Karthik Krishnamurthy, global
business leader for Cognizant’s data warehousing, business
intelligence and performance management, tells Meghna M ukerjee
about two new analytics platforms. According to the vendor, the
software will help banks better understand customer demand and
boost loyalty and retention


Bar chart showing Cognizant's revenues and operating profit, 2008-2010The global
economic climate is uncertain. Banks are pulling up their socks and
tightening their purse strings.

Perceiving the present climate as an
opportunity for banks to invest in customercentric analytics to
optimise CRM, IT and business solutions provider Cognizant has
opened up two solutions that were launched last year, Big Decisions
and BINGO (Business Intelligence on the Go), to the public.

Global business leader for Cognizant’s
data warehousing, business intelligence and performance management
Karthik Krishnamurthy says banks now want more from less, and they
need to invest in the right customercentric, integrated, analytics
tools to obtain the right information, at the right time.

“The ‘right information’ refers to the
kind that will lead banks to realise what is relevant to the
customer, as the balance of power has now shifted from the
retailers to the consumers,” says Krishnamurthy.

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The Big Decisions framework has been
piloted with 10 banks in the US so far. Big Decisions – developed
by Cognizant’s Big Data Competency Centre – aims to analyse not
only the customer needs but also customer sentimentality.

Krishnamurthy says: “The volume of
data is growing and banks need to understand what customers are
feeling about their products to know what exactly to do with all
the massive data they receive on a daily basis.”

Cognizant’s Big Decisions aims to
“solve big data challenges and drive significant business benefits”
by taking a detailed view of the customer – tracking what his
activities are online before he chooses a product – such as a home
loan or credit card.

Krishnamurthy says knowing what steps
lead up to a customer choosing or rejecting a particular product or
service is important information for banks, in order to make the
right offer to the right consumer.

Business Intelligence (BI) systems
also allow banks to take smart decisions by understanding customer
demand, loyalty, retention, and optimise the performance and
profitability by gaining perspective on business operations that
support the decision-making process.

Cognizant’s BI-in-a-Box solution that
was launched in 2010 works on a pay-as-you-go model and is a
comprehensive, pre-built BI platform that provides business
foresights and inbuilt KPIs through a number of features.

“Solutions like BI-in-a-Box are
valuable at a time when the mandatory spending for banks is going
up, their risk compliance parameters are getting higher, and they
need to rationalise their projects,” says Krishnamurthy.

Cognizant’s new BINGO solution focuses
on businesses getting quick operational insights in the form of
data and/or reports being made immediately accessible to decision
makers, wherever and whenever they are needed, over mobile

Smartphones and iPads can be used for
BINGO to manage the pervasive BI, and deliver time-sensitive

“Pervasive business intelligence is
useful, and being able to walk around with BI is a big advantage,”
Krishnamurthy says.

“BINGO combines big data and mobility
– both of which banks need.”

Krishnamurthy stresses that the real
time operational capabilities of BINGO will give “banks as well as
its employees – including the field force – immediate knowledge
about – and access to – customer needs”.

As the workplace evolves, the ways in
which knowledge is created, accumulated, stored and applied will
radically change.

As more globalised and virtualised
workplaces emerge – tools to deliver and distil raw information
into more immediately useful forms will become increasingly
important, Krishnamurthy believes.

According to Krishnamurthy, banks
should spend more time and effort on keeping track of what their
customers are doing online as “the intangible influence the online
world can have on a business is immense”.

“There is no one taking a 360-degree
view of the customer,” he says. “Innovation in the online world
together with social media – all of it comes with its own set of
complications and power that banks must scope out in order to
improve their business offerings.

“Banks should listen to what customers
are saying online, where their money is going.”

Banks around the world are, however,
becoming more aware of, and more inclined towards, using advanced
IT solutions to improve their business. Latin America and the
Middle East are two markets where banks are particularly eager to
try new analytical solutions, says Krishnamurthy.

“The Middle Eastern banks are
especially good with innovative tools and are keen on keeping track
of what analytical tools the western world is using,” he says.

Indian banks are adopting new
integrated IT platforms slightly late but that can be an advantage,
according to Krishnamurthy.

“The good thing about coming in late
is that you can learn from the mistakes that other banks around the
world have made and choose the correct, most advanced analytics
solution that will actually help your bank and services,” he

Cognizant develops IT and business
solutions for a number of large financial institutions, including
JP Morgan Chase and UBS.

According to Krishnamurthy, Cognizant
is expecting to close 2011 with revenues of close to $6bn, almost
$2bn of which is a result of the company’s work with the financial
services industry.