BFSI VISION | Mobility


Trivikram Kamath

Executive Vice President – Operations, Finance and Technology, Kotak Securities Limited

Mobility: Challenges, fear and expectations

What inhibits the growth of mobile service delivery?

  • Network consistency i.e. coverage and reliability that the network service one needs, is available when one needs it especially in semi-rural / rural areas
  • Regulatory red tape and long delays e.g. the "Jan dhan" scheme for opening bank accounts to the un-banked across the country. Bank accounts don't happen without comprehensive authentication i.e. KYC process which takes at-least two days to complete, while mobile operators can release a new phone connection ready to use within 24 hours. Physical (Paper) forms are still mandatory in certain places that inhibit a complete digital delivery.
  • Security concerns – Unsecure storage of sensitive personal information on mobile phones that could be used by malwares, identity theft, loss of mobile handsets
  • A large majority of the mobile services available in India are based on 2G technology, though 3G has picked up in the recent past. Once 3G/4G services become more affordable and available, mobile service delivery would become more appropriate and adaptable to bridge the digital divide.
  • Smartphones – Smartphones were generally out of reach of the masses. With the recent launches of sub-5K smartphones, mobile apps would now be within reach.
  • Lack of successful examples too has led to some amount of un-certainty and hesitation in customer adaptability of mobile applications.
  • Others –
  • The challenge of monetizing mobile content delivery
  • Battery life is becoming a hindrance for many mobile devices, particularly smartphones

What are the challenges you face in articulating a Mobile strategy?

  • Deciding on investing and maintaining varied mobile technology infrastructures, is definitely a challenge. Given the challenging economic climate and need to optimize ROI, the decision whether to make our own investments in these capabilities or to look out for third party partners who could provide these capabilities at lower costs by leveraging the investments/costs across multiple customers, is a key element for consideration.
  • Keeping pace with rapid changes in the mobile OS/hardware landscape, designing to the many types of form factors needed (native / web app) and providing a robust security architecture for protection of assets, are some of the other challenges.
  • Complexity in terms of integration points viz. managing multiple relationships (B2C, B2E), multiple business processes and associated applications is another challenge.
  • Governance - Great plans and talented resources will only thrive within a proper organizational design. A single owner needs to be designated to manage a broad team across functions whose should be responsible for weaving together team members and ideas to ensure consistent standards, collaboration, connection to business goals and optimization of resources.
  • A well-written mobile strategy must consider the organisation's key objectives, not quick reactions to new technologies or competitors' initiatives.

What do customers look for when they use mobile devices for transactions?

  • Customers want to download an easy-to-navigate app that delivers a suite of key functionalities and services through an intuitive, entertaining user interface. They expect an app to identify what device they are on and present them with the right set of options and functionality for that particular device.
  • They expect the application to be fast and responsive. While stunning visuals attract customers by making a great first impression, a long-lasting relationship depends on the quality of each encounter, which is heavily influenced by how the app performs.
  • Availability of real-time information in an application, is one of the key abilities that customers look for while using mobile applications.

What are the security fears for mobility devices?

  • Loss of personal information: Many of mobile devices have good storage capabilities which are often leveraged by mobile applications to store (cache) some of the captured information. If the device is compromised, there is a possibility that this information could be retrieved by the attacker or data could also be intercepted in transit, if not secured.
  • Theft/Loss of a device can result in the compromise of sensitive and proprietary information stored on the device.
  • Mobile devices carry the risk of introducing malware. The devices themselves can be used as a platform for additional malicious activity. Devices with microphones and cameras are particularly vulnerable because they can be activated easily using publicly available tools, possibly resulting in malware propagation, data loss and eavesdropping.