Sandeep Chouhan, Group Head Operations and Technology at Mashreq, provides an exclusive on the bank’s digitisation initiatives and his views on various technological advancements
editor's pickWednesday 26, December 2018
How much has digitisation helped in improving processes within the bank?
Technology has revolutionized the way we do banking and digitisation have enabled us to reconfigure bank’s process design. We at Mashreq are now combining customer self-service channels at branches and automated decision-making RPA systems at backoffice to eliminate manual processes.
We are spearheading and embracing the revolutionising technology of Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation & Cognitive opportunities in this region. What started as a project, is now the way of life at Mashreq. We have seen 60 per cent increase in our productivity at the agent level, with cost savings of up to four times.
There has been significant reduction in customer complaints. We are very much benefiting from the various digitisation initiatives across the bank.
How do you see Open APIs impacting payments and customer-related experiences moving forward?
Digital economy has created this new business model of a collaborative ecosystem. The good part is that the Dubai Government is leading the way in creating such an ecosystem for businesses with governing standards and regulatory framework for a smarter city.
All enterprises has to participate unanimously in such market places where banking services are vital to facilitate the commerce and this requires API-enabled services. We will see an emergence of radically transformed bank models.
Open banking will lead its way and make it easier for banks to collaborate with non-traditional alliances and fintech leaders, which will lay down superior standards of next generation financial services by providing instant fulfillment to customer transactions.
Has the bank implemented cloudprocessing systems? How has it assisted in payments management?
Cloud has opened up a wide range of services beyond Infrastructure (IaaS) to on-demand Platform (PaaS) and Software services (SaaS). These are intelligent services, which can compute mass amount of data at fraction of cost and time compared to traditional on-premise technological services. SWIFT has made significant advancements on its infrastructure and Mashreq is the first bank in the region to join SWIFT’s Global Payment Innovation (GPI).
The innovative, cloud-based payment tracker ensures that counterparties receive confirmation in real-time when the supplier or beneficiary is credited. Mashreq have also partnered with Microsoft for specific usages of analytics and translation services.
Mobility and wearables have been a trend in banking over the past few years. How do you see this developing for Mashreq next year?
Mobility is not a trend anymore. It’s an essential service. Continuous evolving client habits driven by the adoption of mobile apps and superior service expectations are dramatically impacting the traditional banking processes. The power of convenience, superior user experience and security have benefitted both customer and staff experiences.
Mashreq have rolled out mobile only digital bank “NEO” for the retail clients apart from the existing award winning and world class mobile banking solution for retail and corporate clients. We have also introduced mobile enabled apps empowering the salesforce and relationship managers to view customer 360 degree portfolio to track and solve customer queries, offer advisory services and portfolio insights on real-time basis.
Wearables in its basic form are offering very limited services. New use cases are emerging as the wearable technology evolves.
What is in the pipeline for 2019?
The creation of a digital ecosystem will drive open API which will put pressure on enterprises to enhance data quality and resilience of platforms. We are looking forward to collaborating with fintech and government agencies to create the marketplace. Blockchain is another area which is expected to be more main stream. Mashreq is already in the proof of concept phase with two other banks. With an increase in cybercrimes and the rollout of new digital technologies, a new breed of sophisticated tools is the need of the hour.
What do you identify as the main challenges for next year?
Continued cyberthreats and data privacy will remain a challenge. The very innovation that drive customer service and business growth also creates first order cyberthreats for the banks and their customers. Cyberthreats, while not at all new, has rocketed up the list of leading issues for banks.
The challenge is in satisfying both the need for participating in open platforms and protecting customer data at the same time. As the technology has evolved, attack vectors have also become more sophisticated. There is a need to also be constantly vigilant and resilient in face of evolving data thefts, fraud and security breaches.