Technology has evolved from a support function to a mission-critical and integral part of businesses
In today’s rapidly advancing tech landscape, innovation unfolds at an unprecedented pace. From the internet’s game-changing debut in the late 90s to the current Web3 era, transitions happen quickly. What is remarkable is the diminishing gap between these technological waves, with new breakthroughs emerging before the previous one fades. Cutting-edge technologies like Big Data, AI, ML and Gen-AI dominate industries. Blockchain and quantum computing gain traction for their enhanced security capabilities. Technology has evolved from a supporting role to a mission-critical and integral part of business. At the BW CFO World Future of Finance Summit in 2023, industry leaders recognised technology’s boundless potential.
Data: The New Currency
“If Data is the Oil, then Analytics is the Refinery,” emphasised Sandeep Modi, CFO of Hindustan Zinc. He highlighted the necessity of insightful data analysis, relating data without analysis to a car without fuel. In the mining industry, contextualising data with external factors is imperative, as isolated price data can lead to erroneous conclusions. Modi characterised analysis not merely as fuel, but as the core engine, driving informed decision-making. Modi shed light on the intricacies of their operations, including underground machinery, necessitating precise monitoring of fuel consumption and ventilation. Advanced technology from Australia aids in identifying seismic activities, enabling timely evacuation measures. The integration of Google AI ensures real-time monitoring without compromising personnel safety. The Pragya project, a geofencing mechanism, acts as a comprehensive defence, mapping emerging global threats impacting their business.
Finance as a Strategic Partner
“As technology has evolved, similarly, finance has also evolved,” highlighted Kumar Subbiah, Executive Director – Finance & Chief Financial Officer at CEAT. He underlined the transformation of the finance function into a strategic business partner. It transcended the traditional task of closing financial books to now focusing on efficient resource allocation, whether in terms of capital or operations. Subbiah underscores the inevitability of change and the critical need to leverage technology for competitiveness. “CEAT Limited, a leading tyre manufacturer, relies on technology to enhance customer experience and operational efficiencies, with analytics playing an instrumental role,” says Subbiah.
Technology’s Covert Role in Banking Operations
“Technology is the covert part of a bank’s functioning,” stated Satish Gundewar, Chief Financial Officer at CSB Bank.
He spoke on the transformative role of technology in banking operations. While core functions like financial reporting remain unchanged, technology has revolutionised finance’s broader partnership in business operations. Gundewar highlighted three crucial areas in banking: Product Analytics, Customer Analytics and People Analytics. These aspects are pivotal in an era where capital adequacy norms are paramount, customer journeys are integral and productivity measurements across the organisation are essential.
Commitment to Financial Inclusion
“Our aim is to go from Know Your Customer (KYC) to Understand Your Customer (UYC),” articulated Nilesh Dalvi, VP-Investor Relations, Corporate Finance, ESG at Credit Access Grameen. Through the implementation of Core Banking Solution, they aim to offer tailored solutions for customers who may lack expertise in analysing financial products. Operating seamlessly across a vast network, the company faces the challenge of managing daily reconciliations in a predominantly cash-based system. Credit Access Grameen leverages data to expedite customer onboarding and reduce loan processing times. Recognising the limited access to formal banking channels for many customers, particularly in rural areas, they harness data on household income, leverage, asset ownership and spending patterns to build customer profiles. These profiles streamline the onboarding process. Dalvi highlighted the regulatory shift towards dynamic pricing, enabled by advanced analytics.
In the fast-paced landscape of today’s technology-driven world, where innovation unfolds at an unprecedented pace, one thing is abundantly clear: technology has transitioned from a mere supporting role to a mission-critical and integral part of businesses. From the insights shared by industry leaders at the BW CFO World Future of Finance Summit in 2023, it is evident that technology’s boundless potential is being harnessed across various sectors. The transformative power of data, the strategic evolution of finance, the covert role of technology in banking, and the commitment to financial inclusion are all testaments to the ever-expanding horizons of technology in the world of finance.