In this context, he says what the bank ideally plans and implements in 2015 will be suitable for a transaction volume that is projected for 2020 – may it be in terms of number of customers, number of debit cards, number of ATMs or number of internet banking users. The mandate is for very aggressive growth in customer, accounts and transactions growth.
“Today 80% of our network circuits connecting the branches are 64 kbps,” says Bhasin. “We also use 3500 VSAT links for remote areas and areas where connectivity is not provided by BSNL. Our aim is to convert all the network circuits to 2 mbps across the bank for primary network link and deploy redundant link of same capacity based on different network technology. We would have 2 mbps + 2 mbps Active- Active links. This is a major task involving substantially high investment to improve the infrastructure. This will have significant impact on customer service. This network architecture would bring down the network outage at branches to minimum. Our main network service provider is BSNL, but we also have Railtel, Airtel, Vodafone, Tata and Sify providing primary as well as alternate connectivity. For the communication network, we have an effective BCP in place enabling efficient switch-over in case of a failure. We will have alternate connectivity to branches through RF, 3G/4G, VPN over Broadband to have effective network BCP in place,” explains Bhasin.
“One of the main advantages of having network transformation by deploying 2+2 mbps network links – is that we can service our customers in branches efficiently, bust the long queues to make systems perform faster, grow our loan portfolio in a swift and efficient manner. Such a network facilitates easier and faster transmission of digitized KYC documents and quicker decision making” says he.
Bhasin says as a fallout of the digitization
endeavour, the bank is now working on a two-speed architecture to enable it to work in an agile manner and implement digitally innovative solutions faster. “We have launched ‘SBI Enterprise Service Bus’, which essentially is an API stack of interfaces for intranet and internet, based B2B/B2C partners/customers’ interactions. Any FinTech company can partner with SBI to develop innovative customer service or payments or loans and financial services applications. It is a significant step and our contribution in helpiing enterprises towards achieving Digital India goals. We believe with our brand equity and our strong technology infrastructure, we wil be able to develop this on a substantial basis. We will also provide technology help to the enterprises. We are partnering with e-commerce firms like Snapdeal, Amazon, Flipkart and PayPal on an ongoing basis in this effort,” he explains.
SBI’s data warehouse has over 120 TB of data and receives an additional 4 TB of banking data in a day. Various technology optimizations have been carried out to reduce data latency to T + 1 level between data warehouse and transactional core banking systems. There is huge technology effort underway to compress large amount of data generated daily to optimize the storage and operations cost. The bank plans to build about 60 models in the next year.
The bank is also leveraging Big Data and social media to generate very useful insights for addressing customer complaints and arresting delinquency by tracking defaulters using Facebook, Linkedln and other social media sites. The bank is developing technology frameworks based on various open source toolkits to develop analytics models.
“Let me now come to one of our nextgen concepts – SBI INTOUCH. It is a landmark in our digitization efforts. We have 7 such outlets now – we call them digital stores – in 6 cities – 1 each in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad and 2
in Bangalore. They are primarily meant for customer acquisition and some basic services like cash withdrawal and other account services and loan enquiries are also offered. One of the key things that these stores offer is instant savings bank account opening and personalized debit card in 15-20 minutes. These stores are empowered with interactive LCDs mounted on walls, which will help the customers to map out their financial plans using our expertise and assistance. One can also get instant loan approvals, assistance in choosing investment portfolios and access to latest mutual funds. Banking experts will be available for consultation through video conferencing. There are cash deposit machines there where one can get instant receipt of the cash deposited. One of the intentions of these stores is to generate leads and cross sell various banking products offered by the bank along with providing quicker and more efficient services to attract the rising users of such facilities among the younger generation in the country,” says Bhasin.
He says the bank would open 250 more SBI INTOUCH branches. One of the drivers is to create a nextgen branch where the human intervention is minimum and most of the tasks are performed as self- service. The staff deployed at the branches will be used for more productive work like sales and cross selling the products.
Bhasin says the bank is marching ahead on its digial transformation highway with more mobility apps. There are going to be many more customer facing business processes digitized and made available on the mobile channel applications to migrate customers from branch outlets to mobile for 24 x 7 anytime, anywhere banking and payments needs, ensuring financial inclusion for wider spectrum of India. “The vision is to develop the ecosystem while inviting innovative payments solutions providers to partner with us with the innovative payments platforms,” concludes Bhasin.