Computerization in banking sector started during 1980s and is still evolving with the advent of new technologies. Banking sector since the last decade is constantly investing on IT to enhance their capabilities by adopting new technologies. Technology adoption is largely driven by changing business trends and globalization which has a direct impact on banks as customer needs evolve in the form of online banking services and transactions. Banks are rolling out core banking solutions in cloud SaaS model to benefit their customers with online access.
In addition to these changes, the increased trade flows within regions enabled by the world-wide-web and e-commerce is contributing to IT investments and latest technology adoption by banks. For instance, the use of smart phones by customers is forcing banks to rapidly improve their online services. The Indian banking sector is likely to witness huge growth prospects in the coming years and will extend into the next decade. According to KPMG-CII report India is expected to become the fifth largest banking industry in the world by 2020 and will be the third largest in the world by 2025 as the country’s GDP growth appears promising.
Key business drivers for IT adoption in banking
These promising growth estimates create a need for banks to revamp their existing IT infrastructures and move to the next tier in IT outsourcing for online services. As banks are becoming more customer-centric, they naturally need IT to manage the following aspects:
- Understand customer insights using analytics, strengthen customer engagement and relationships
- Enhance customer services and efficiency through message centers
- Identify potential for growth using business intelligence tools and big data
- Explore social media platforms for targeting customers
- Standardize products and reduce lead time using big data analytics
- Effectively develop low risk products
- Compliance to statutory regulations and international standards
Banks are high consumers of IT services and technology in their core services to achieve cost efficiencies and scalability. Some of the recent trends driving IT adoption in banks are explored below:
- Innovative customer engagement: Digital channels such as social media networks provide access to large number of users. These channels present banks with unique opportunities to deliver customized solutions and services. Digital channels also foster communication with customers at individual levels thus strengthening relationships.
- Data is fuelling innovation in banks: Data available in various sources on the internet provides unique opportunity for banks to capture them and use it to their advantage. IT platforms and tools can analyze huge volumes of data for identifying meaningful information which banks can use in their product and service strategies. Big data tools and in-memory analytics are mostly used by banks to draw insights and realign their products to satisfy existing customers and to leverage new customers.
- Security systems to minimize fraud: Digital transactions from multiple devices are proliferating at high rates. This proliferation also opens up security issues because banking transactions online must be protected from hackers who try to exploit vulnerabilities in the systems and steal sensitive data. The increasing portfolio of products and delivery channels and trends such as e-commerce and mobile commerce with payment gateways need to be secured well to prevent data leaks. Cyber risk management in banks is quite complex, however IT outsourcing from data centers can take care of this critical area and prevent data theft or fraud. Banks in order to secure their data and services need to engage sophisticated security systems which are ensured by data centers and cloud service providers.
- Mobile banking: Customers are increasingly using mobile devices largely in banking transactions. Most of the banks offer mobile banking services to their customers and are adopting this technology to develop client relationships. With mobile banking customers can check their account information, withdrawals, payments, transfers and generate mini statements, etc. all from their smart phone. Mobile banking is a popular trend adopted by banks in servicing customers.
- Business Intelligence: Banks stand to gain from predictive modeling and analysis to fine tune their product and service strategies. For instance, analytics helps banks to invest in channels that offer greater potential for ROI based on customer behaviour and are flexible to market demands. BI involves predictive modeling and analytics which require flexible computing capacities with centralized data stores. Banks adopting such IT systems benefit through lower operational costs, flexibility and deployment capabilities to result in improved time to market.
- Core-Banking on SaaS: Banks provide core banking services online for customers to enhance significant efficiencies in their operations. Implementing core banking services on the cloud SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model offers the ability to service customers anytime, anywhere and even when they are mobile. The pay-as-you-go pricing model in SaaS allows banks to save costs on deployment and maintenance of hardware and software as opposed to in-house IT.
Key benefits realized by IT adoption
- Banks are able to understand customers well through social networking platforms and other digital channels. Using these channels banks strategize their services for targeting individuals and able to efficiently communicate information.
- Analytics and business intelligence tools support banks with strategies for engaging customers, capturing potential customers and to become more competitive
- Mobile banking services is becoming a preferred mode to ensure customer satisfaction, offering convenience to customers
- Cloud SaaS service models provide the advantage of scalable IT infrastructures and multiple operating platforms for deploying applications along with infinite resources thus saving banks from capital expenditure on purchasing hardware and hiring IT personnel.
Banks having the ability to access data anytime and derive information are likely to be more competitive in responding to customer needs quickly. With latest trends and user friendly technologies in IT, the banking sector is poised to increase their operational efficiency and profits by responding quickly in the competition.