As the banking industry in Asia Pacific undergoes significant digital transformation, Cognizant is looking to expand its team in the region. The IT services company, which prides itself on offering cutting edge technological solutions, is working on a number of proof of concept and pilot programmes with its clients.
It is active in areas such as blockchain, Application Programming Interfaces (API) for open banking, as well as helping banks improve their overall digital architecture.
Aamod Gokhale, Client Partner at Cognizant, says, “There is so much digital transformation around us. In many cases, banks have done the first level of digitization but that was not done with the design required, and they are having to revamp. We are helping them to build a nimble and agile architecture that can integrate quite easily with the whole fintech system.”
Nimish Shah, Client Partner at Cognizant, explains that in the past, the digital journey had been from the outside in, with banks focusing on the customer experience of user platforms and apps, without transforming the digital ecosystem within the bank itself. He says, “What has changed now is the whole open API and demand for these services, which means, fundamentally, banks have to change from the inside out. Their legacy systems have to be transformed. At Cognizant, we are helping our banking clients to fundamentally re-engineer the entire platform.”
Aamod believes that it is in the area of transformation that Cognizant’s strengths lie. “Our technology leadership, early pivot to digital and deep domain consulting capabilities makes us uniquely positioned to drive our clients’ digital transformation strategies,” he says. He explains that Cognizant is able to work with businesses, translating elements such as their product strategy and desired customer experience into deliverable technical components.
Other areas in which he thinks Cognizant is particularly strong are data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). “We have one of the largest analytics and AI teams globally, and are part of some of the largest technology and business initiatives. We help banks set up their internal analytics teams and environments, and we also work with banks to build their databases,” he says.
Unlike some of its competitors, Cognizant not only delivers solutions to its clients – It also looks at how it can add value through them. This is particularly evident in the organization’s approach in implementing automation to create cost savings for its clients.
Another factor that differentiates Cognizant from other players in the industry is the company’s product- neutral system integration capabilities.
According to Nimish, “We put the client’s objectives at the heart of our solutioning process. The advantage of being a product-neutral integrator is that our approach is driven by the client’s needs and the best methods to address them; not the type of technology. We are agnostic to the technology and platform.”
With its services in strong demand, Cognizant is growing rapidly in the Asia Pacific, and it is looking to recruit new talents, particularly in the areas of digital engineering and digital transformation.
Nimish says, “We are looking for candidates who are not just good with programming, but can also think independently on the client’s imperatives. It is a misconception today, that corporates seek technologists. At Cognizant, we look for people who are ready to solve a business problem using technology.”
He adds that it is also important that candidates have intellectual curiosity, so they do not stagnate.
Aamod has been with Cognizant for 15 years. He points out that this is in sharp contrast to his previous jobs, which he always left within a year or two at most. “I didn’t think there was a company that could keep me interested for more than a couple of years, but it has been different with Cognizant,” he says.
Aamod explains that the two elements that set Cognizant apart from other companies are its culture of empowerment and the attention it pays to its employees’ needs. “Whenever I thought I was done and would look for something new, Cognizant came up with something new and exciting. This has kept me here for so long and I still feel as excited to be at work as I did in those early days here,” he says. “Our culture is our big strength and makes Cognizant the best place to work in my view.” He adds that many employees who leave Cognizant end up coming back.
Nimish joined Cognizant a year ago, after spending 15 years working for a bank. During that time, he noticed that once people started working in certain areas, say retail banking, they tended to stay in those domains and become specialists.
“What is different about Cognizant is that when you are ready for a new challenge, you don’t need to find a new company, you just have to find a new client,” he says. He adds that the company is also very flexible in letting employees work where they want to, whether that involves moving across different geographies, job types or clients.
“Cognizant is an extremely dynamic and very entrepreneurial organisation. It lets you do what you want to do and empowers you to push the boundaries,” he says. Aamod agrees and adds, “Ultimately, in this industry, people are an organisation’s greatest strength. Cognizant is unique because we invest so much in our people, and our clients notice that difference too.”