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Infosys Finacle: a digital disruption platform for finance giants

Infosys Finacle CEO Sanat Rao offers insight on banking trends for 2019.

CEO and Global Head of Finacle, Sanat Rao, discusses the trends set to disrupt banking in 2019 and how the Infosys-owned platform guides financial institutions through their technology transformation journeys.

 

Globally, banks and financial institutions are transforming to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiency. Industry-leading digital banking solution Finacle, produced by Edgeverve Systems, a subsidiary of tech giant Infosys, helps drive these digital transformations. With services being used by banks in over 100 countries, Finacle’s platform offers global knowledge and experience with a keen focus on finance. CEO and Global Head of Finacle Sanat Rao says that this experience is a key reason banks are choosing Finacle to guide them through the new digital landscape, coupled with the fact that it offers solutions tailored to the finance industry. “While our products and solutions cater for requirements such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI), many of which are cross-industry, we are an industry specific business. We focus on banking – that’s where our expertise is,” he explains.

Finacle’s focus is core banking infrastructure, part of the back end which Rao describes as “the engine that fuels interactions with customers”. He adds: “Over the years, we have been able to build an understanding of what goes into the engine room of the technology department of a bank. Today, that understanding is very important as digital becomes more prevalent.” As open banking prompts organisations to leverage technology like data analytics, it’s becoming even clearer how back end development can benefit the front-end user experience.

Embracing new technology trends

Finacle has examined what the new banking landscape means for existing institutions and the challenges it might pose in its annual Digital Trends in Banking report. The organisation has identified 12 key trends for 2019 – six on the business side and six on the technology side – and Rao outlined a few particular areas of interest to FinTech Magazine. “First and foremost, it is clear banking is the area where there is maximum pace of emergence of new technology. The evolution and adoption of new technology is facilitating, most importantly, the way customers interact with enterprises.” Rao cites other notable trends as changing customer expectations, banks increasingly bringing technology to the fore as an important strategic function, and digital disruption leading to the emergence of fintechs. “Fintechs started off in a love-hate relationship with banks, but today a lot of banks are working closely with fintechs as we are ourselves,” Rao comments.

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More so than AI and Big Data, which are already proving disruptive, a new technology Rao is particularly excited about – and one he feels has yet to be explored to its full potential - is blockchain. “Financial services has been one of the braver industries in experimenting with blockchain,” he comments. “I think it has the potential to disrupt parts of the banking industry and make processes more democratic and secure, certainly more transparent to stakeholders, as well as bringing about a lot more efficiency.” Rao says that while the technology has yet to “sweep” the industry, banks are showing more interest in proof of concepts to understand how it might be monetised. “There are use cases which are of common interest: cross border payments, remittances, trade finance, digital identity and so on,” he explains. “The fact that a blockchain network is more secure, transparent and efficient is largely understood. The focus now is on monetisation.”

Transforming banking behemoths

Globally, banks and financial institutions are transforming to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiency. Industry-leading digital banking solution Finacle, produced by Edgeverve Systems, a subsidiary of tech giant Infosys, helps drive these digital transformations. With services being used by banks in over 100 countries, Finacle’s platform offers global knowledge and experience with a keen focus on finance. CEO and Global Head of Finacle Sanat Rao says that this experience is a key reason banks are choosing Finacle to guide them through the new digital landscape, coupled with the fact that it offers solutions tailored to the finance industry. “While our products and solutions cater for requirements such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI), many of which are cross-industry, we are an industry specific business. We focus on banking – that’s where our expertise is,” he explains.

Finacle’s focus is core banking infrastructure, part of the back end which Rao describes as “the engine that fuels interactions with customers”. He adds: “Over the years, we have been able to build an understanding of what goes into the engine room of the technology department of a bank. Today, that understanding is very important as digital becomes more prevalent.” As open banking prompts organisations to leverage technology like data analytics, it’s becoming even clearer how back end development can benefit the front-end user experience.

Embracing new technology trends

Finacle has examined what the new banking landscape means for existing institutions and the challenges it might pose in its annual Digital Trends in Banking report. The organisation has identified 12 key trends for 2019 – six on the business side and six on the technology side – and Rao outlined a few particular areas of interest to FinTech Magazine. “First and foremost, it is clear banking is the area where there is maximum pace of emergence of new technology. The evolution and adoption of new technology is facilitating, most importantly, the way customers interact with enterprises.” Rao cites other notable trends as changing customer expectations, banks increasingly bringing technology to the fore as an important strategic function, and digital disruption leading to the emergence of fintechs. “Fintechs started off in a love-hate relationship with banks, but today a lot of banks are working closely with fintechs as we are ourselves,” Rao comments.

More so than AI and Big Data, which are already proving disruptive, a new technology Rao is particularly excited about – and one he feels has yet to be explored to its full potential - is blockchain. “Financial services has been one of the braver industries in experimenting with blockchain,” he comments. “I think it has the potential to disrupt parts of the banking industry and make processes more democratic and secure, certainly more transparent to stakeholders, as well as bringing about a lot more efficiency.” Rao says that while the technology has yet to “sweep” the industry, banks are showing more interest in proof of concepts to understand how it might be monetised. “There are use cases which are of common interest: cross border payments, remittances, trade finance, digital identity and so on,” he explains. “The fact that a blockchain network is more secure, transparent and efficient is largely understood. The focus now is on monetisation.”

Transforming banking behemoths

The new financial landscape creates particular challenges for the larger, traditional banks with mammoth operations to transform as well as significant legacy systems. Finacle has partnered with giants like Santander UK and the Australian Military Bank to help them on their journeys. “Santander is a good example of a leading institution that has begun making a change in a very important area. Today, hoarding cash and not deploying it in a more efficient manner is very costly to institutions – therefore Santander UK is going to leverage Finacle. They will introduce an interbank cash management portal for all of their corporate customers. It will be fully integrated with secure cash management services, available across multiple devices. This will obviously give users a lot more flexibility and freedom. We will be working with them towards greater personalisation,” Rao explains.  

“At the end of the day, as technology becomes stronger and easier to use, the proof of the pudding will be in how quickly a bank can leverage this new technology to launch products because customers are hungry for new innovations,” he adds. “Digital no longer means just changing one of the customer interaction channels – an omnichannel experience is key. While AI, machine learning and automation have received a lot of attention and obviously feed into this, we must remember that the underlying intent is to ensure the experience for the end customer, whether corporate or individual, changes substantially.”

In helping financial institutions achieve this aim, Finacle is very much a collaborative partner rather than a traditional software vendor of of-the-shelf solutions. “There is a lot of onus on banks today to ensure technology serves its purpose, and that what they do today is relevant for the next five, 10 or 15 years,” Rao comments. Finacle’s understanding of the global market and the challenges its report outlines is key here, as well as being a responsible vendor building sustainable relationships with clients. With many vendors, management is involved in selection, but then delegates to other members. However, Finacle connects with companies at senior level on both the business and technology sides. “There is executive sponsorship right up until the program is completed. I think this goes a long way in ensuring success, as well as bringing more certainty to a complex multi-year program,” says Rao.

In releasing its 2019 report, Finacle has illustrated its global knowledge of the impact digital disruption is having on banking and will continue to assist its clients with a keen focus on what is really important. “It is in our DNA to ensure that while we don’t dilute focus on the end consumer, that doesn’t come at the expense of recognising there’s a change happening in the organisation,” Rao asserts.

 

This article first appeared in the March issue of FinTech Magazine. 

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