The year 2021 has been a tough year for everyone. Industries across the globe were shut, companies were barely floating above the economic ocean, in fact, and this year had pushed the whole world almost 2 to 3 years backwards, when all we were aiming was to achieve the things new and unheard-of milestones. The unprecedented outbreak of Covid 19 had a fierce impact on all the sectors of the global economy. Businesses that were hoping to expand and grow were now barely surviving, and no sector remained untouched from the horrors of the pandemic.
However, things are changing their course now. As the whole world is rapidly moving forward with vaccination drives, the blanket of the outbreak is being pushed away. Businesses and industries are going back to Normal, but with a ‘New Normal’. They are optimistic to recover the damage that has been made by the pandemic and foreseeing a brighter future for their operations.
ELE Times Sub Editor and Technology Correspondent Sheeba Chauhan got an opportunity to have a profound conversation, with Nanda Kumar, Founder & CEO, SunTec Business Solutions where he reflected back upon 2021, and discuss the optimism for the next year, and provide an outlook for 2022, for their respective industry.
ELE Times : What would be some of the exciting industry developments to look forward to in 2022?
Mr. Nanda Kumar, Founder & CEO, SunTec Business Solutions- The pandemic forced banks to digitize, which led to some significant shifts. For instance, it gave rise to innovative payment models like Buy Now Pay Later, led to a proliferation of financial apps, thereby, leading to financial inclusion of unbanked/ underbanked communities and we also saw a surge of partner ecosystems with many banks and fintechs joining hands to improve the customer experience.
The most important development was that the pandemic was a great leveler – old and young, rich and not so rich had to adapt to a new digital environment. But that said, banks cannot treat all their customers as one group. They must reimagine the use of technology. For instance, in dealing with senior citizens, can they make the user interface simpler and easy to understand?
Some key trends that I foresee in 2022 include rising spend by banks in technology, but instead of using this technology to create products that are more personalized, the focus will be on enhancing customer experience. Secondly, banks will focus on the digital transformation of their processes, given the expectations from the newer customer cohorts such as Gen Z and millennials. Thirdly, the growth in open finance will give rise to embedded banking where banks will play a greater part in a customer’s important life moments. We will also see competition increase, but banks will look at creating partnerships with their industry and non-industry counterparts. The war for talent will rise as banks, start-ups, and technology giants will all be in the battle for the best people. Lastly, sustainability, inclusion, and stakeholder delight will be the new buzzwords as banks will be forced to play along the new ESG mantra.
ELE Times: What innovations are lined up for 2022 and for what application areas?
Mr. Nanda Kumar, Founder & CEO, SunTec Business Solutions- We believe that AI, Machine learning, data exploration, and extraction will be a turning point for banks in 2022. From our perspective, we are enhancing our products to make them more intelligent. We plan to be more AI-driven and make better use of data without jeopardizing the privacy of our end customers. The goal is to enable banks to drive optimal pricing decisions and bring more transparency in pricing and other functions.
ELE Times: What milestones are targeted in terms of research, technology development, market expansion and revenue generation by end of next year?
Mr. Nanda Kumar, Founder & CEO, SunTec Business Solutions- We are heavily invested in technology advancement, keeping in mind our customer success. And while banks are increasingly becoming ‘digital,’ they lack the intelligence to translate the available data in their core ecosystem into actionable insights. An intelligent middle layer like ours will amplify the effectiveness of the robust core system making the bank more agile and flexible to meet customer needs. Thus, banks can deliver value while taking informed decisions to remain profitable. Here is where we believe we will be able to empower banks with our products.
We are also bolstering our cloud and SaaS capabilities to help businesses deliver seamless customer experiences at scale.
From a market expansion perspective, we recently expanded our footprint in the Nordics region with the SEB win. We are steadily expanding our footprint across Nordics, LATAM, Australia, as well as APAC.
ELE Times: Considering emerging technologies, what market trends do you think will be followed in the next 2 to 4 years?
Mr. Nanda Kumar, Founder & CEO, SunTec Business Solutions-Today India is at the forefront of digitalization in the banking sector. The JAM trinity of Jan Dhan accounts, Aadhar Card and Mobile phone penetration has led to financial inclusion in the country. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) further saw a significant adoption, with over 4.2 billion transactions worth over ₹ 7.7 trillion recorded in just October 2021. Such digitization and a platform approach have redefined payments in the country, making it simple and seamless. We will soon see voice-based payments, a technology that will prove to be a game changer for the payments industry.
Additionally, AI technology will empower banks to identify opportunities, facilitate innovation, refine decisions, and support personalized contextual communications for customers and provide them with a seamless experience.
We will also witness majority of banks transitioning to cloud technologies due to significant complexity and concerns over security, risk, governance, and control. Banks will deploy hybrid cloud models to improve banking efficiency which will ultimately create a cloud marketplace to accelerate fintech collaboration.
Lastly, with the advent of Blockchain technology, India’s banking process will be transformed to a new level. Banks will be able to automate the verification process, ensure speedy and secure transmission of data while maintaining transparency for end customers and regulators.
Sheeba Chauhan |Sub Editor | ELE Times