by June 17, 2007 0 comments

Sunil is an MBA and BS (Computer Science) from Kent State University, USA.
This father of two is a fitness freak, loves shooting with his
camera and listening to music. He has 21 years experience across various
verticals that include insurance, telecom, banking and manufacturing. With his
efforts, he has been able to position IT as a strategic initiative driving BPM,
KM, MIS, Business Continuity, and workforce enabling solutions with HDFCSL. His
earlier assignments include a short assignment at MasterCard, Hutchison Telecom,
ANZ IT, Philips India Corporate IT and Servotech Engineers.

Sunil Rawlani,

Standard Life

Insurance sector is seen as an underdog in terms of technology adoption.
How have you been able to overcome this?
We have the most sophisticated digitized workflow in financial services. We
have a strong core insurance administration solution. We have enabled our sales
workforce and financial consultants with real-time information over the Web. We
have leveraged the robust processing efficiency of legacy solutions with
business intelligence, collaboration and internet technologies.

We are a financially unsophisticated market. The new entrants into life
insurance are creating awareness of financial planning. Our focus is on
need-based selling and, hence, technology is not emphasized. As customers’
awareness increases, they will become more discerning in their assessment of
capabilities of insurance service providers in meeting service obligations in a
cost-effective manner.

You have made your organization almost paperless. How has been the journey
from legacy systems to here?
We were able to create a process oriented culture in the formative stages.
We realized that technology was but a means to an efficient and effective
workplace. We did not have to adopt the legacy practices of experienced
financial services players. Rather, we needed to adopt the best practice methods
and blend them with technology adoption.

We realized that technology was all-pervasive, and the choice was one of
extent rather than automation. While automation (technology utilization) was a
given, transformation (technology exploitation) was a strategic direction from
the start. This journey has been possible as IT was able to provide strategic
guidance to top management and we created a business process management team.
One of our workflow automation projects has effectively been owned by the BPM
team with IT in a business role.

How do you ensure business continuity while ensuring that appropriate IT
is implemented and being followed? Change mgmt is also a major concern that
every CIO needs to address. How do you go about it?
IT alone is an enabler of business continuity. Digitization of paper based
data, process automation and creation of redundant data centers ensures
availability of data and processing capability. At HDFC Standard Life, we
adopted business continuity as a strategic deliverable of IT and implemented BCP.
We have established anIT DR site and a central processing hub outside Mumbai, to
provide for continuity as well as extended outage.

We have an yearly certification procedure for all our policy data. We have
ensured change management within IT for technical components, as well as a IT
-business team that drives change management.

Your advice for the "I" in BFSI sector, as a CIO.
Think long term, scalability and design your applications around the
customer. Unlike other sectors, a customer on a policy can continue to be one
for 50 years on that policy alone.

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