Reuben Athaide, Head, Cloud Customer Engagement, Standard Chartered Bank

We live in an ‘always-on’ hyperconnected world, with 45 percent of the population owning smartphones as per Statista. Since digital has gone mainstream, we expect immediate gratification and do not want to be interrupted to go “do banking.” We would much rather like it to be integrated into where we work, play, and live— on our smartphones. For Financial services institutes (FSI’s) this means integrating into a customer’s daily life through digital. This can be achieved through API (application programming interfaces) partnerships and prioritizing customer-centricity.


An ‘always-on’ connected world generates a lot of data, which in turn creates more data.

We have all heard the metaphor ‘data is the new oil.’ Like oil, data needs to be cleansed and curated, to personalize customer offers. Integrating geographically dispersed, valuable data sets on the cloud in a ‘data lake’ with advanced data management and decision tools, can be hugely beneficial in providing a customized product at precisely the right time in a customer’s lifecycle.

Making your customer feel special with a personalized product at the right time is just one aspect of being profitable in the long run. FSIs also need to try and retain their customers by creating stickiness. After all, there are so many digital disruptors and choices that loyalty is hard to achieve. Hence, the customer experience itself has become a new product. We have experienced during festive seasons such as Christmas, FSIs launching online gamification such as ‘shake and win’ or ‘spin the wheel.’ Both of which created a positive customer experience, as they appealed to a wide range of customers, and built loyalty. This experience in turn increased customer retention, which potentially led to higher profitability. By using the valuable data generated by these activities to run predictive analytics, FSIs drive business innovation.

Subsequently, integrating all this data is becoming more difficult as it grows exponentially. According to The Economist, IDC, a market-research firm, estimates the world will generate about 90 zettabytes [19trn DVDs] this year and next, more than all the data produced since the advent of computers in 1801. . Nonetheless, FSIs are forced to raise their game and provide a superior customer experience as a differentiator, since, retail, wealth and payments business models have seen margins thinning and competition increasing with digital disruptors.


Crunching all this data using a traditional model of an on-premise data centre is not sustainable due to some of the requirements for curating and constraints of using an on-premise data centre. In particular lack of scale and agility, high energy consumption costs, and access to advanced data decisions and management tools. Also, the fact that a lot of the data has to be integrated with external sources and is streaming in real-time. Hence, migrating to the center and crunching on the cloud is more sustainable than a traditional model.

Sustainability goes beyond just optimizing our costs by crunching data at the centre on cloud. The reason being the impacts to our environment are not only digital. However, it is also climate change that has impacted our environment. Hence, we can use the recent advancements to learn patterns from data, analyzes, and predict, to make data-driven decisions. This, in turn, will help us extend capital to markets effectively and achieve the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

If FSIs ‘self-disrupt’ instead of waiting to be disrupted, they can survive a hyper-connected digital business world. However, first FSI’s need to achieve cloud transformation success and get on top of the impacts to the environment. To do that, FSIs will have to establish some best practices such as, Confirm executive support, train and educate staff (culture shift, not just technology), build a culture of experimentation, and partner with the right system integrators, among others.

The disruptive impacts to our environment mean banking will not be an extension of the past. FSIs need to use data management tool advancements on the cloud to make data-driven decisions to deepen customer relationships and work towards a sustainable future for the planet.

Check Out: Financial Services Review

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