The Mangaluru-based Karnataka Bank Ltd’s (KBL) decision to embrace digital and technology solutions under ‘Project KBL Vikaas’ has helped it to successfully achieve its goal and lead the data-driven transformation, according to Prateek Roongta, Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
In a recent interaction with BusinessLine, he said BCG had a three-year mandate from the bank in 2017 to transform it across various dimensions that would be technology and digital-driven.
BCG started laying the foundation of a better future for the 90-year-old Karnataka Bank, and put in place various HR-related elements to attract, retain and reward talent better.
“But more importantly, building on that foundation, we also layered a lot of digital front-end. Whether it was digitising their lending processes, account opening process, upgrading their mobile banking, internet banking across dimensions. We created a mini digital bank within KBL,” he said, adding: “I think what is most heartening is that if you look at the adoption of digital products, the bank today is doing much better than many of the leading private sector banks.”
He said BCG created a 300-member strong outbound sales force, both for retail and MSME, that would go out and seek business, and also built a software – lead management system (LMS). The leads that were generated using the bank’s data were posted on the LMS, and the respective sales personnel would call the customer, update the status and ensure that the lead was fulfilled. “That was one example of using the bank’s data and running analytics on it to generate new business. In fact, that was one of the visions that we set up at the start of the programme,” he said.
A lot of the digital and analytics work was done in retail and MSME segments only to ensure the increase of the proportion of these portfolios.
Referring to the establishment of ‘Digital Centre of Excellence’ (DCoE) of the bank in Bengaluru, Roongta said once a strong foundation for future growth was made this centre was set up that can almost culturally behave like a startup, and follow an agile way of creating these digital journeys. DCoE has developed many new products for the bank over the last two years.
To a query on the key takeaways from this transformation journey with Karnataka Bank, he said: “I think what we learned is that in banks like this the support from top management is really critical. That helped us here. At the same time, you have to invest time and effort in also onboarding the middle layer leadership of the bank. I think this was instrumental in getting the success that we finally got over this three year period.”
He said the bank was at its right scale in its investments in digital solutions. “When we have done similar programmes for large banks it just takes much more time to make a similar impact. This bank was at the sweet spot of having a very manageable scale to take a programme like this, which can help them see dividends in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
Stating that the bank was open to trying many different things, he said the challenge at PSBs is that they are typically held close to trying many different things. KBL was very open to experiment, he added.