Cognizant is at a significant growth phase in Asia Pacific, buoyed by the region’s early adoption of new technology.
Hemant Tantia, Head of Banking and Financial Services - Market Enablement in APAC at Cognizant, says, “Asia Pacific has been a growth engine for our company and is one of our fastest growing regions.” Hemant says that clients in Asia Pacific embrace digital technology much faster than in many other places, making this an exciting market. “Companies here are more open to new technologies. This encourages companies like Cognizant to pilot new tech and our employees working here get to work on those cutting-edge technologies ahead of people in other regions. This is a huge motivating factor for our teams,” he says.
Cognizant, which has a reputation for being at the forefront of new solutions, is currently exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) in banking in the Asia Pacific market, particularly to combat financial crime and money laundering.
One solution it developed for a large multi-national Banking & Financial services firm’s credit card division, which used data analytics, AI and machine learning to understand new fraud patterns there by increased the fraud capture rate by 30% and reduce the rate of false positive i.e. legitimate transactions wrongly declined by almost 100% . Another area in which Cognizant is active is the development of open banking Application Programming Interfaces (API).
The company is also actively developing robotic process automation in banking, under which manual processes are automated. In some case, Cognizant does not charge clients for this service, but instead takes its fee from a share of the cost savings the company makes as a result of its solution.
The fintech landscape is evolving rapidly, and one technology that Tantia thinks companies should be paying particular attention to is blockchain. “Blockchain has the potential to streamline operations and reduce costs, all while opening new revenue opportunities. While it has its current limitations in terms of scaling, the underlying fundamentals of this technology are very strong,” he says.
“Most tier one banks are still in a proof-of-concept phase and are waiting and watching, but blockchain is here to stay. If banks do not adopt it, they will end up being laggards because the advantages of blockchain brings are far reaching.”
According to Tantia, banks today are looking for end-to-end solutions and Cognizant can drive that. “I think Cognizant has gone much further than our competitors in terms of our solutions, our vision and how we integrate digital topics, linking data and analytics,” he says. “That Cognizant is the youngest company among all of its key competitors, yet our absolute and percentage revenue growth is industry leading, is testament to our leadership.
Tantia describes himself as a boomerang employee: He came back to Cognizant after a stint in private banking.
He first worked at Cognizant between 2003 and 2010, before leaving to work for a leading global bank, based out of Singapore. But in 2016, he says he felt “pulled back” to Cognizant.
“Cognizant’s executive management is very young and dynamic, not just in age, but also in thought. Their outlook is ‘next generation’, they think ‘fit for future’, and when they have to turn the ship, they do it relatively quickly,” he says.
Tantia says that Cognizant’s unique ‘two-in-a-box’ strategy, where global and local teams work in tandem, with decision making done at both levels, is a highly effective amalgam of the organisation’s global strategy and local execution excellence. He says, “ The two-in-a-box model with a market-facing team and a delivery team working together helps deliver the best fit solution for clients. It brings thought leadership from a global level, and is executed at a local level.”
As a result of the strong growth Cognizant has seen in Asia Pacific, the company is looking to recruit new talent, particularly in the areas of data analytics and AI. “The demand is much greater than the supply and we are trying to meet it through a combination of internal training, lateral hiring, as well as looking at available global talent.” Tantia says.
The company is also looking for people who can help banks with system integration for new fintech solutions, often in niche areas. “We are poised for significant growth in this area in Asia Pacific, and we have a number of open positions,” Tantia says.
Tantia says that Cognizant provides a very good platform for people to build successful careers. “Cognizant empowers you to do what you want to do. If you have the right mindset and you want a challenge, this company is an ideal fit for you,” he says.