The technology landscape is evolving fast, with the infusion of several new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, etc. There is not one industry not affected by it. In fact, experts say that digital transformation is the way forward. And it is taking place at a fast pace in most industries. The banking and financial sector too is leveraging these digital pathways to improve customer experience as well as bottom lines. CIOs of the BFSI sector have to help their companies safely navigate the digital journey. It is in this context that Muqbil Ahmar, Executive Editor, Grey Head Media spoke with Puneet Kapoor, Senior Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank.
- How do you see the technology landscape evolving over the past couple of years?
Puneet Kapoor: In just the past two years, a number of new concepts have come in which were certainly not there earlier. These would include robotics, artificial intelligence-led customer engagement, the whole Aadhar-based authentication capability as well as the emphasis on facilitating customer transactions in a seamless manner. These are all very path breaking in their own ways and will obviously outline the way things shape up in the future.
- Are you planning something around these transformative technologies in your own company?
Puneet Kapoor: We have embraced RPA or robotics as we speak and we have embraced it across customer-facing processes as well as internal processes, particularly those that were repetitive in nature. Through such innovations one can make huge man hour savings as far as production is concerned. We are also in various experimentation and pilot phases with respect to various technologies, for example the blockchain technology as a concept or the API banking. Basically, we are participating in everything that has got introduced as a new technology capability. We have set up an innovation lab, in which we work with a lot of fintechs in doing proof of concept (PoC) for various kinds of technology opportunities that are there around the varied processes of customer engagement. We are right up there in terms of leveraging the emerging technologies to the benefit of our customers.
- How are you placed vis-à-vis banks that can be termed as digital natives, which would include the likes of IDFC and other banks, which have end-to-end digitalization and claim themselves to be twenty-first century?
Puneet Kapoor: I see no difference. Banks by nature are IT companies in themselves. Today, there is nothing that we deliver to our customers that is not powered by technology.
- Are you doing anything particularly around the blockchain technology?
Puneet Kapoor: As I said we have a couple of things at the level of PoC but we haven’t firmed up any use cases around it.
- How do you see the technology landscape evolving over the next couple of years?
Puneet Kapoor: I don’t think there is going to be any limit. We just need to pick and choose because obviously there will be no single entity that will have the capability to embrace everything that keeps getting introduced in the market. We need to pick and choose which is the right technology for the work that you are doing, for the kind of franchise and customer base that you have and where will be the right fit. It is not a game of volume or a me-too game. You need to be in a selective game keeping in view the strengths of your business and its requirements.
- A number of stringent privacy laws are coming in. What are your views about that, particularly with respect to the advent of the GDPR?
Puneet Kapoor: In the banking business, customer data is confidential and privacy is foremost to whatever we do. One will have to be careful about how you use customer data, whether it is structured or unstructured. And then use it for making a customer connect. This is one dimension of running the current business dynamics that nobody would be able to ignore and which should not be ignored.