Indusind Bank is close to completing the latest major portion of its bank-wide transformation with the implementation of Infosys’ Finacle core banking system. To handle the training challenge related to this, it has adopted a third-party tool from a company called Gieom.

Indusind Bank

Indusind Bank

Mid-tier Indian player, Indusind Bank, is nearing completion of its core banking system implementation, with cut-over to Infosys’ Finacle now anticipated for October. To manage the significant staff training aspect of the project, the bank has been one of the pioneers with a remote testing tool from a fellow Indian company, Gieom.

The bank has been undertaking a major transformation, which started in 2008. Previously primarily focused on corporate banking, it has been building up its retail business. It has increased its branch network since 2008 from 180 to nearly 400, with an expectation that it will reach 750 in the next couple of years. It has changed its senior management, added a lot of staff and, says SVP and head of solution delivery, Mridul Sharma, has sought to transform its technology, people, culture and performance.

The core banking system project is one of the final pieces, with the bank having already overhauled its channels (including implementing Finacle eBanking), middleware, CRM, workflow, business intelligence (IBS, September 2011, Indusind second taker for iCreate RBI solution) and imaging. There was an initial aim to go live with the core system in August 2012 but this was ambitious, says Sharma.

End-user training has been under way for around three months and is a large task. The bank has 6-7000 end-users to be trained on the core banking system, of which the 40 to 45 per cent most intensive users, such as those in operations, branch managers and relationship managers, will undergo face-to-face training. However, all users are first going through remote training and Sharma is unaware of any other Indian bank that has used a similar model.

There are plenty of computer-based training (CBT) tools in the market, says Sharma. However, these are generic, ‘so you end up doing all the legwork’. Indusind Bank uses a CBT offering elsewhere in its organisation but decided that it wanted something that added more value and was tailored for core banking. At about the same time, Gieom was starting to emerge. Working at the Indian Institute of Management, John Santhosh and a few other ex-I-flex Solutions staff had been studying the topic of training for core banking system projects. The first year had been purely research, says Santhosh, after which it gained a small number of services customers. Its cloud-based testing tool started to emerge and it gained Mauritius Commercial Bank as an early adopter, for its roll-out of Temenos’ T24 (IBS, January 2012, Change management case study: MCB). Other takers include National Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia, Ecobank in Africa (IBS, May 2012, Case study: One for the money) and Metlife in India.

The traditional ‘train the trainer’ approach has never worked well, believes Santhosh. With the Gieom approach, a bank’s documented material is initially loaded into the cloud and converted into process flows in the supplier’s offshore operation in Bangalore. This typically takes three months and might involve between 300 and 500 processes at an average bank, he says. The bank’s screens are then captured, are also uploaded to the cloud, and linked to the processes. 80 per cent of the work is offshore, he says. The bank is then trained to use and make changes to the content, so that it takes full ownership.

Sharma says: ‘While putting together a plan, it was very clearly thought that there would not be the time nor the budget to move everyone for face-to-face training. Secondly, we didn’t think that the classroom option was the most effective.’ Using the Gieom suite, the bank can deliver much more intensive user-based training, which is more controllable and distributable, he says. Staff can use this at home and in the office. For those that go on to face-to-face training, they won’t be seeing the system, its concepts and functions for the first time. ‘You always need persuasion, nothing moves by itself,’ he says, but once staff realised the benefits of the training platform, they took to it. ‘The challenge for a distributed organisation like a bank, with our 400 branches, is to make sure that you have up-to-date information and know what is happening, and that is only possible through an electronic medium.’

For those modules that have been tested, the bank has sought to ensure that they are the final versions and it has also tried to ensure that its training is process-centric, rather than just system-centric. This has been aided by the fact that part of the bank’s new infrastructure includes Software AG’s Webmethods Business Process Management (BPM) tool, which directs staff through the processes within, but also external to, the core banking system. The training tool is now available to all users and around 25 per cent have completed their training. Anil Rao, the bank’s EVP and head of operations, adds that the bank is likely to look at the tool’s applicability for future projects as well.

While the shift from Misys’ old Equation system, which was installed in 1994, to Finacle is a large one, one benefit for Indusind Bank is that Finacle is widely implemented in India. A lot of people move between banks and Indusind has recruited heavily to support its growth, so it has people within its ranks that already know the new system. ‘It may not be the same version, but they are able to make their way with it,’ says Sharma. Even people with experience of the other two widely installed core platforms in the country, Oracle FSS’s Flexcube and TCS’s Bancs, are used to using similar sorts of systems, he adds.

The bank is implementing the latest version of Finacle and will be the first taker for some parts. It has used Infosys’ own independent infrastructure validation services, which the supplier offers for its own applications as well as for third-party ones. Whether the bank makes its revised October cut-over will depend on how things go in the next few weeks, concludes Sharma.

by IBS Intelligence