Bank of India is in the process of implementing a digital strategy that it claims is unique:
Bank of India has developed a global digital strategy across its corporate finance, retail banking, SME/MSME finance and other business fronts. The strategy is unique because it plays different roles in each of these segments. In order to be successful, the bank has identified 3 key imperatives - customer centric, globally common and digitally connected. The bank’s general manager and CIO Sheoji Meena explains the importance of these imperatives: “From a digital perspective, customer centricity requires that the bank track metrics such as net promoter score to recognize and reward the segments they want to serve with valuable personalized services. We serve approximately 70 million accounts and operates in over 41 countries and the challenge is to deliver globally common services across all these markets. For instance, take the example of high net worth individuals. They do have certain globally common needs which we identify and help to address. Financial flows are digitizing, and we need to be in the middle of those flows to drive greater access to their core products through digital channels and strategic partnerships.”
BOI STAR APP
As part of the globally common enablers, the bank has come out with a retail banking app called ‘BOI Star’. It is now engaged in an ongoing process geared to achieve high levels of innovation despite its size and global footprint. The initiative now in progress is one of the ways to achieve this, claims Meena, adding innovative work with APIs opens up transformative potential through third party development.
The bank is readying for a major shift in its business. It will be coming out with ‘contextual banking’, supported by technology (Blockchain, Open API, social mining, fintech startups, etc), government and finance/risk professionals (innovating new regulatory models), marketers (creating new digital experiences) and data scientists (mining customer behaviors). According to Meena, contextual banking will radically change the way banking is done now. “It’s an evolving model, where financial products and services come to you at the place and time of need - and where you will not be asked to go out of your way to financially enable your life goals. This would be a fundamental shift. Banking will become life enablers where services are delivered in a contextual and embedded fashion across a variety of channels consistently. Banks create digital customer experiences based on your context with the help of data and technology while risk experts will ensure that these transactions are smooth, proregulatory and secure,” says he.
The bank has implemented ‘BOI Mobile’ with profiling facility. The app enables customers to register either as ‘view only’ or ‘fund transfer’ user. Meena explains: “Onboarding as a view user takes less than 20 seconds and fund transfer registration takes less than 30 seconds. The app is available in 9 vernacular languages besides Hindi and English. It is cost-effective.”
QR CASH, POS
The bank is implementing a QR code-based cash withdrawal facility from its ATMs and recyclers without the use of a debit or ATM card and the customers do not have to experience the inconvenience and security loopholes associated with cards. “We have successfully completed the Proof of Concept (PoC). This project will enable our customers to withdraw cash from ATMs and recyclers by scanning the QR code from our BOI BHIM UPI application. The solution has enhanced security for customers as there are no threats of card skimming and the transaction is authorized using UPI PIN. Moreover, the transaction is pre-staged which makes it fast and seamless,” elaborates Meena.
The bank places a great deal of importance on creating digital partnerships. The technology for UPI QR code-based cash withdrawal feature is powered by AGS Transact Technologies. It has proved to be a customer-friendly solution to provide seamless transaction flow, without any break in the transaction process (no OTP required) even in case of multiple cardless withdrawals. Meena feels that providing access to cash using QR code will provide the required push to adaption of QR form factor.
The bank is expected to roll out this service pan India in about 3-6 months. It has also approached NPCI to make this solution interoperable so that customers of every bank can derive benefits. Says Meena: “This
discourages use of plastic. We look forward to making this service interoperable, which would make payment industry eco-friendly. Remember UPI transactions had crossed 900 million in August 2019, and once this service becomes interoperable, the usage will increase multi-fold.”
The bank’s Smartbox is an end-to-end enterprise grade parcel locker technology. The solution is a locker inventory management tool, which is developed using mobile application technology. The lockers come with a software platform which can be further integrated with third party software. “Our Smartbox,” says Meena, “enables our customers to send and receive parcels/deliverables from the bank like cheque books, cards, welcome kits, internet banking kits etc. There is no dependency on the branch and the customers can directly collect the deliverables from the locker which is available 24x7. We have done one such implementation on pilot basis in one of our branches.”
The bank is an active member of the BankChain group and it has been developing services on blockchain. Meena says this is an ecosystem project and there are avenues for implementation of the solution along with other market participants. The power of blockchain, says he, comes from the fact that it can process transactions in a secured fashion and create a perfect and reliable digital record.
RPA-2 USE CASES
Another area where the bank has made significant progress is Robotic Process Automation. It is now in the process of integrating RPA for its internal standard processes, which would reduce the overall time taken for collecting, processing and presenting data and information. “As part of the POC, we are working on 2 use cases. One is where 3-way reconciliation is required after downloading files of different format from multiple sources. Another is data cleansing activity, which involves comparison of files and checking the same with CBS. The activity will also cleanse the legacy entries in the system,” reveals Meena.
GREEN IT - DMS
At present, the bank has a marker-checker concept for LCs and the documents are sent to a centralized department. “We are implementing a Document Management System (DMS) and are launching it in a pilot mode in some of our zones for account opening. We are also envisaging extending this for LC services. With the implementation of DMS, the documents can be shared directly with a centralized department without the need to send it physically. DMS is a step toward cost optimization, better backup, disaster recovery and Green IT,” says Meena.