Shaping the Future of Financial Services: Cloud, Digi-Banking and More

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A conversation with president and chief revenue officer of Cloud4C Deb Deep Sengupta

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Published: Fri 16 Dec 2022, 5:00 PM

With over three decades of experience in managing critical roles across top IT firms, Deb Deep Sengupta is a seasoned executive and industry veteran with a proven track record of building a winning culture with agile growth and transformation initiatives, inspiring next-generation leaders. Prior to Cloud4C, he was the president and managing director of SAP India and South Asia. Deb Deep is passionate about expanding businesses beyond conventional boundaries and building high-performance teams.

So now, as we look into the New Year, what changes do you think will fuel financial services transformation in 2023?

The global financial services industry has witnessed dramatic shifts, both in terms of innovation and regulatory changes. The era of monolithic financial powerhouses who provide end-to-end services is coming to an end. Unbundling of the traditional financial industry structure is forcing both incumbents as well as new players to innovate and provide next-gen, digital benefits to clients and consumers. Legacy insurance, digital banking, credit and lending, capital raising, payments and investment management are being disrupted by fintechs, neo banks, crypto and new age financial services institutions.

What are the possible challenges and risks involved in this process of unbundling services and innovation shifts that the financial services industry is going through?

I would say that striking a balance between innovation and risk or compliance management is the biggest challenge the industry is facing right now, as it is still heavily regulated. The digital-native, highly agile neo-banks and fintechs are already one step ahead, giving incumbent FIs stiff competition. For the latter, the big question is how to innovate and refine customer experience while remaining within these regulatory frameworks and guidelines, at zero risk. Providing better customer experiences requires modernization of their core IT processes and systems.

We hear a lot of discussions around cloud, API based banking, blockchain, etc. What role does cloud technology play in mitigating the above challenges and enabling FSI transformations?

It seems to me that success in 2023 and beyond will be determined by a financial institution’s capability to adopt and leverage technology. And cloud technology is the fastest and safest bet to modernize their mission-critical systems and roll out innovations to consumers in an agile manner.

McKinsey’s 2021 study of the state of cloud adoption to drive innovation and engagement in the legacy financial services industry found that 13 per cent of FSIs have half or more of their IT footprint in the cloud and 54 per cent expect to shift at least 50 per cent of their workloads to the public cloud over next five years. Early adopters are already seeing results of using the right technology.

A European bank’s DevSecOps processes to deliver the same output with 20 per cent to 30 per cent smaller teams. Boards and CXOs can leverage cloud as a key pillar of their digital transformation strategies with quicker, cost-effective implementations. This is critical to becoming a truly digital-native business.

As an industry expert, how would you describe the region’s appetite for this new-age banking revolution? Is Open Banking gathering steam in MEA?

One of our key BFSI clients, a leading UAE bank, has used cloud services to transform their operations. Almost 70 per cent of its customer journeys are completely digital now, while delivering the highest possible levels of performance and security to their customers.

According to a recent survey by Finastra, 71 per cent of banking and financial institutions in the UAE region consider open finance unequivocally necessary. Last year, the number stood at 50 per cent. Saudi Arabia too has launched its Open Banking guidelines in the first half of this year. So you can say the industry is responding really well to the transformation needs.

How do you envision Cloud4C can drive innovation in the MEA BFSI sector?

For over a decade, Cloud4C has been instrumental in driving mission critical cloud transformations in the Middle East. We currently serve four out of the top 10 banks in MEA and some of the biggest FSIs globally. We are also compliant with multiple BFSI industry, local regulations, and offer multi-cloud services.

Cloud4C is a single-stop, risk-proofed digital transformation specialist for the BFSI sector, regardless of ecosystem size, cloud of choice, or mission-criticality of operations. With our pay-as-you-go, framework-driven Bank-in-a-Box solution and supported by our unique hybrid managed services delivery model, BFSI institutions can experience truly frictionless, business-focused outcomes in a single SLA. That’s the value we promise.

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