How are NextGen technologies aiding Quality@Speed in the BFS sector

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With a majority of banks shrinking their network of physical branches and establishing a stronger digital presence, with online stock trading and digital wealth management becoming the primary choice of the consumers over personal brokers, the Banking and Financial Services sector is all set to transform to the core. 

With user experience as the central purpose of the transformation, the BFS industry is gearing up and accelerating the digitization of their core operational activities. Here, digitization not only means migrating the services from a brick-and-mortar bank branch to a smart phone application. Rather, it goes deeper and wider – in terms of an evolving perspective on how the sector should offer its services and communicate with its customers, in terms of rationalizing the processes and capabilities to bring in more efficiency, and in terms of establishing a continuous dialog between the users and the banking and financial services providers. 

As per a McKinsey report, 75 to 80 percent of transactional operations (e.g., general accounting operations, payments processing) and up to 40 percent of more strategic activities (e.g., financial controlling and reporting, financial planning and analysis, treasury) can be automated. The BFS digital transformation is being propelled by the introduction of next-generation technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big data & Analytics, and Smart contracts. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sector to take immediate measures for ensuring that everything is running smoothly, the transformation is still a high priority and is expected to be addressed as soon as the situation normalizes. 

The Everest Group, in their recent article about the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the BFS sector, suggested, “As an immediate response to the current situation, designing and executing customer assistance programs should be the top priority for BFS firms. In the medium term, the firms’ focus should gradually shift to modernization of legacy systems that slowed down banks’ agility and ability to respond to this crisis. Post COVID-19, BFS firms will need to reimagine their products, pricing, and channel strategies to fulfill evolved customers’ expectations. 

The next-gen technologies coupled with DevTestOps and Quality Engineering practices enable the industry to deliver quality services at speed. Let us talk about the integration of banking and financial services sector with these advanced technologies for leading them on the road of innovation, productivity, and user-centricity. 

Building a customer-focused BFS ecosystem 

Customers are at the center of the digital disruption as they seek convenience and speed in the services. Ritesh Jain, COO, CTO, and Former Head of Delivery Digital Tech at HSBC bank, says, The future of digital banking lies in how banks can apply Safety, Simplicity, and Agility to shape the financial wellbeing of their customers and how they are willing to integrate and explore beyond possibilities.” 

A customer-focused, digital BFS ecosystem is characterized by: 

  • Personalized products and services 
  • Automated processes 
  • Seamless operations with consistent quality 
  • Data and analytics-driven decision-making 
  • 24×7 availability 
  • Non-siloed organizational structure 
  • Higher cross-functional collaboration 

For the BFS sector to be safe, simple, and agile, they need to first focus on their core systems. As next-gen technologies facilitate real-time transactions through digital banking, APIs, and cloud, the legacy infrastructure needs to undergo modernization. With cloud-based microservices architecture, the industry can build an at-scale core system that employs APIs for communicating between different parts and building a holistic ecosystem with integrated processes and functionalities. The next-gen cloud-based core system with loosely-coupled services supports the development of faster and efficient consumer-facing digital applications with a simple yet interactive user interface. 

The criticality of quality engineering in the BFS IT eco system 

As Ritesh says, well deployed, digital technology boosts revenue and transforms customer experience, operations, and business processes. When mismanaged, companies risk becoming obsolete, and it’s all about people, process and technology and people-oriented culture to bring it together! 

With digital-only banks, challenger banks, and FinTech providers, the incumbents have to deal with not only the speed with which the market changes and the consumer demands evolve but also with the pace at which the new entrants are performing releases. Customers being only concerned about their own convenience would not think twice before shifting boats to the one that offers greater speed and a smoother ride. Quality Engineering empowers the BFS sector, both incumbents and new entrants, to benchmark the quality standards of their digital offerings. A quality engineering approach helps them gain the power of predictability into their software development life cycle and address any quality challenges proactively while dealing with the next-gen technologies. 

The Agile imperative for the BFS leaders 

Dr. David A. Bishop, CEO & Founder at Agile Worx, says that it’s all about agility, flexibility, and leanness. These are the key to providing personalized products and services. As the BFS sector undertakes the transformation journey, the industry IT leaders should heed to Dr. Bishop when he says, “The biggest mistake anyone can make is to try and make everybody agile at the same time. You have to take a phased approach. It starts with one team at a time, one project at a time, and one program at a time. Start with a pilot, maybe a pilot project, maybe a pilot team, and then expand that to the program and then from one program to the next. That’s by far the best way to do it. The second thing is to teach and train We need to spend more time teaching people about agile, agile fundamentals, what it’s really all about, what the reasons for transforming are, and to help make your people fully understand not just how to do it, but how it’s going to improve their job, their performance, and their team’s performance, and in turn, their company’s performance in relation to the marketplace. Everybody, every employee has to be onboard with why we’re doing this and what kind of benefits it’s going to bring to everybody. 

The role of big data & analytics 

Data may be the new oil, but big data analytics is actually the engine that drives all the digital, transformational, and next-gen initiatives. 

Big data analytics empower the BFS IT leaders to make precise and accurate predictions related to customer behavior regarding a product or service’s demand. Leveraging data analytics can allow the sector to create distinct and segmented customer profiles to correctly identify user patterns and tailor the best personalized experiences for them. 

As Avik Ganguly, Director of Engineering, DevOps, & Quality at London Stock Exchange, puts it, “Innovation in the space of optimizing engineering productivity is as relevant as the innovation in new product development today. In the world of ever increasing complex compute capacity and big data ML and AI , it’s the adoption and execution strategy of DevOps and Quality Engineering that distinguishes the world class development teams from the rest of the world thereby defining the primary key to next generation digital transformation.”

Having data-driven insights at their hand, the IT leaders in the BFS sector can dive deep instead of just scratching the surface when it comes to handling customer needs. By going to the granular level, they can take a proactive approach for any challenge at any scale or frequency. 

The main aspects factoring in to the digital transformation success 

The adoption of next-generation technologies can be perceived as an upgrade to the initial digital transformation pathway. However, before stepping up the digital game, it is essential to ensure that the pillars of your digital transformation are robust and resilient. 

Nanda Padmaraju, Senior Vice President at Cigniti Technologies, talks about the most important factors that can help the BFS sector avoid the pitfalls in their digital transformation journey and guarantee success of the initiative –  

“The first and the foremost is the culture aspect within your IT workspace. Embracing change, being open minded, enabling people to take the risk are extremely important from a cultural perspective on this digital transformation. When we move onto the processes the hitherto, the legacy processes may become significant roadblocks on your journey to digital transformation. So, you’ll be advised to unlearn a lot of practices & then relay the roadmap afresh to be able to be on the digital transformation.” 

Driving Quality@speed in the BFS sector 

To achieve high quality at high speed, next-gen technologies need to be backed up by robust digital quality assurance practices. Agile, DevOps, and quality engineering approach makes an organization confident of the transformational changes that it is undertaking. 

AI-enabled chatbots allow the BFS industry to offer 24/7 service availability. When coupled with machine learning algorithms and Natural language processing systems, these AI chatbots become capable of delivering a hyper-personalized experience to the users. However, they need ample data gathered from a network of IoT devices. Therefore, it should be kept in mind that for creating a complete futuristic banking and financing experiences for the users, there is not one technology that has all the answers. In fact, it is the right amalgamation and the right balance between AI, IoT, big data analytics, and smart contracts that result in a safe, secure, simple, agile, flexible, and resilient next-gen BFS ecosystem. 

In our very first Virtual Round Table Conference, we have gathered four eminent industry leaders who will talk about how exactly the next-gen technologies help the BFS sector realize quality at speed. Join Ritesh Jain (COO, CTO, Former Head of Digital Technology at HSBC), Dr. David A. Bishop (CEO & Founder at Agile Worx), Avik Ganguly (Director of Engineering, DevOps, & Quality at London Stock Exchange), and Nanda Padmaraju (Senior Vice President at Cigniti Technologies) as they engage in an insightful discussion about the adoption of next-gen technologies in the Banking and Financial Services sector. Register for the virtual conference now to get your free access. 

How are NextGen technologies aiding Quality@Speed in the BFS sector