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Innovation is the key

By Ashwani Mishra

Added 22 April 2010

Constant innovation is required to meet both transient and persistent business needs


Any rapidly growing, technology-enabled organisation is bound to face challenges along the way. Clearly, therefore, technology strategy should be designed for change, interoperability, agility and working around such challenges.

As an example, the increased importance of customer retention led to the mushrooming of new and innovative products variants, often manufactured by different teams. This, in turn, created a major challenge of maintaining a single version of customer relationships. We worked on unifying our data sources and invested in a business intelligence (BI) framework - the first initiative of its kind in the banking industry in India. These investments, coupled with data quality initiatives, helped us deliver consistent, reliable and accessible information offering a 360 degrees view of our customers.

Earlier, many decisions were taken either on intuition or domain expertise. We had little information to accurately answer qualitative questions like who were our most profitable customers or which ones were likely to attrite etc? We also felt the need to use forecasting models for resource planning and allocation. Taking these elements into account we designed our initiative around the philosophy of establishing a BI Competency Centre using the core objectives of the organisation viz. growth in sales revenue through new customer acquisition, improved customer retention and reduced sales, market and service costs as guiding lights.

The BI journey started with building MIS and reporting capabilities for credit cards and, with time, covered the entire retail segment. Any strategic or operational decision today is empowered by BI in some way or the other. Decision making is increasingly an objective data driven process.

The growing trend is for customers to use all available channels. In fact different channels today complement each other. Post banking hours, the customer can now take advantage of the myriad options available 24x7 at a time and place convenient to him. Innovation initiatives have helped in setting up direct customer facing automated sales and service channels offering a richer customer experience. Here again, our BI capability has helped us optimally deploy multiple channels like call center, ATM, internet banking, mobile banking by transforming them from mere transaction points to active marketing and sales channels. This, in turn, has led to a decrease in the operating costs and increased productivity.

Today, all echelons in the bank have adopted BI based decisioning. The current areas of operation span the entire spectrum of conventional and new age BI space viz. MIS & reporting, business activity monitoring, business analytics, segmentation, Event Based Marketing, Campaign Management, Portfolio Management, Predictive Modeling and optimisation. We are confident that meaningful innovations will allow us to continue to delight and retain our existing customers while attracting new ones as well.

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