by June 8, 2006 0 comments

The SBI Connect project by the State Bank of


is an ambitious networking project (implemented by Datacraft Ltd) that links
their and their associate banks across


. The SBI has 5,600 business critical branches of its own and some 4,900
branches of associate banks (the other banks under the ‘State Bank’ banner).
This project networks the entire infrastructure under one platform. SBI
Connect’s reach now extends from the farthest ends of the country from
Lakshdweep to Andaman and the North East and

Jammu and Kashmir

in the North.


Data lying in isolated pools at 10,000+ branches all over India

Computerize and network all branches to be able to centrally locate and manage information


State Bank of India and Datacraft India 


Leased lines, VSAT, dialup PSTN links, encryption with 3DES and IPSec
P P Pattanayak,
Deputy Managing Director (IT) State Bank of India 
S Shahabuddin, 
Chief General Manager (IT) 
State Bank of India

Business case
SBI saw enormous possibilities for new business models and workflows in the
convergence of voice and data. In anticipation of such changes in the
environment, they determined to move away from a distributed data base to a
centralized data base. This they thought was necessary for bringing in
significant improvement in customer service and development of a
customer-centric business model. SBI’s aim was to be in a position to increase
its customer base without compromising on the quality of service. Customers
could be migrated to alternate delivery channels like ATMs and Internet bankin.
This would bring in convenience banking together with freeing up branch
personnel for tasks that required direct interaction and personalized service.
The cost reduction resultant from electronic banking was an equally compelling
argument for the project ‘SBI Connect’.

Implementation challenge
This grand project started back in June 2002 and is still on-going, with
more branches being added with every passing month. As of February this year,
there were 10,500 branches already connected to the new SBI Connect network.

To reach up to the current levels, the project has been
through three roll out phases so far. In the first phase between June 2002 and
September 2003, 1,400 branches in 49 cities were covered. Then, 3,400 more
branches were brought under SBI Connect, covering an additional 300 cities. The
current phase is the largest so far, covering 6,100 branches. In 2005, all the
branches of all the associate State Banks (seven of them) were fully brought
under SBI Connect-this alone contributes 4,888 branches and extension counters
to this total.

SBI Connect network
The network has been designed in a modular and hierarchical fashion, with a
leased line as the backbone. Last mile connectivity to branches is provided over
either leased lines or in places of poor connectivity through VSAT or even
dial-up PSTN links.

The entire network is also protected using 3DES and IPSec
for end to end security. The network carries all three of data, voice and video,
making it a triple play network in the BFSI sector. The data part is the regular
application data. Each branch location also has SBI’s internal VoIP setup and
this is the voice component. Video is still in the initial stages and this would
probably be used for video conferencing between the branches. There are three
layers to this network: the core or backbone part, the distribution part and the
last mile access part. The core layer is a set of leased line links between the
four metros in full-mesh configuration. The distribution layer contains all the
nodal aggregation centers and local head office networks.

SBI Connect now forms the core backbone of the State Bank, carrying all the
primary banking applications of the entity whether its their core banking
solution, the ATM network, the trade finance applications, treasury solutions,
Internet banking or even their internal e-mail and VoIP systems. Because of the
increased availability of pooled data across the branches, the State Bank of


has been able to increase its product line of cash management services.

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