Skilled Attrition Major Challenge for PSU Banks

by Tabrez Khan    Sep 29, 2008

How is the non-stop server helping you achieve your objectives?

We have been on the non-stop server platform for the last six years. It has helped us to grow from 0 to 1500 ATMs in a short span of time. We have deployed the s-series of servers. We started with s-74 servers and since it was coming to the end of support we moved to the s-88000. We have a 4-CPU server now. I think we will be able to scale our IT infrastructure for the next four years without any hitch.

Can you describe your IT infrastructure?

We are a 100% core banking bank with Finacle as the platform on the software side, and IBM as the IT hardware platform. We have been able to bring 1500 branches on the core-banking platform within the last six months.

What are some of the new initiatives the bank is taking on the IT side?

The bank is taking a lot of new initiatives since the implementation of core banking. We were among the first to comply with the SEBI directive on IPOs and went live on Day 1. The bank is also working to build a new data warehouse, expected to be up by next year and a call center that is expected to start functioning by December this year. Apart from this we have enabled online transfer of funds to any bank or branch in India under the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), and also initiated online railway freight payment. We will be introducing mobile payments shortly.

What is your annual IT budget and how is it allocated?

Our annual IT budget is Rs 200 crore. Since we were not a 100% core banking bank until now, a major part of this budget was being allocated for core banking implementation in the past few years. Now with full core banking implementation, our focus will turn toward other initiatives such as data warehousing, call center etc.

What are some of the key pain areas your bank faces on the IT side

A key pain area for ours as well as most other PSU banks is skilled attrition. We cannot offer incentives and salaries on the scale of the private sector. We have to work under the government s and Indian Bank Association s regulation and guidelines. So retaining skilled IT talent is a major challenge. Also recruitment of IT talent is another pain area. Since we have elaborate guidelines and set procedures to follow, recruitment becomes inflexible and often not conducive to hiring people with good IT skill sets. However, over the years we have developed some good in-house talent.