – how it is used, where it is stored, how it is transmitted and being glued – every aspect of it. Granular control of data and privacy of information will be the key. All the regulators across the globe are deeply concerned and working towards this direction.