Vairam Somasundaram, GM & CIO, Indian Overseas Bank, shares his experience working with DXC as the bank’s key technology partner and how DXC facilitated the core banking transformation project at IOB—considered one of the largest technology transformation initiatives in the banking industry.
IOB’s Core banking transformation project has been one of the largest technology transformation initiative within the industry. Tell us more about the project and how DXC supported you through the journey?
A: We have been partners with DXC for the last five years for various technology initiatives. I have been personally associated with them for the last 4 years.
The Core banking transformation project has been one of the most critical initiatives that we delivered together. As one of the largest public sector banks with over 3000 branches, 25000 employees, and more than 40 million customers, it was a project of great magnitude and had led to some radical changes within the bank for our employees and outside the bank for our customers.
To add to the challenge, the whole project was completed within 5 months as opposed to the industry standard of 18 months. We were aware of the risks involved in accelerating the migration. However, from a change management perspective, the initial phase was one of the toughest to handle. While in hindsight, we may have done things differently, I must complement the DXC team for having handled the entire migration well over the period. As the SI partner, DXC needed to step up & deliver. A large part of the stability that we subsequently achieved is because we could work closely with the DXC team to consistently tackle the issues. A case in point is how the DXC team successfully escalated critical issues to the OEMs and ensured troubleshooting on time.
Overall, DXC demonstrated significant technical capabilities and the right competencies throughout the years, while skillfully managing the resource requirement at the Bank.
We would certainly want DXC to continue to be our technology partner in other applications also, provided that they meet all the guidelines and criteria that a public sector bank has to adhere to.
Q: Any modernization or transformation project is usually driven by the growing demand from the business side. How is DXC helping you ensure that business challenges are being addressed?
A: IT today needs to go beyond just ensuring that systems are up and running. In today’s challenging environment, IT must ensure cost savings and optimize technology investments to deliver value. From that perspective, DXC has helped us tremendously in eliminating unnecessary costs and optimizing infrastructure resources continuously. In fact, they have been quite proactive in saving significant cost on the hardware front, by helping us defer the need to add additional hardware. For a bank the size of ours, this alone has translated into huge savings. Also, DXC team ensured that they gel well, and build bridges with the entire staff at IOB, from the top management to the bottom, so that we could function as one single unit dedicated to our customers.
Q: How did it impact the bank’s Customer and employee experience? How was the change management part taken care of?
A: We were using our own core banking solution prior to the migration to Finacle. Moreover, our entire workforce was highly accustomed to the earlier systems which we had been using for more than a decade. So any new transformation or modernization initiative would have been taken with a pinch of salt. It would always be an old vs new debate. We did expect some bit of adaptability challenges when we migrated to the new system, from an employee experience point of view. However, with time, users have become accustomed to Finacle, and employees now find the functionalities and features of Finacle to be several notches above the old system.
Though customers are really not impacted by the changes in core technology, the migration did have a bit of an impact on customer experience in the initial stages. But I would say it was handled well by DXC with minimal disruption. All the other internally developed applications including net banking, treasury, etc., are well-integrated with the core banking system. Those applications respond well according to our expectations. So, we were able to achieve customer satisfaction as a goal.
Q: What are the key qualities you expect from a technology partner, especially for transformation initiatives of this magnitude? How has been the overall experience with DXC?
A: DXC is certainly among the very few players in India who have the experience and capabilities to handle large-scale core banking transformation projects. They do rank very highly, there’s no doubt.
Also typically in any transformation, the SI partner has to understand the Bank’s DNA as well as the unique requirements. Even at IOB, apart from effectively supporting us for our India operations, DXC is also maintaining the core banking systems of our Sri Lanka, Singapore, Honk Kong, Thailand operations. This means, their ways of working has to fit in the regulatory requirements of all these countries and DXC has ensured compliance and other requirements in an efficient manner, across the territories. I would say that the team at DXC is quite capable, among the best in the banking industry, and we are happy to work with them in future.
(The views expressed in this interview are personal, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Indian Overseas bank or its board.)
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