The IT industry has long segregated consulting skills from those in domain, implementation and sales. They have recruited, trained and nurtured employees for consulting roles in business strategy and management and earned a return on this investment by way
of higher billings. Consulting skills and attributes are sought after by vendors and clients both in the services industry – the former needs it to drive strategy and business and the latter for implementing solutions based on technical skills and know-how.
However, in the core banking product industry, it is difficult to segregate the consulting component from mainstream banking consulting. Domain consultants with business consulting acumen have always excelled at requirement analysis and solution design,
and made an important contribution by giving valuable ideas and suggestions. The business analyst can recommend the most appropriate architecture or technology platform based on the bank’s existing IT infrastructure. Also, the domain consultant can advise
the bank on the best industry solutions for different budgets.
The consultant’s knowledge of the banking sector, market trends, regulations and processes can provide impetus to banks seeking strategic direction. Based on industry experience, the consultant can provide suitable inputs to banks on target customer segments,
procurement of new solutions, new product launches and so on. These inputs can help banks price their offerings right and thereby augment their retail banking business in emerging markets like India. The consultant can also advise banks on whether or not to
outsource certain businesses, which ones to centralize or decentralize, how to cross-sell at the front office etc. By assessing cost and revenue models, the strategic consultant can devise ways to maximize return on investment.
The domain consultant can also advise banks on best practices and processes which will help improve performance, efficiency and resource management. Existing business practices can be streamlined to improve turnaround time for customer deliverables. Redundant
processes, if any, can be eliminated to make way for new ones.
Some key areas that would benefit from consulting services are:
a) Procurement and evaluation of new software
b) Strategic direction based on competition, products, client segment etc.
c) Business in general
d) Management advisory services
e) Business process outsourcing
In a core banking context, where the consulting angle cannot be alienated, domain consultants with in-depth knowledge of banking practices and processes can add greater value than pure-play consultants. With a sound understanding of regulations like KYC,
AML, IFRS accounting, FATCA and the resultant risk and compliance implications, these consultants can provide strategic direction to banks.