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Q&A with Deeptasree Mitra

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Deeptasree Mitra, Managing Director



How could you describe your career path in a few words? 

 

My career spans across banking, telco, retail and consultancy where I created innovative products and launched new business models, leveraging data, advanced analytics, and digital technologies like API and Cloud. As an executive in Banking and financial services, I have had the opportunity to consistently spearhead digital transformation and fintech innovation by simplifying harder concepts to execution blocks in larger, complex, and challenging environments. 


Each role I’ve undertaken has added a unique layer to my professional narrative, shaping me into someone who is well-equipped for the challenges in modern finance and technology. 


Consultancy sharpened my strategic and analytical skills and taught me to navigate various organisational structures, manage diverse stakeholder expectations and drive large-scale projects while my work in the data and analytics field helped me to foster a culture of informed decision making. The banking sector provided a solid foundation where I learned the intricacies of financial services and the challenges that exists in creating more customer-centric solutions. Based on the expertise I gained in more technology-focused roles in the past, it was the perfect place to anchor myself and deliver innovation by bridging traditional banking practices with innovative digital strategies effectively. 

 


What are the highlights of banking transformations in 2022? can you give us some major examples? 

 

2022 was an important year for banking transformations. One major trend was the accelerated adoption of digital banking services spurred by the ongoing global shift towards online platforms. Banks invested heavily in enhancing their mobile and online banking experiences to meet the increased demand for remote banking services. Additionally, we saw the integration of advanced analytics and AI into banking operations. E.g. for AI chat-bots to improve customer service efficiency and offer personalised advice. Major banks were seen to further their digital technologies enhancing their user experiences and investing in blockchain technology for more secure and efficient transaction processes. On the infrastructure side, we saw more investments from traditional banks on having a deliberate “public cloud strategy”. 


And there was a notable push toward Open Banking and API-driven financial services. This movement allowed for greater collaboration between traditional banks and fintech companies, leading to more innovative and customer-centric financial products. We saw rise of ‘banking as a service’ models allowing non-banks to offer financial services. Some examples include “Personal financial management tools”, widespread integration of “payment initiation services” through 3rd party software, account-aggregation services, BNPL and some lending services like peer-to-peer lending platforms and specialised lending services for small businesses leveraging their data (with Customer consent). These transformations are not just about technology; they represent a fundamental shift in how banking services are delivered and consumed. 


There was also a significant focus on sustainable and ethical banking practices, with many institutions committing to more environmentally and socially responsible operations. 

 

 

In your opinion, what are the transformation axes that are becoming more important for banks in the context of 2023? 

 

I think 2023 built on top of the trends seen in 2022. There was, of course, a lot of discussion on Generative AI and relevant use cases in the banking sector as well as the ethical and explain-ability side of it with some specific developments seen on the regulations that should govern the use of AI. This trend will pick up a lot in the coming years as we mature in the refinement and application of this technology. However, the accuracy and reliability of AI based solutions need to increase considerably before it becomes mainstream in the financial industry. 


More Banks will further embrace cloud computing. This includes not only migrating core banking operations to the cloud but better leveraging cloud-based services to build new innovative products and for enhanced data management and analytics capabilities. 


On the “banking as a service” side, we saw a major shift towards “embedded finance” which, according to me, is one of the biggest use cases enabled by APIs / banking as a service. I think, Banks will focus on building collaborative ecosystems by partnering with fintech companies and/or launching their own fintech subsidiaries or “as a service” business models leveraging these modern trends to create new markets. Banks will continue to invest further in their “API products and services” as their clientele go through digital transformations and demand straight through services from their Banks. 


And finally, as digital banking continues to grow, there will be heavy investments in cybersecurity technologies to protect against increasing cyber threats and data breaches. This includes adopting sophisticated encryption technologies, multi-factor authentication and real time monitoring systems. 

 


Based on your recent experiences, and if you have one piece of advice to give for the success of transformation projects, what would it be? 

 

In my experience, the key to successful transformation projects lies in fostering a culture of adaptability and continuous learning within the organisation. It’s crucial to stay agile, open to new ideas and continuously evaluate and iterate on our strategies. Transformation is not just about adopting new technologies; it’s about reshaping the organisation mindset and culture to thrive in a “digital-first” world. I have seen a step-by-step approach work well in large organisations, from my own personal experience, so here it goes - 


  • Focus on smaller value driven MVPs that run autonomously and in parallel to your standard multi-year transformation projects. Generate actual market value through innovation (as opposed to Proof-of-concepts) before investing further. 

  • Identify and create a focused group of skilled individuals and empower them with autonomy and freedom to develop and scale new strategies with high visibility and tracking from senior management. 

  • Relook at the skillset within your business divisions and infuse with new technical talent and create a culture where Business and Technology teams are jointly accountable for “business outcomes”. In other words, getting rid of the general organisational divides that exist between business and technology in larger institutions. 

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