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Near-universal access to mobile telephony and internet has redefined the Indian context for banking technology so drastically that suddenly the initiative is with non-conventional banking service players, whereas traditional brick and mortar players are lagging on time-to-market measures in this explosive e-banking era that's suddenly upon us. While there's a surfeit of banking products, solutions and implementers seemingly deployable to bridge this gap, the unwieldiness of existing approaches and decision-making hierarchies are stymying banking's transformation. A complete reengineering that inverts banking to place technology at the core of products, services, channels and businesses rather than at its traditional corner as enabler and operational supporter is required.
Indian banking must be on par with first-world standards – it's vital to anormative growth and economy's take-off. Financial inclusion is the biggest enabler – it's the only way India is going to make it. All the ingredients are there – Solid base of sound banking and regulatory practices; Immense depth of IT industry's experience and expertise; Vast and robust telecom connectivity penetration... but even at the best of brick and mortar institutions technology remains too arcane to be embedded in decision makers' DNA. Therein lies the nub of the issue.
My vision for PNBIIT, therefore, is for it to be the foremost advocate and enabler of the metamorphosis banking institutions' approach needs, to repossess the initiative. PNBIIT should position itself to become the platform for dialogue upon and advocacy for this most trenchant of leadership tasks – to place technology at its rightful centre in banks' decision making.
Any change that reorients and reprograms an institution so fundamentally requires conviction, commitment, persistence and tenacity – on an institution-wide basis. The trigger for business success and survival for an institution on the cusp of such a flux-point takes two forms – progressive stimulus and precipitative intervention. Oftener than not, it is the latter. The success or failure of interventions has always hinged on factors that may be placed broadly on a People / Process / Context matrix. In addition to this, there is a definition-control aspect to these factors that makes some focussed, time/domain-specific and controllable and others diffused, generic and unwieldy. PNBIIT seeks to define these factors and to thereafter propose an intervention template that structures execution of a successful organizational intervention, constituted of a series of modular learning and experiential units that graduates decision-makers' pre-programme understanding and assumptions through a series of validations and refinements until a transformation accord is obtained. There are numerous classroom- or semi-structured interventions that can be designed to achieve this. And we must endeavour for PNBIIT to be a leader in providing such intervention tools and methodologies.
I visualize PNBIIT as a platform that brings together technology and business managers from financial institutions in inter-disciplinary teams into this laboratory of ideas - with the objective of letting learners experience what synergy emerges when the same individuals are placed not combatively on either side of a fence but cooperatively inside the same matrix. PNBIIT should foster a high-embarrassment threshold, non-combative, non-threatening environment that allows questioning the fundamentals by asking fundamental questions. It should be the forbearer of this strategic shift in approach to banking technology and provide thought leadership and mentoring for the technocrats and bankers of tomorrow.