CIOL’s CxO of the Week: Parag Bhise, CEO, Nucleus Software

Nucleus Software, the company that powers the operations of more than 200 Financial Institutions, appointed CxO of the Week: Parag Bhise, CEO, Nucleus Software last month. In his own words, Parag, in his new position, aims to ensure that every single customer of Nucleus continues to get the same excellent quality of service beyond their expectations through Operational Excellence.

Parag has been with Nucleus Software for the past 31 years where he focused on strengthening Nucleus with its three-part commitment – technology, customers and people. He has led the vision of continuous improvement in products and solutions and identifies as a transformational change manager. With CiOL, in CxO of the Week, Parag talks about the New Normal, the digital financial industry and hybrid workplaces. Excerpt.

How has Covid-19 accelerated the transition to digital for the traditional financial industry? What will be the new normal in the industry?

Covid-19 created ideal conditions for the transition to the digital by forcing humanity to not do physical transactions. The number of e-commerce transactions has sky-rocketed over the last 15 months majorly because households needed to purchase things online. The ease of online payments further gave impetus to the digitisation process. Innovative offerings like Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) have also encouraged the digitisation of the traditional financial services industry.

What, as per you, are the five important things that fintech should be looking at today?

Fintechs are operating in a rapidly evolving but seamlessly integrated world. They should focus on the capabilities to adapt as a product-driven approach can drive rapid adaptability in the evolving landscape. Here, good modular architecture – Cloud, Programmability also falls in this category. Further, Enablement through APIs will take a fintech where they can’t go themselves. Next-Gen Computer Science like AI-Ml and Deep Learning along with humans intervention would be needed as a personalized approach will be key to customer loyalty. A Security First attitude – Data Protection and Cyber Security – will reduce the fragility of the digital business. Lastly, for a customer, ease of use of the solution will be central to the virality of the solution.

Where does Nucleus Software stand on cybersecurity aspects? What are you doing to make the end-user feel safe?

Security is not a product, it is a process. Security encompasses confidentiality, integrity. It further ensures system availability from various threats. As a basic principle, all our products work on zero-trust security. That means system does not allow access to the system to anybody. That also means Never Trust, Always Verify. Primarily there are two touchpoints to the system for mainly 2 actors i.e. User and System. Both the touchpoints have security with multi-factor authentication and a Function Access Profile for the user (FAP). Apart from handling various threats, the system complies with OWAPS top 10 security vulnerability. The system also is protected against data manipulation possibilities and our API access is also secured using OAuth2.0 with dynamic tokens. Each product release goes through extensive security testing. We also get third party security certification for our products.

How can small financial players overcome the challenges faced while adopting technology into their business?

The possibilities for small financial services players to accelerate digitisation processes are immense. They need to go to reliable fintech players, validate the solutions they are adopting through reference checks. This will provide adequate support through fintech to these small financial players. Small financial players can exploit Cloud-based services to the hilt where they can look for partners who are a “one-stop-shop” rather than going to multiple partners for IT Infrastructure and Application Software.

How will work-from-home lead to a paradigm shift in the IT industry?

Nucleus Software was prepared to go completely remote in terms of WFH before our PM announced the lockdown last year. Our operations continue to run smoothly with a continued WFH policy. Other players in this industry are also learning to deal with this new normal. Going forward, after our employees and their families are vaccinated and it is safe to resume work in offices, we will be looking at hybrid working models. As such I expect that the industry would be able to provide a lot more flexibility to its workforce in terms of work timings and location preferences. Organization, as well as employees, should be able to save significant costs in terms of infrastructure as well as rented accommodation in costly cities respectively and utilize those funds elsewhere.