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Accelerating bank services in the 21st century



The Daily Tribune recently sat with Praveen Kumar, Asia Pacific vice president and general manager of content services engine ASG Technologies.

In the interview, he shared how ASG can help accelerate banks’ services to accommodate end-consumers’ 21st century needs, and at the same time become more agile in the market place.

“If you notice many banks globally offer a variety of services to consumers and users where you can open a bank account across the table and you don’t even have to wait for some time. You can have loan processing done within one to two days, the verification of the individual being done almost overnight. You want the consumer to get all the services he wants at anytime at the click of a button, either on the mobile or on the Internet, using a desktop,” he started.

Kumar said that Manila isn’t rendering the services he has mentioned as yet, citing the banks’ complicated infrastructure as a hurdle in the inevitable transition.

New players in the banking industry in Asia such as China and India are skipping the entire banking engine as consumers are headed in the same direction.

To accommodate the shift in the banking system, banks have to digitally transform its back-end database. Kumar said that instant gratification from the consumers plays a key role in the shift.

“And as you offer these to the end-consumer, the central bank is also being very cautious that you don’t start throwing away money to people who are not eligible or can’t repay at some point of time; that is a sensitive area for the central bank. What they do is they apply rules and regulations, which constraints some of the larger financial entities to go and be very dynamic in the market. They (banks) are stuck in between satisfying the back-end, which is primarily an audit-free, audit-ready enterprise, and the front end which is a consumer/user-centric accessible enterprise,” he said in citing the consumers’ need for instant gratification as a key determinant in the shift.

“That’s where companies like us come in. We are saying we can help you with the user transformation and help them provide services at a much faster rate. But we are not giving up on the back-end which requires a lot of audit, analysis, impacts — we are being compliant while accelerating.”

Human dependence in the back-end is another factor that banks have to address, says Kumar. The employees are oftentimes a hindrance by the amount of time it takes to retrieve data. Internet technologists (IT) are wired to catch up to the shifts in the business model fueled by the end users’ demands, but are oftentimes hindered by too much data.

“They were visibly surprised that we have tools that can help them understand their set-up a lot better,” Kumar said.

He said that a version of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is bound to come to Manila, as the central bank or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, is most likely to apply it for its privacy laws. GDPR is a regulation in the European Union that addresses data protection and privacy for individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area.

“Getting ready for it makes you a far more flexible organization. You can add data, machines and services at a much faster pace without worrying about what’s going to happen in the bank-end. That ability to go to market at a much faster pace is enabled by automation, business process modeling, content services in the back end and data intelligence that is built for an audit-free or audit-ready enterprise.”

Kumar explained that ASG is equipped with services that enable consumers to store, search, analyze, restrict and control any type of content such as documents, videos or audios. Their system stores the data into one repository and enables various applications to access the files in many formats while lessening the use of storage space.

“Our biggest capability is our ability to ingest and return. We have almost 70 peta bytes of storage for one entity in the world using our storage. Our intention is you’re storing your full banks content in one repository. We are firstly making sure that you don’t use much storage because it’s expensive,” Kumar stated further.

Speed also accounts for a good part of their service. Referring to a benchmark, Kumar said they have demonstrated 10 percent better performance against rivals who have 25 percent lesser capacity in processing power.

“If you put the same processing power, we would probably be thrice as quick.”

As to pricing, he said that depends on the functionality that banks will need or either the number of concurrent users who use the documents or based on the storage volume.