Ex­per­i­ment­ing with new ideas; Dis­card­ing those that don’t scale up

Banking Frontiers - - Digital Transformation - Manoj@bank­ingfron­tiers.com ravi@glo­cal­in­fo­mart.com

Sourabh Chat­ter­jee, head – Dig­i­tal & Tech­nol­ogy at Ba­jaj Al­lianz Gen­eral Insurance, shares the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion plan of the com­pany:

Manoj Agrawal: What are the lessons from dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion progress in 2017?

Sourabh Chat­ter­jee: At Ba­jaj Al­lianz Gen­eral Insurance, we are on a 3-year trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney, 2016-17 be­ing the first year. We have di­vided our jour­ney into 3 parts – run, trans­form and in­no­vate - and are re­plac­ing the build­ing blocks one by one by us­ing tech­nol­ogy. We are work­ing with start-ups who come up with var­i­ous ideas, how­ever we dis­con­tinue work­ing on ideas which don’t scale up. There are some fail­ures, when an idea with a big busi­ness prom­ise may not scale up with de­sired busi­ness ben­e­fits.

Dig­i­tal is an overused word that brings lot of ex­pec­ta­tions from IT to de­liver quickly. I feel that not all point so­lu­tions scale up since they are not en­ter­prise grade. For in­stance, our chat­bot BO­ING is such a huge suc­cess that it has now be­come a chan­nel in it­self and also a chal­lenge for us to in­te­grate it with en­tire in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Any huge suc­cess cre­ates a new chal­lenge. Start-ups need to pre­pare for en­ter­prise grade so­lu­tions.

What kind of plans are there for 2018?

The year 2017-18 is the year to ‘trans­form’ for us. We con­tinue to im­prove and leverage in­no­va­tions that we started last year. We have the free­dom to choose on things we fo­cus on in the cur­rent year.

We have an an­nual op­er­at­ing plan for each year on the ac­tiv­i­ties that will be new and thing that we will con­tinue from the past years. If there is a large busi­ness need across the or­ga­ni­za­tion, I would rather choose an en­ter­prise grade player. For smaller point so­lu­tions, I would choose a start-up over a mod­ule from a large player, which costs higher and the de­liv­ery of the fi­nal prod­uct also takes longer.

Small com­pa­nies are faster as they are hun­gry for work and need to es­tab­lish them­selves, on the other hand large com­pa­nies have full stomach and hence de­liver late.

What dig­i­tal in­no­va­tions are planned for cus­tomers that are not dig­i­tally savvy?

We don’t be­lieve in ev­ery­thing be­ing dig­i­tal just for the sake of it. The off­line world is go­ing to stay. Hence, we are fo­cus­ing on omni-chan­nel. For the peo­ple in hinterland, we are mak­ing things mul­ti­lin­gual. Voice is the next big wave in terms of cus­tomer ser­vice. Many cus­tomers are rather com­fort­able talk­ing to a per­son and get their things done. Al­though, when it comes to pay­ment they would pre­fer us­ing cheque or dig­i­tal medium. Even the govern­ment ini­tia­tives like ‘Dig­i­tal In­dia’ are giv­ing the much-needed boost to com­pa­nies to pro­vide sim­ple and in­stant so­lu­tions to the cus­tomers.

The ecosys­tem seems to be chang­ing from few large ap­pli­ca­tions to mul­ti­ple small ap­pli­ca­tions? How will ap­pli­ca­tion man­age­ment change?

Ap­pli­ca­tion Port­fo­lio Man­age­ment (APM) is a con­tin­u­ous jour­ney. There is never a steady state in APM. We re­visit our ap­pli­ca­tions ev­ery 3-6 months on us­age and per­for­mance. I feel that plan­ning for ap­pli­ca­tions needs to be ro­bust and there should be no du­pli­ca­tion. Devel­oper op­er­a­tions plays a ma­jor role in en­sur­ing this.

What is the re­sponse from legacy tech­nol­ogy ven­dors to the emer­gence of startup fin­techs?

Big com­pa­nies un­der­stand the strengths and weak­nesses of start-ups. Ad­van­tage of work­ing with big com­pa­nies is that they have money and will in­vest in an idea. They are a safer bet and have a lot of re­sources. How­ever, work­ing with start-ups is a gam­ble. They come up with promis­ing ideas, but later lose the mo­men­tum and scal­ing.

How does dig­i­tal im­pact the part­ner link­ages?

There’s a need for more part­ner­ships be­tween banks and in­sur­ers. In insurance, mo­tor and health are based on ecosys­tems of garages, hospi­tals, etc. Off­line man­age­ment for these is grad­u­ally shift­ing to­wards dig­i­tal.

Sourabh Chat­ter­jee sees the dig­i­tal jour­ney to be an om­nichan­nel ef­fort - like multi-lin­gual, voice in­ter­ac­tion

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