Vivek Tripathi, Head of HR, AU Small Finance Bank recently spoke with CXOToday about how the Indian banking industry has undergone digital transformation impacting the overall operations of the banking ecosystem. He also talked about how AU Small Finance Bank is leveraging advanced digital technologies such as AI, ML, Data Analytics, and especially Cloud to automate its internal HR processes. He shares how cloud-native application like Oracle Cloud HCM is helping them in streamlining everything internally.
- How do you think the banking industry has transformed digitally in the last few years? According to you what are the progressions and overall changes done by Indian banks during this transition?
As predicted by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, India is projected to become a $5 trillion economy by 2026-27. This exponential growth is highly attributed to the tremendous growth expected in digital infrastructure for services, including ‘financial’. The accelerated digital adoption during the COVID period has definitely made India a pioneer in the financial technology revolution. With the rise of digital banking, Indian banks are leveraging technology to bring entire banking system on the fingertips of the user. After the global pandemic, users who were hesitant or reluctant to do banking through their smartphones are now being forced to do so. Right now, digital banking is a necessity instead of a choice. Therefore, there are high chances that this transition may not be momentary, as it’s a streamlined process and the kind of convenience it offers, the adoption of digital banking is expected to increase more in near future.
At present, almost all core banking processes have significantly evolved due to a variety of digital banking services, ranging from financial management to HR processes to customer experience processes. Overall, technology has fundamentally proved to be a powerful and significant catalyst for all banking operations.
While talking about transitions Indian banks are going through this phase, technology and automation are observed as a key driver of this transformation of the banking sector these days. We also see the adoption of digital technologies as a most significant trend amid the pandemic. Out of all modern technologies, Cloud technology has been gaining much attention in the industry, as several private and public banks have already embarked their Cloud journey. We also see banks of different sizes catering to rural and urban populations upscale their investments in cloud applications with an aim to provide the best mobile and digital banking experiences to their customers. Analyzing the current scenario and industry trends, this is just the beginning of a complete overhaul of the Indian banking industry, and we will see even more prominent and substantial changes in the future.
2. Considering the global pandemic has led to a widespread debate around future of work and employee centricity, how do you think it has also been key in changing employee processes with the Indian banking ecosystem?
Ever since after the global pandemic, employees in the banking sector as well have come across a massive shift in work priorities, with an emphasis on work-life balance, flexibility, agility, and career development opportunities. Similar to the global workforce, they are also looking forward to becoming resilient and work in a holistic work environment that provide them with growth opportunities along with mental and emotional well-being.
It is quite evident that that the COVID phase has brought an irreversible shift in the way we work, and banks too need to develop a long-term strategy to keep their employee’s happiness quotient intact. Today, the HR processes in the banking industry are also going digital and paperless, as digital banking and mobile banking replace the traditional banking processes. At the same time, employee priorities have shifted, demanding more assistance from HR leaders.
While talking about the role of HR leaders, which has changed completely from managing HR functions such as payroll, attendance, and increments, among others, to a much more multifaceted supporter. Today, CHROs are performing many various activities such as ensuring providing learning and development opportunities, a seamless communication through digital channels, performance management functions, and even providing emotional support to employees. Keeping the current needs in mind, today’s HR professionals and leaders are investing heavily in new-age digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics with a strong foundation of Cloud, to support them in enabling a strategic and data-driven decision making.
3. Given the huge employee base, how do you ensure that your HR processes are suiting to your employee needs and they are all well connected across multiple locations?
In the past few years, the Indian banking sector has witnessed a dramatic transformation and evolution especially during the pandemic. Today organisations are realizing the importance of technology and thus realigning their internal operations, in line with the changing customer expectations. We at AU Small Finance Bank are proactively investing in modern technologies to ensure that all our HR processes are aligned to serve the needs of our employees. To fundamentally improve our HR processes, we are dependent heavily on the Cloud technology and its embedded technologies such as AI, ML, and Data Analytics. We’re committed to this shift and making significant strides in using Cloud computing to revolutionize our HR functions aligned to the needs of our 30,000 (nearly) employee base of nearly employees. We have also implemented smart solutions and are leveraging them to keep our employees connected across locations and to promote collaborative work practices.
- What role does Cloud technology play in streamlining HR processes at your organisation? Could you tell us about what kind of cloud-based solutions AU Small Finance Bank has implemented to digitize these processes?
With the adoption of Cloud technology, we have been able to digitize and streamline our HR processes to a great extent, which includes hiring and retirement series from recruitment, performance mapping, learning, talent management, and compensation. When we thought of starting our Cloud journey, we were looking for a trustworthy cloud provider who could support us completely and empower our HR leaders as well. We chose Oracle’s Cloud-native HCM application to functionally enhance our talent management processes and provide best-in-class experiences to our employees, thereby improving employee satisfaction. With the help of Oracle HCM solutions, we have been able to utilize the cloud capabilities to align and streamline our employee processes leading to a superior experience for candidates during the hiring process, new hires, and existing employees all through one integrated cloud platform. Furthermore, we are also leveraging the solution’s embedded AI capabilities supported by HCM data integrity and completeness to help our workforce understand, map, and boost their goals and performance. This will help us to cater to the employee development needs and assist them in their priorities as well.
Moreover, through Oracle cloud solutions we have achieved benefits like elimination of manual processes, reduction in hiring time, goal performance process enhancement, candidate experience enhancement, and new hiring experience enhancement.
5. What made you implement Cloud and HR Tech and also tell us in detail about the project, in terms of number of employees involved in this project, geographies, key challenges faced, and how technology is actually enabling this shift?
The changing industry standards were the compelling reasons for cloud adoption. Providing our workforce with the best experience and addressing their needs has always been our topmost priority. Therefore, aligning ourselves with the current dynamics we chose a cloud-native application after much deliberation.
We started this transition with less than 8,000 employees, whereas the most pressing challenge was that we were not equipped with the latest technology which can assist us in syncing up with all the aspects. This impacted the overall experience of employees and candidates.
The team did struggle in the initial stages of cloud and HR tech deployment in terms of usage of modules, however gradually with Oracle Cloud HCM we were able to unify all the HR processes on an integrated platform which helped in automation. Most of our manual processes have now been digitized through the adoption of cloud native HR Tech. Even our complete employee life cycle is managed digitally including pre-onboarding, on-boarding, talent management, performance management, L&D etc. Apart from this, for supporting our former employees we have launched a portal on HCM that helps them with all necessary documentation while updating on the latest job openings.
Within time, we have also reduced our dependence on IT as HR teams can manage the system on their own. Overall, it has elevated the experience for our employees and candidates to a whole new level. At present, more than 30,000 employees are benefiting from our HR Tech.
- Please tell us about some of your similar future digitization plans?
AU is a tech driven bank. Whether it is for the customers or for employees, our dedication to stay digitally forward will be the most critical factor for influencing our future course of action. We are constantly working towards adopting the new-age advanced technology to ensure our employees and candidates get highly personalized experience, and also best practices along with adoption of analytics to drive decision making organization wide.
In the future we would like our team to reduce lesser time in transactional activities and focus more on strategic initiatives. To do so, we are increasing the use of AI / ML, Digital Assistants, Analytics etc.