Analytics aiding financial inclusion of unbanked population in India

Bangalore | Updated: Sep 5 2014, 18:40pm hrs
Indian wants a financially secure environment. It wants adequate financial aid. The need of the hour is a larger financial inclusion across the country, be it individual or enterprises, at a reasonable cost. If implemented, this will give a whole new contemporary look to the financial services sector and will prove to be a great stimulus to the Indian economy.

But this can be achieved only if our financial services sector instills a sense of saving and financial security to the customers while penetrating into tier II and Tier III sectors of the country. This in turn can be achieved by moving closer to them by understanding their preferences better and providing them better quality services absolutely hassle free. This can be possible if they closely watch the trends through data they gather and the consumers generate.

Relying on cutting-edge technologies like big data and analytics can serve the purpose for financial services firms. As the nature of demands are evolving rapidly, we see a paradigm shift in the focus and strategies of the firms. They are taking lead in becoming more and more customer centric. A joint study by the IBM Institute for Business Value and Sad Business School at the University of Oxford found that of the total banking and financial markets firms surveyed 71 percent report that the use of information (including big data) and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organizations.

For instance, Central Bank of India is leveraging analytics to transform its financial management processes which includes activities ranging from budgeting to forecasting to liquidity management. This will help the bank move away from spread-sheet based planning and execution to a more simplified data capturing at even a branch or a regional office level and uncover new insights which can help them serve their customers better. Similarly, IndusInd Bank, a Mumbai-based new generation private bank that offers retail, commercial, transactional and electronic banking products and services is using analytics solutions to deepen customer relationships by delivering personalized, location-based recommendations and offers in real time.

Analytics is not just a parlance but a business imperative. The exponential growth of structured and unstructured data will help organizations gauge the mood of the customers, potential markets and provide financial services firms a perspective to reach out to the remotest areas proving fruitful for the citizens and nation as a whole. This is what Janalakshmi Financial Services is working on. The micro-finance provider has entered into a strategic partnership with IBM to provide affordable financial services to people across the country, especially to the unbanked populations. With Analytics alongwith cloud and mobility solutions, JFS will be able to gather and harness customer information as well as digitize and automate the organization's processes and create and offer an ongoing set of new payment products for its customers, making the processes hassle-free, thereby increasing financial inclusion by encouraging people to adopt banking services.

Analytics can enable financial service providers to reach those segments of the country which were could not be included earlier, providing financial access to the regional populations. This way, it can serve the purpose of strengthening financial inclusion. Financial services firms should leverage analytics to transform their processes, their organizations which will result in transformation of the entire industry very soon.

- By Gayathri Parthasarathy, VP & Sr. Partner BFSI, IBM Global Business Services