ROI Will Drive the Need for Tech Investments

by Sonal Desai & Soma Tah    Nov 25, 2008

The banks, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, although is completely not insulated from the crisis, will continue to spend on its information technology projects. Customer driven technologies are infact driving the IT spend in this sector.

Hitesh D. Lad, manager at Citigroup Global Services Ltd. endorsed the view and said that the group is investing more into customer driven technologies. So there is no compromise on the IT investment on that front.

According to Basant Shroff, principal analyst at Ernst and Young, there are two issues to what is happening in the West and how is impacting the East. The US is a developed economy and so there is an impact on the IT budgets. Big research firms like Gartner have also reduced their IT budgets significantly.

The areas in tech cuts in the US will be in hardware purchases and on new initiatives. ROI will essentially drive the need for new tech investments across continents. Software as a service (Saas) will be an alternate. But it will not be the only alternate. If the service providers do not reduce cost on Saas, enterprises will look at other options. Deploying Saas is a cost inducing, time consuming initiative, that requires a lot of effort and investments. The results are for all to see once it matures, said Shroff.

Most IT investment will be on a project to project basis, said he. Initiatives such a mobile banking will have to wait. But for how long? Initial footwork within the organization can start, but the phase is difficult to guesstimate. There are mixed reactions whether this is done and dusted, or there is more to come, when the impact will stop. We are in the recovery mode. Increasingly, we will see some more and better solutions.

As Amin Ismail Khan, associate VP, Development Credit Bank said, We have already implemented CMS, corporate Internet banking (CIB) and document management solutions this year in DCB to enhance our business process as well as customer experience and will be continuing to invest on some essential IT solutions.

Rajnikant Patel, president, Reliance Money, said that instead of fluttering on the major IT investment decisions, organizations should carefully weigh the business benefits of the same. Instead of lowering the IT spends, we have to tread a little bit cautiously this time around. We are actually looking to boost our efficiency level with introducing new and innovative solutions in our operations and at the same time maximize the ROI on our IT spends. After all a penny saved is a penny earned, said he.

Ruling out the possibilities of cutting down IT investment budgets and projects, A. P. Raja, chief manager, SBI s associate for Integrated Treasury said, After the adoption of core banking, we are actually looking to bring in more customer-friendly initiatives and hence we need to spend more on IT and business process automation projects.

And has the crisis impacted the grand old daddy of the stock markets? Certainly not, said Manojit R.Barui, deputy manager, information technology at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Infact, we are introducing a new trading platform. No more details on the platform were however, forthcoming.