State Bank of India launches new digital services with support from Accenture
State Bank of India (SBI), the nation's largest bank, has launched six ‘digital’ branches across the country as part of a pioneering program to offer next generation banking solutions to India's growing smartphone and internet customer base.
The bank engaged Accenture a global technology services and outsourcing company, to develop the digital business strategy for its branch program, which features a range of advanced digital banking capabilities including instant account opening with personalised debit cards, instant loan approvals for car and home loans and remote expert advisors available via video links.
Accenture helped SBI in designing the branch layouts, implementing the digital processes and technology at the branches, and providing back-end integration, including employee training.
SBI’s new branches, branded as sbiINTOUCH, are equipped with interactive wall and table displays; remote experts that can be reached instantly via high-definition videoconferencing; multi-function kiosks that provide services such as instant account opening with personalised debit cards, and instant in-principle approvals for home, auto or education loans.
The branches are located in major metropolitan areas across India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad. Arundhati Bhattacharya, the Chairman of State Bank of India, said: “India is in the midst of a major demographic transition and we recognise that our customers increasingly expect digital services to help them manage their financial needs.
“Today, more than half of India's population is under the age of 25. By 2020, India's average age will be just 29 years - this is a digital demographic: one that expects businesses to provide solutions immediately.
“At the same time, the mass-affluent - no matter what their age - have similar expectations. Indian banks need to provide a strong response to these new demands. These branches are a first step in the journey to offering full digital services across the nation.”
SBI’s new digital strategy is a deep rooted transformation that has three aspects: a transformation of the customer experience it delivers; introduction of device centric technology that is at the forefront of its global peers; and transformation of the behavioural model of its staff-base to be even more customer centric.
Piyush Singh, Managing Director and head of Accenture's Financial Services operating group in India, said: “India has an opportunity to become a world leader in digital banking services, and we are pleased to collaborate with the leadership team of the State Bank of India.
“By putting technology at the heart of their business strategy, India's largest bank will be at the forefront of the global digital revolution that is transforming banking.”
The transformative initiative leverages Accenture's deep banking industry knowledge and expertise in strategy and systems-integration, and capabilities in digital marketing, mobility and analytics from Accenture Digital.
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less.
According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”.
Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge
Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals.
These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects.
Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity.
Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets
And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns.
Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.