Selecting the right training approach for a core banking implementation is a significant and challenging dimension for any project. For Ratnakar Bank, the importance of training was magnified due to the cultural diversity and vast geography of its India-based operation.

Training is a crucial aspect of change management, and part of the foundations of a core banking implementation project. There is no single ‘recognised’ training strategy, as each bank uses different methods to meet its own needs, opening hours, job roles, number of staff and so on. At Ratnakar Bank for instance, which recently completed implementation of Finacle from Infosys (IBS, January 2013, Ratnakar Bank live on Finacle), India-based Gieom’s visualisation and training modules were used to get Ratnakar’s staff up to speed on the new system.

With the Gieom approach, Ratnakar Bank’s documented material was initially loaded into the cloud and converted into process flows in the supplier’s offshore operation in Bangalore. The bank’s screens are then captured, are also uploaded to the cloud, and linked to the processes. The bank is then trained to use and make changes to the content, so that it takes full ownership.

‘Everything was changing: processes, systems and the underlying technology, so, we had to teach people from scratch, starting from how to log into the system,’ says Sujatha Mohan, Ratnakar’s senior vice-president and core banking system implementation lead. She is complimentary of the work done by Gieom in this area, with its established methodology and user-friendly visual presentation and material.

India is a multilingual country and a wide branch network of Ratnakar means that there are people speaking different languages. Although English is the country’s unifying language, says Mohan, in the remote, rural areas it is a challenge for many. Ratnakar’s strategy is to expand into rural locations and address the needs of the unbanked sector (the bank plans to increase its branch count from the current 100+ to 300 over the next couple of years), so how do you get the message and training to all in such a case? ‘This is where visualisation is invaluable,’ she says. ‘Everything from Gieom was graphical, everything was visual. It made our life so much easier. I would recommend this methodology to anyone who was going through a similar transformation.’

The branches were able to link their manual processes and system processes seamlessly, so that they could ensure the customer data was input correctly and if there were any problems or mistakes they could see what went wrong and how to rectify it. ‘Everybody had access to Gieom and it was a two-way access. People would practice in the system, learn the operations and then put transactions into Finacle. They could see and get the feel for what their customer data looks like in Finacle, how it is organised there and so on,’ explains Mohan.

‘Branch champions’ (Finacle methodology) were appointed, so that the users could reach out to them if they had any questions. These ‘branch champions’ also acted as a ‘conduit’ between the head office and the branches after the cutover, dealing with the Finacle-related queries from people on the ground and helping with the transition.

Prior to the cutover, around three weeks were dedicated to the ‘business simulation’ phase, checking the readiness of the branches and personnel there. ‘We went through thorough checks, including ensuring that every single user was logging in and that their screens were displaying the correct information,’ she states. Also, everyone had to be certified by Gieom to be deemed ready to operate Finacle. She adds that the management team was ‘pleasantly surprised with the level of readiness of our staff’.

 

by Darshana Adanwale
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