Aruna Rao Sr. EVP and Group CTO, Kotak Mahindra Bank

Enterprises across sectors are increasingly focusing on new technologies to improve their operational efficiency and service delivery. In the past one year, all organisations, irrespective of their size, industry and focus area, have undergone digital transformation. Tech­nologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and big data analytics have seen high adoption rates amongst organisations. Interestingly, various state governments have also partnered with technology companies to establish incubation centres to promote the development and adoption of new-age technologies. Going forward, enterprises will have to work on developing skill-sets to leverage these technologies. Also, this will raise data protection and security concerns. Technology experts from leading enterprises discuss the key technology trends and the way forward…

What were the key technology trends that shaped the Indian enterprise space in 2018?

For decades, IT has helped improve the productivity of operations staff through automation of business processes, optical character recognition and magnetic ink character recognition for cheque processing, etc. In the past year or two, a new set of technologies has emerged to take productivity to the next level. Robotic pro­cess automation (RPA) is one such technology. Any repetitive activity that does not need decision-making can benefit from this technology.

At Kotak, we have seen a reduction in turnaround time with the use of RPA from three days to three minutes in some customer-facing operations. The results have been equally good for internal IT support operations. The RPA automation of 25 processes has helped save 5 FTE (full-time equivalent). RPA can be combined with machine language/AI to automate more sophisticated operations like fraud detection in cheque processing.

Emerging technologies also enable us to reimagine the process itself, rather than just automating it. Mechanisms such as biometrics-based authentication rather than paper-based authentication can en­tirely change the process.

There has been an explosion of new technologies ranging from analytics, natural language processing, to cloud. Their success, however, depends on how they are applied and leveraged to improve customer experience and deliver business value.

What is the current trend in adoption of new-age technologies among Indian enterprises?

One of the direct consequences of a digital play is data explosion. Each organisation has to develop technologies and strategies to manage the volume, velocity and variety of data. It is an area where application, in­frastructure, security and data governance have to creatively blend to ensure customer delight.

Kotak has established an upgraded structured Enterprise Data Warehouse, an IQ platform for rapid processing, and a governance framework to decide to whom data can be made available. It has also deployed change data capture tools to extract data from core product processors without impacting online applications. Kotak has also established a data lake for unstructured and online data.

AI is applied to the structured and un­structured data to solve a variety of business and operational problems. At Kotak, AI is used to improve the voice bot experience as well.

“Each organisation has to develop technologies and strategies to manage the volume, velocity and variety of data. It is an area where application, infrastructure, security and data governance have to creatively blend to ensure customer delight.” Aruna Rao

What are the key challenges faced by enterprises while adopting and managing new technologies?

Each technology brings its own challen­ges. For example, in natural language processing, intensive research on customer behaviour has to precede the actual technology implementation. Then accents and local dialects have to be factored in. How­ever, there are also some common challenges that all new technology implementations need to address, such as change management for the users of the new technology and new cybersecurity challenges specific to that technology.

What is the government’s role in increasing the uptake of new-age technologies?

IndiaStack, set up by the government, off­ers infrastructure services and other facilities, such as the India QR co­de which pro­­vides a means of making payments on the mobile device without the need for cash or plastic money. Digilocker enables the storage of digital documents securely. Banks and other financial institutions can develop customer solutions by building on this infrastructure.

Which technology trends are likely to dominate Indian enterprises in 2019?

In recent times, much of the discussion is around digital transformation. The term implies a one-time process to transform into a new way of working. Gartner has started to use the term “Continuous Next” when talking about digital innovation. In other words, there has to be a continuous testing of new ideas and solutions to meet customer expectations.

Meanwhile, the process of developing apps has to be more agile with devops em­bedded into it. The architecture needs to evolve to facilitate rapid changes throu­gh microservices. On the infrastructure side, cloud native hosting and deployments wi­th containers and kubernetes will be­come important.