Digitization has a growing space in the present and the future world. Lalit Mehta, who envisioned working in digital space in 2009, contributed to this field by delivering various products in Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) domain.
We at NewsAurChai got the opportunity to interview Lalit Mehta, co-founder and CEO of Decimal Technologies Pvt. Ltd, who helped us to gain insights into the IT industry in the current situation.
How Decimal Technologies was founded, and what was the motive behind its foundation?
When I was in college pursuing my MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, I was quite sure that I want to work in digital space and start something on my own instead of opting for a campus job. In 2009, I started it all alone in Chandigarh, wherein I used my friend’s office as a working premise with no employees for the initial six months. We hired interns for short terms to complete the tasks; we got ITC as our first client, which was a big breakthrough. In 2011 we realized that the company has the potential to grow, and for the same, we needed more employees; that’s when Arvind Nahata joined as CO-Founder.
The broader aspect was to enable corporates with a workforce that works outside the office for tiny things like submitting a report or getting some information about customers. This results in a lousy customer experience, especially in domains like insurance. So the thought was to digitize the entire interaction with customers inside and outside of the office. Initially, we targeted FMCG and Insurance wherein a large workforce is required to take orders or agents are required to sell the policies, respectively. However, by enabling this process through various applications on mobile phones, this changed.
As we all know, digitization drives Decimal; what do you think is the future of digitization, keeping in mind the present situation?
Digitization initially started as nothing but storing data in digital format instead of pen and paper. We have come a long way from capturing the data to tuning the process, which is optimal for the digital data.
The next level is the automation of data networks and Artificial intelligence. So these networks will help as a moderator or a facilitator for different organizations to come together.
Recently we went live with Video KYC in Kotak, which now enables the customer to complete the entire account opening process from home and optimizes a complicated workflow into a simplified process.
With that said, the data in the form of video and audio will be much more efficient in analyzing a person’s emotions and engagement during the entire process through this; you can identify the genuineness of lead or customer or risks involved.
While this is happening as part of the present, the future is more likely to be a science fiction movie. An account opening process may no longer involve a computer or mobile phone, and advanced artificial intelligence has the power to make it happen.
Is Decimal working on any solution or product that will transform the user experience in the BFSI domain?
Video KYC is one such product that we have successfully gone live with Kotak and will soon be part of another bank. Another product which is currently in development is a platform called Saarthi. The process uses a network of small businesses that are not digitized and is majorly human dependent.
For example, the process involving lead generators or lead convertors responsible for sourcing accounts and policies is ineffective because of a lack of proper communication, delays, and fraudulent use of documents to process accounts in their interest. This creates a lack of trust between channels and providers. Saarthi will digitize the entire network making it an independent platform, reducing the cost of processing a loan by 30-40 per cent.
What are the challenges BFSI companies are facing? Is there something state and Centre can do about it?
The major challenge is to move the ways of working. Due to the restrictions of movement of people, transactions are minimized. To help people small businesses, Centre has modified Policies that will enable a larger population to take loans. However, the challenge will be faced by banks in the readiness of their system, process, and technology.
Nonetheless, even after considering these challenges, banks are not going to be majorly impacted since it is the way to revive the economy. Reality stands with the fact that there are many more industries severely effected like travel, manufacturing, retail, apart from IT and bank. So the Center and State Governments must prioritize on MSME, which they are doing already.
Working in an office environment is totally different from work from home. How are you managing the scattered resources?
Since we are a technology company, it’s a connected world. So we did not face many problems. Yes, we are effectively working from home, and, if required, we can permanently work from home. However, it will be too robotic. The joy of working as a team and human connect is missing.
How is Decimal handling the social responsibility part? Can you share some details about ROKONA?
The major step is not to contribute negatively. So when we addressed the problems associated with corona, we came up with the app ROKONA, which works as good as AAROGYA SETU. We are also making it available to other corporates at a minimal cost. Our CSR team is doing at most to help the migrant labourers who have suffered the most during this pandemic.
Contributing to reviving the economy by getting smaller banks and organizations ready is a big step from our end.
You have talked about how Decimal can bring certainty, predictability, and pace is VUCA? Can you please share thoughts on the same?
Uncertainty and volatility will always be present in some form right now COVID-19 brought it. We need to be nimble and agile to cope up with the change. When everything is moving, it leads to chaos. A product that will be stationary and robust is required, which can be enhanced or modified based on every situation.
Do you have any personal story or philosophy that keeps you going every day?
When people try to use all their efforts at multiple things at one point, it eventually burns them out. So whatever you do at a time, give your 100 per cent. Focus on something you are doing at a time, keeping away all the distractions. Celebrate all the small success you get in your way, which motivates you to achieve the next step or goal you would like to meet.
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