Birlasoft focuses on Digital Services for BFSI
Banking | 12 min READ
    
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Shilpa Bhandari, SVP & Global Head, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, Birlasoft elucidates the different solutions targeted at different BFSI domains.
Shilpa Bhandari
Shilpa Bhandari

SVP and Global Head

BFSI

Birlasoft

 
What is Birlasoft’s exposure to BFSI and within that BFSI domain what are the solutions and services available?
Birlasoft has 4 key goal markets where we are focus on creating value and growing our business. BFSI is one of them. BFSI contributes to just under 20% of Birlasoft’s revenue. BFSI is a very large and wide industry segment. Within banking, insurance and financial segment given our scale and where the industry is headed, we are focused on different micro segments within that to be able create more differentiated values for our customers.
Within banking, our focus is in deep expertise around lending. The other area we focus on is payment and within payment, specifically in consumer payment and digital payment.
Birlasoft Focuses on Digital Services for BFSI | Shilpa Bhandari
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On the capital market side, a lot of the focus is on post-trade, as a infrastructure provider and as a key technology provider. In the insurance segment which is very large itself, we focus on our offerings to our customers on property and casualty as a subset of insurance and also specialty insurance and re-insurance.
Today, Birlasoft is a digital and domain partner, 60+% of the services provided to our customers will be classified as digital services. A lot of the work we are doing is around RPA, providing application modernization as well as new development in the BFSI market.
With BFSI contributing 20% to overall Birlasoft top line, how is the geographical exposure in that vertical?
The major markets where our customers are and we focus clearly are here in the United States. Within Europe, we are also present and the focus is on the large economies and English speaking economies which consist of UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland. We are also very uniquely core-BFSI focused in the India market.
In the India Singapore region our focus is to work with a number of banking and financial clients who have captives in India. In addition to that in areas where we have domain depth we are also looking to expanding our market presence in India from a self-view perspective. So these are the markets where our focus is spread in.
How are the Birlasoft BFSI solutions leveraging on newer technologies like RPA, chatbots and the likes?
At a very fundamental level the customers, whether it is a bank an insurer or a capital markets company, they are looking for IT service providers for solutions. The ability to provide solutions needs us to have the competency in different service offering and in many cases offering multiple of those solutions together.
One of the trends we are seeing is on end to end automation and look at solutions where customers can fundamentally improve­ a business sub-process by leveraging from a process perspective by RPA. On payment side, on digital lending side a lot of the work we are doing with some of the largest consumer finance and credit card providers here in the US to digitize the retail or the digital retail payment experience.
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Finally a very important area in this segment and capital market is risk. There is a lot of focus on an enterprise level how BFSI customers can mitigate the risk that is there in this process. So we are leveraging a number of digital technologies is in this area.
How would you analyse the impact of the pandemic on BFSI?
When the pandemic first hit the world it was mostly about the impact on the world. Bank, insurers everyone tried to grapple that what it actually means how long is it going to last. This led to the recognition that digital transformation has to be accelerated and different organizations based on the role they play in the market prioritize different things.
Large banks and financial institution needed to adopt to cloud in a big way. Cloud has been around for years but it saw the acceleration to modern from legacy system accelerating adoption towards public cloud. Our customers wanted to do rapid modernization around the core platforms. This certainly had an impact and brought cloud based modernization, legacy modernization and digital adoption to the forefront.
How do the Birlasoft solutions take care of multiple compliances across different geographies?
Our first focus was to work with our customers to move our associates from the in-office location. In our segment we have to comply with the standards, the security, the cyber-security risk standards of our customers. So our first task was to make our associates productive remotely while are able to comply with those standards.
Most institutions have realised that some form of remote working will continue. Some of our customers have declared that they will continue to be in campus while some of it will be in the hybrid node model, with a large virtual work force with their employers and employees. So it is a very interesting time and we will surely watch the evolution of it.
How is the BFSI sector looking at cybersecurity situation especially when this shift towards digital workforce is happening?
Initially the BFSI sector has laid a very heavy emphasis on security, cyber-security as a subset of that and risk. With the pandemic we saw a trigger to balance delivery of banking products and services to their end customers with the prevalent standards of security of remote work. We have worked with many customers involving our CISO organisation and the team to really get into the details with them to understand what short term can be taken. Also we are checking how over a longer term basis, we can implement new solutions, whether it is on data loss prevention or whether it is on remotely managing some of this compliance standards. I think we were really able to step in and help our customers to understand the choices they have and more so built the platform for the execution of those.
How did the approach with the CISOs change in the current scenario and how did it impact the existing SLAs?
Because of the unexpected nature of this pandemic and the primary focus being that there is no service disruption, we worked closely with the CISO organizations. In terms of support level associates are providing or the schedule of the delivery of a product or platform, we were in the background working with delivery in this case for a direct collaboration. So we were able to see a lot of collaboration with our customer organisations.
In terms of SLAs as far as I know we did not have a single miss on SLAs or a penalty that our customer had to put on us. I think this is a testimony of the collaborative nature and the fast response we were able to provide to our customers.
How did Birlasoft, the ISV partner and the customer manage to work remotely in this collaborative environment during the pandemic?
We did three things,
Communication and ongoing sharing of information in a structured way is a very important element to manage this transition from an office centric model to a remote centric model with various stakeholders involved.
We set up in the initial phase with our entire delivery organisation an overall communication centre. There were periodic exchanges with the clients.
We also ensured that we are personally reaching out to all the top clients with their senior stakeholders, CISO, partner organisation we all were communicating a lot and that helped very much.
How did Birlasoft look at balancing between retention of existing customers and acquisition of new customers?
We had to keep our eye on the existing customers even more to make sure that we are reachable to them on top as it related to deliverables and our teams were more in touch. The approach we followed was
We are looking at building expertise and deeper domain and business solutions focusing a certain set of micro verticals.
A lot of the customer spent a lot more time by the virtue of working remote not travelling on the other digital channel. Whether it is looking on LinkedIn or looking for information relevant to the problem that they are trying to solve.
We created a value based content assets. For example we ran webinars partnering with the analyst in this case the ISG who we work with on several projects, to talk about the problem with lack of automation, in the underwriter’s life.
It was a combination of highly targeted approach towards value creation at micro verticals where we believe we will continue to build strengths.
What were some of the use cases for these value-based content assets other than underwriters and insurers?
There are several use cases. One that comes to mind is where we put together a whole point of view on the cloud operating model and the employee experience in this new operating model. We did that by creating a landing page with specific content assets around it and this was on back of a conversation that we know was very important for one of the insurance reassurance client in the industry.
It is an industry wide issue that as your operating model is moving more and more into cloud how do you control your own employees or how do you provide better employee experience? We were on to amplifying that message as we thought that it was relevant and more and more insurers and enterprises will have to be agile in terms of reconcile and close books. So that was another example of messaging in a content in a campaign was very relevant that we worked on.
How is the exposure for Birlasoft BFSI from the Top 5 clients?
One of the prides that we take in our business that we are a concentrated business unlike other providers or business who often have the problem of long tail. In BFSI ,at Birlasoft we are concentrated with a set of large customer which I think is an asset because we can bring more value to them and bring more domain solutions. The data of the top 5 or top 10 clients are available at Birlasoft site as I will not publicly disclose their names.
Since Birlasoft BFSI does not have a long tail, does it mean your GTM focus more on upselling and cross selling different horizontal solutions?
Absolutely this has been one of the strategies we are focused on. Our approach to creating value and goal is very planned account centric approach, cross-selling, up-selling, co-selling and co-creating. In cases where we understand the clients are the ways we are trying to create more values for our customers and that process goes with our existing clients. So these are the ways we are trying to create more value for our customers.
Talking of co-creation are some of these solutions offered in a templatized or packaged software mode?
Today within our digitalised offering or digital service line we have a templatized approach of how can Birlasoft come in and run the ideation, starting with the basics of running ideation workshops to proof points or idea that the customers and us are thinking. We need to go further on creating rapid prototypes, we have a framework, we regularly run hackathons with some of our key clients and partners like Microsoft, SAP and others. Whether it is about a high level partnering with the customer to co-innovate or co-create on an ongoing delivery of our programmes, both of these side of our organization we have framework which is being implemented.
How critical it was for BFSI organizations to leverage analytics or insights to mitigate the challenges of NPAs?
In every organisation what we have seen is the investment on data and analytics. In many cases there was a Chief Data Officer role which was an subset of the entire CIO organization, now we are seeing that to become an direct role in the business organization. The importance of data and insights is critical for NPAs in looking into the business organization. Some of the largest programs that we are talking to with our customers want involve data state modernization.
How were technologies like AI, ML or blockchain leveraged to bolster cyber security?
Cyber security is an increasing huge area and it is getting complex and also getting more layered because of the different level of cyber regulations and compliance in the different regions that the BFSI firms had to meet. We think this will be an area which will see the evolution of many offering services and even products that will leverage AI, machine learning and NLP to simplify, automate and how cyber-security threats are managed.
How would you compare the pandemic challenges for BFSI with the economic downturn challenges of 2008?
I would say that technology and digital technology is far more in the forefront today for solving the challenge the pandemic has thrown at us. The thing that was missing in 2008 was the shift to a virtual heavy world. Back then it was a more of an economic crisis but in this case the crisis has shifted the way the world works and will continue to work and has brought the core technologies that will drive productivity, connection, compliance and it will continue to be the fuel for BFSI and other segments to come out of this challenge we are in.
What will be your message for the BFSI customers?
Banks, financial institutions, insurers have always been in the forefront of adopting technology and engaging in building better solutions and services for the end customers which are both institutions and individuals that they serve. My message will be to embrace the power of technology to create much more meaningful solution sets and connect with customers in a deeper way. Providers like Birlasoft who have deep expertise in certain domains can be the accelerators in that adoption and in many case help them by thinking through where the opportunity may lie. So it’s a great time to look and invest in the future.
 
 
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