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"We are focusing on efficient, easy-to-use rich apps as well as voice based authentication and OLTP" - Aniruddha Paul, head, IT change delivery, ING Vysya Bank India

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VoicenData Bureau
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Founded in 1930, ING Vysya Bank, is a joint venture of the Indian Private Sector Vysya Bank and a global financial powerhouse, ING of Dutch origin. Being a member of the global financial giant ING, the bank's total assets exceeded ¤1,247 bn with a underlying net profit of ¤3,893 mn in December 2010. This global identity coupled with the back up of a financial power house and the status of being the first Indian international bank, with around 105,000 employees which serves over 85 mn customers, across 40 countries. ING has gained recognition for its integrated approach of banking, insurance, and asset management. Furthermore, the company differentiates itself from other financial service providers by successfully establishing life insurance companies in countries with emerging economies, such as Korea, Taiwan, Hungary, Poland, Mexico, and Chile. VOICE&DATA spoke to Aniruddha Paul, head, IT change delivery, ING Vysya Bank India, the man handling all the ICT demands as well as challenges of the company. Excerpts-

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-Aniruddha Paul, head, IT change delivery, ING Vysya Bank India

What are the top ICT challenges faced by the insurance sector? And what are the key technological trends in this industry?

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I'll concentrate on the way banks and insurance industries interact first and the ICT challenges thereafter. The relationship is usually that of sales and distribution, and the key operational ICT challenges lie in the way the 2 companies interact with each other for validation and reconciliation of data.

Clearly, there is a trend in sharing of databases or building integration between the ERP softwares in the bank and insurance companies, to authenticate data and recognize the transaction simultaneously in both systems.

In which areas have you opted for outsourcing with respect to ICT-related works and how is it working for you?

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Since 2002, ING Vysya Bank has opted for significant outsourcing of its IT operations. We typically in-source IT strategy, enterprise architecture, and business analysis, and outsource the rest.

Which are some of the key telecom products you procure on a regular basis?

Our current wave of investments are in unified communication for workplace collaboration, WAN communication, and video conferencing equipment,

ie, aspects that foster greater collaboration and communication at the workplace.

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Has your company deployed mobile applications both for internal working as well as for your partners?

Yes, we have both customer-facing mobile apps (SMS and mobile banking) as well as mobile apps for internal processes. We have even won prestigious awards based on the innovation that our mobile applications have brought to the table. And yes, we have plans to rapidly scale-up our customer offerings in this space.

What strategies have you planned for your company to reduce costs, in terms of operational and also manpower, on IT?

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It often happens that while corporate IT is busy bringing efficiencies into the business side of the organization, we forget to attend to aspects like automation and STP within IT itself. We believe that, with rising input costs, it's important to invest in aspects like data center automation, and a trade-off between one-time capital investments versus rising operating expenses.

Are you looking at deploying big data in your organization as dependency is more on social media, research, and other feedback mechanism to increase the market share?

In India, we are planning for more integration with social media, especially Net Promoter Score (NPS), where we are already a pioneer in India. Currently, we are not necessarily looking at big data analytics.

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Are you looking at 3G applications for your internal or external working? If yes, could you name some of these deployed in your organization?

While we do have a string of products and channel functionalities that leverage the mobile, we are waiting for mobile bandwidth coverage to be more pervasive and qualitative. We are focusing more on efficient, easy-to-use rich applications on one end of the spectrum (retail and mass affluent) and voice based authentication and OLTP at the other end (financial inclusion).

How important is unified communication for banks in India?

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It is vital, particularly in the ability to reach every segment of the society. Lower communication cost translates into an ever-expanding branch and ATM footprint while also supporting direct banking channels. It is imperative to have a proper communication network in the banking industry, and unified communication is the best source.

What is the investment planned for ICT in FY12 and what is the forecast for FY13?

Well, for confidentiality reasons, I would not like to comment on the investment planned for ICT in FY12.



What challenges do you face while you source ICT products and tools from the Indian market?

As a large bank, we have a responsibility towards our customers and shareholders; therefore, when we buy products, we do not look at just the quality of the product but also at the sustainability of the relationship. Also, it's a fact that there have been far too many products originating from India that have found widespread acceptance.

Having said that, we take pride in supporting unconventional choices in select areas where we believe the risk—reward equation will work for us. Some of these have been in Enterprise Architecture Integration (EAI), risk analytics, and online fraud management, where we have been very happy with locally sourced solutions.



Which are some of the technological improvements that you expect from the industry to offer better services to customers?

It's a matter of deep concern that even after decades of organized banking, banking services in India have a penetration ratio that's less than 50%-clearly traditional banking practices will not work.

The two big impediments to increased coverage are: Know Your Customer (KYC) norms that simply don't work for the vast majority of the unbanked and cost-effective, but safe, outreach to the unbanked. We have great hopes with Aadhaar, and we are working closely with UIDAI in the various pilots that we have engaged in with them.

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