Shyamol B. Das: Chief Digital Officer , BRAC Bank Limited

Mr. Shyamol B. Das, is the Chief Digital Officer of BRAC Bank Limited from January 1, 2019. Prior to this new role, he was Chief Technology Officer of the bank. Mr. Shyamol has contributed his skills on technological innovations and developments in multifarious environment starting from Telecom, IT Training to logistics, Airlines and then Banking.


MBR: What is your strategy towards digitalizing your banking service?

Shyamol B. Das: This is very important that, we digitize our services as the customer propensity and market dynamics are changing every day. There was a time when digitization was more like “fashionista”, but now it is a requirement. The world is moving into certain way which makes it immensely important to have certain presence digitally as the customer does not want to come to the bank. They want to do everything on mobile while they are doing every chores. So, it is becoming vital importance for any bank to go into digital platform and BRAC Bank is aligned to this way of thinking. Even though BRAC Bank has been quite a pioneer in IT sector in terms of all kinds of solution since 2007. They were the first to bring the foreign top class core banking system. However, these function are core based functions. For customers to enjoy topnotch banking experience, which is efficient service in lesser time, digitization is very important. So, we are moving towards that direction. We have the platform in terms of core functions and now we are developing a complete digital strategy based on which we have planned the next 10 years. Anything we will come up with, will be based on how the customer will interact on the mobile phone.

MBR: What are the new initiatives of BRAC Bank to address product development and process optimization using new technology?

Shyamol B. Das: First of all, going into digital technology is not about “technology”. That’s the misconception most of the people have in their thought process. Here, we need to think something innovative. When we think about digital, we have to change the mindset of people. So, there is lot of change management, lot of behavioral aspects and of course process re-engineering and process improvement. If you do not do that, all these will fail. So, the first initiative we have taken is coming up with “BRAC Bank Innovation Lab”.

Then again, in order to do that we have to change the mindset of people by bringing Human Centric Design (HCD) concept. What the customers want is more important than what products should we offer them. We targeted about 400-500 young people of BRAC Bank who will think how to design a product by going to customers, understanding their needs and then designing the product in such a way that and fits into the system.

When we try to build or create product, we have to go with the regulatory frame work. The biggest challenge is when we abide by the regulatory framework, we cannot go into the market quickly. However, the customer wants instant service- kind of like reward system, where you will always go for better cashback offers. Therefore, if we don’t go for quick facilities, quick and better offers, in short, if we do not become “agile”, the customer will never come to us. In order to bring the agility and still be in the regulatory framework, a lot of quick process re-engineering needs to be done. These all require lot of change management, shift in behavioral aspects and then product innovation and process re-engineering will take place. Otherwise, it will be just like “Garbage In Garbage Out”.

MBR: How technology can be used to enhancing the customer experience of BRAC Bank? What is your approach in this regards?

Shyamol B. Das: Earlier, we used to build products first and sell in the market. Now, we first go to the market and then design products. Our target is to design “customer-centric” product or services. The features of the products and services will all be decided by them. We will just understand their needs and design accordingly. We do customer profiling and create a “customer journey”. When we create the journey for the customer, we define their experience in each stage of the journey. For instance, what should be a customer’s experience when s/he is coming out of university, after getting married, having kids, retirement and even after death, how can we serve his/her family members. Therefore, to design the entire customer journey, we have to come up with lot of solutions, lot of features, lot of rewards and lot of plans.

If a customer feels BRAC Bank’s products give them what they want, s/he will have a good experience and will use our app. Otherwise, there are thousands of apps and solutions in market.

MBR: Security has always been an Achilles Heel in the discussion of Digital Banking Service. How you are safeguarding your client’s data and interest from the threat of cybercrime?

Shyamol B. Das: The biggest mistake we make in our country is first we develop a product and then think about security. Our approach is different. From the first of developing any idea, we keep security next to us. In every stage we assess what should be the security steps, how we should carry forward it. Once we design the product and the product goes into the market, by default it has a security circle by itself. Remember that, it is not the responsibility of bank itself, it’s the responsibility of the customers as well. So, we also educate our customers about their responsibilities to ensure their security.

We say that the other side of the technology are smarter than you. They can be always two steps ahead. No bank or company can be 100% secured. But still, we must be aware and planned so that the problems can be mitigated. We always see this as a partnership or coordination of different departments come together to make sure that the customer is secure, the bank is secure and the customer has better experience.

MBR: The role of regulators is key in unblocking the potential of digital banking in any country. In your opinion what regulatory initiative is necessary for flourishing the digital banking services in Bangladesh?

Shyamol B. Das: eKYC is the most important. It should be opened in a graded manner. For instance, for mobile banking, it can be open up to BDT 1 Lac to 3lac, for banking only, from BDT 5 Lac to 10 lacs etc. It is like a prototype. Once the eKYC is well established and on the run, most of the problems will be solved.