We all know that we’re in the midst of an extraordinary situation—not only for our businesses, but for the humanity at large. The widespread impact of COVID-19 has given birth to many new challenges. One of the most critical of them is adopting new technology for new ways of working.
Technology has to be at the forefront of the battle against the unprecedented circumstances. Tools powered by the flexibility, agility and scalability of new tech can empower and help organisations stay competitive and achieve growth. Ensuring business continuity for both now and moving forward will determine how fast and how well enterprises can overcome the challenges and recover from this crisis. In an interaction with dynamicCIO’s Executive Editor Muqbil Ahmar (DC), Sri Raghunath (SR), Vice President – Information Technology at Receivables Exchange of India Ltd (RXIL) talks about the challenges faced and the innovative solutions that the organization leveraged to maintain business continuity.
DC: With remote working, there is suddenly a lot of changes they have to adjust to. What has been the impact?
SR: Before this whole unprecedented situation started, all that an organization had to do was to ensure that their corporate and datacenter IT infrastructure were secure behind the organization’s perimeter security structure and that the end-user had to use this infrastructure within the physical premises. This has now changed, the endpoints like Laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones are the new ‘edge’ of organizations. We had to ensure that the enterprise’s perimeter security extended to these devices to ensure our data was tamper-proof, no matter where it resided.
DC: As most of the workforce has gone remote, how is your organization maintaining timelines, employee experience, productivity etc.?
SR: One of the main factors to sustain productivity and work efficiency while working remotely is staying in touch with each other. To this end, RXIL has adopted a cloud-based office productivity suite which ensures that we as a team collaborate effectively no matter where we work from.
DC: In the wake of the new normal, where every organization is now accepting WFH as a given, how do you think organizations can leverage digital technologies like cloud for collaborative and flawless functioning?
SR: Organizations are finally acknowledging the power of cloud infrastructure. Easy scalability, always-on resiliency, advanced security and seamless disaster recovery – these and many other advantages that are native to public cloud infrastructure – makes cloud adoption a business prerequisite for FinTech companies like ours. We pride ourselves in being a cloud-first company, and have a multi-cloud strategy. We run our TReDS platform on Oracle’s second-generation cloud infrastructure. For office productivity and collaboration, we work with another cloud provider. The current unforeseen global business climate has further strengthened our belief that organizations like ours need to make cloud the default choice – perhaps the only choice sometimes, unless there is a really compelling reason to not do so!
DC: What are some of the latest digital initiatives you’ve rolled out in the recent past to streamline organizational processes and improve operational efficiencies?
SR: During these unprecedented times, a key challenge we tackled was to move away from the traditional, paper-based onboarding of new MSME customers. We introduced a digital onboarding platform to empower SMEs to remotely upload their documents with ease. Using APIs, we’ve integrated the onboarding application with various Government databases such as GSTN, MCA etc. to procure the necessary information. We’ve also implemented e-Signing and e-Stamping solutions to further reduce manual intervention as part of the onboarding procedure.
From our customers’ point of view, this has accelerated the process turnaround time phenomenally. With all prerequisites in order, an MSME vendor can get on-boarded and start actively transacting on our platform in just a day. In effect, we’ve brought down the onboarding time of an MSME vendor, from weeks to under just a few hours.
Another thing we did was to transform our integration services, by hosting RXIL Rest APIs on Oracle Cloud’s API gateway. By virtue of assigning unique OAuth tokens for each and every API consumer (Buyer or Account Aggregator or Financier), only enabling role-based access to data/information (i.e. need-based access enablement), thereby preempting data theft/misuse. Further, we’ve added one additional layer of source IP whitelisting – with this in place, both the identity and access is locked down to a specific entity – this helps us make the API integration between RXIL and our customers completely secure and tamper-proof.
DC: Do you think technology is core to RXIL’s future growth and success? How are you focusing on digital innovation?
SR: Absolutely. Every organization must realize that it’s important to innovate, or risk being left behind. We’re reimagining customer experience with several digital innovations. These include:
- Bidding Bots: These are fully configurable, rule-based bots that financiers can use to place bids on instruments, so they can better compete against bots of other financiers in order to garner more share of premium corporate invoices.
- TReDS Message Broker (TMB): We’ve drawn on the power of Oracle cloud’s API gateway and created a much more secure API integration layer, which has brought down the integration timeline from months to just a few days.
- E-Sign and E-Stamp: Capability to dynamically generate vendor agreements, aided by Aadhaar OTP based e-signing solutions and e-stamp integrations for enabling single window application and agreement creation, resulting in signing and stamping all in one go.
DC: You have deployed Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). How has the experience been? How has the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Autonomous Database helped you reap business benefits?
SR: By running our platforms on OCI, we’ve acquired greater business agility to introduce new features, functionalities and enhancements much faster. Leveraging OCI, we’ll also look to reduce the TReDS transaction cycle times by ~30% -40%. So along with faster application performance, we’ll be able to significantly enhance the customer experience with faster time to market for new financial services/products. By virtue of this being an OPEX IT model, we’re automatically experiencing superior cloud economics, with cost savings in the range of ~30% -40% vis-à-vis a traditional on-premises IT setup.
We have been using Oracle Autonomous Database as our MIS Platform and tapping its advanced ML capabilities to better create invoice forecasting trends. Besides this, we’re also leveraging its outliers logic to compile fraud monitoring updates and have started moving our monolithic applications to container-based micro-services architecture.
By having them as a strategic partner, we will look to take advantage of Oracle’s high-end cloud innovations in our growth journey.