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Digital Transformation And Legacy Infrastructure Modernization In Banking Sector

by Ashu Gupta, Head-IT, PNB MetLife November-2015

PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited (PNB MetLife) is one of the fastest growing life insurance companies in the country, offering the best suited life insurance policy & plans such as monthly income, retirement and saving plans. PNB MetLife is present in over 150 locations across the country and serves customers in more than 8,000 locations through its bank partnerships with PNB, JKB and Karnataka Bank Limited.

Banking industry and Digital Technologies are no longer strangers to each other. With majority of banks insisting on cashless and paperless payment modes, Information Technology has become an important tool for effective tool for an efficient banking system. An April 2015 PWC report titled, “Logging into digital banking,” which explores Indian banks’ foray in technology says while the country is already the third largest market by internet users in the world, after the US and China, it is likely to overtake the US by 2015. More significantly, India bypassed the desktop based internet access, with mobile being the preferred point. With 74% of the population owning a mobile phone, that’s a massive market to tap.

IT challenges come from the business challenges to become more customer-centric, constantly changing the regulatory landscape, managing risks and selling out with the least possible human interaction. Considering the business benefits of straight through processing and 24*7 system availability requirements, there is greater demand for integration — information fluency of siloed IT systems across an enterprise. These silos are divided along both business lines and functions, such as underwriting and claims. In addition, the insurance industry is facing once-in-a-generation disruption. Consumers are demanding insurers with more fluid services such as 24x7 access to product information, product purchase or carrier reps via the web, mobile devices and social media. Insurers today seek to reach their customers across a variety of interactive digital channels that gives the customers access to information, product purchase options across devices and platforms, anytime and anywhere. This multi-channel approach is increasingly imperative for insurers and is both a challenge and opportunity for them.

Virtually all insurers are moving towards a more customer-centric view of their products and services, and technology is a critical enabler of novel approaches to customer segmentation, of retention strategies and cross-sell strategies, and integrated and cross channel customer servicing. Simply put, technology is the means for insurers to deal with customers anywhere, anytime, on their terms.

The near universal adoption of social media by a younger-skewing demographic, coupled with mobile platforms – i.e., smart phones and tablets – has accelerated and cemented a real-time, virtually 24/7 connectedness in this group. They interact digitally almost constantly; researching products and services, buying, socializing, opining, ‘listening’ and seeking advice and validation. For this younger cohort, e-mail and desk-top computers are as quaint as black rotary telephones. If insurers want to reach them, they must reach them where and how they live – online and on the move. In the process, they must also accommodate their conflicting demands for both openness and privacy.

 Leveraging digital touch points to educate and communicate with customers more frequently and more personally also promotes engagement and deepens relationships. Various customer engagement tools build company’s brand by providing a broad range of tips and information on everything from healthy cooking, playing, exercising to career management and others.

The right software choice is also an important area to look over.
With time processing has turned out to be increasingly complex, time sensitive and data dependent. Consequently, new and emerging technologies that enable greater information sharing and collaboration have shattered the barriers which were intrinsic to traditional processing, making it more critical than ever for customers, vendors and professionals to work in concert to process insurance in a seamless and efficient manner.

Insurers face a challenging environment where traditional products are becoming commodities, and their success depends on having insights into what customers are seeking. Against that backdrop, insurers that can effectively use data to drive improved enterprise-wide decision-making and responsiveness will find themselves among the market winners. CRM systems helps us in getting unified view of the customer, understand their life stage, cross-selling the right products to them and providing right customer service.

It seems certain that no industry or company is immune to the ongoing transformation in human interaction. The challenge for the life insurance industry is to catch up, keep up, and get ahead. With the on-going IT transformation Analytics, Digital transformation and IT operational excellence will pick up pace. CIOs today are becoming more prominent across the C-suite. And so they’re better positioned to drive investments in new technologies and facilitate greater cooperation among systems managers and departmental heads to secure business objectives.

Many insurers are struggling to find the right organizational structure to enable and improve multichannel distribution and deliver a consistent customer experience, and therefore CIOs should act both as enabler and consultant. The use of mobile technologies to empower customers will be an important portion of the CIO's agenda. (As told to Deepshikha Singh)