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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2011 - issue > CIO Insights

Changing Perception of Technology and Customers

Jaya Smitha Menon
Friday, April 29, 2011
Jaya Smitha Menon
We spend over $1 billion in technology. IT has really evolved in banking. 30 years ago banks started investing in technology really in the back office as an efficiency glide and then we took it into the middle office and then to the front office. In each case enabling strategies and also, in a lot of ways, allowing banks to be skilled players. What has happened in the last ten years, specifically now, is that IT has become the business. For a lot of innovations that we are doing in the IT and the banking services, information is the core. Whether it is in how we package the product or how we use information differentiation in terms of delivery or creating a customer experience, either in the three dimensions information becomes the key differentiator.

Another key differentiator is customer experience. Enabling IT, we have created the concept of Virtual Wallet. This is a product offering that we have created for GenY. What we normally do when we think about a new product is to think about, what all different packages we can provide, how can we package it, and so on. But in this case we started by thinking how the customers think about money and then how can we create an experience that they would associate in a compelling fashion that would make us a compelling choice. We had some very interesting learning, for example, they don’t like to think about accounts. As a bank we were on the business of thinking about accounts, but they would think about money as a resource, money is to pay bills, to do some projects, and some money is to save. The point is how we approach the customers is changing. We understood how they think about money. We took this information about financials, about a customer, and thought about how we can make it more meaningful, more relevant, more individualized, so that it is more customized for a customer. That product has just done phenomenally wellq1. At GenY it has created a real buzz. The underlying thing is not that how technology played a role, but how really we mined the information to think about going to the market and then leveraging technology to be both the enabler and also to create a possibility.

There is always a belief that IT would enable a business possibility. But my view is IT also creates business possibilities. And this is a very good example where we wouldn’t have thought about an experience that we could create until we said we could bring different technologies together to create an experience in a different fashion than we have created before.

Technology can influence business models
We often hear the statement that a CIO has to stay very business focused. It is true. But when I say business focus it is not limited to working towards business priority, but more on what is the business outcome of what you are looking to do. We can talk about many technologies, like virtualization, cloud, and a whole range of things that we are really excited about, but at the end of the day you have to see what business outcome are you really creating and is that business outcome compelling. When that business outcome is compelling for the company, more often technologies are the center. It is more about bringing out a business outcome that is compelling. For an example, if you look at the music industry you can see the transition from LPs to cassettes to CDs to iPods. If you think about how the technology has changed, quality of music has improved, but the real story in my view is that iPod was the trendsetter. What it fundamentally changed was how customers were empowered to really listen to the music the way they want. You don’t have to buy the entire album, you can order single songs and play it the way you want to play. The customer really became the driver of this industry.

Perception on risk management

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