How cloud technology is helping boost home ownership

By | 4 minute read | February 5, 2019

A rickshaw driver in Mumbai. The owner of a food stall in Badlapur. A corporate executive in Chennai. As different as they are, these people have at least one thing in common: they are all now homeowners thanks to loans from DHFL.

Owning a home is everyone’s dream and it’s not always easy to own a home in India. Because of a significant shortage of affordable housing, people at the base of the pyramid often cannot afford to buy a home of their own.

As one of the largest housing finance companies, we are working to change that at DHFL. Over the last three decades DHFL has dedicated itself to helping millions of families fulfill their home ownership dream while also empowering small businesses to expand by enabling access to affordable finance, especially in tier 2 and 3 towns and cities across India. 

Preparing for growth

There is a rising demand for mortgages and various other types of loans in the lower-middle income class. This represents a huge opportunity for DHFL. As the CTO, it is my responsibility to ensure that we keep up with the momentum and projected business growth. When my team and I crunched the numbers, I knew we needed to make some vital changes, very quickly.

We realized that it wouldn’t be long before our workloads would overtake our IT infrastructure processing capacity. This could have an impact on our business model, which caters to a customer base that expects fast turnaround times along with a seamless and convenient customer experience.

At the same time, we were gradually collecting more detailed customer data to feed our sophisticated risk models. After all, it’s not a simple calculation to determine a particular customer’s risk—or the overall risk we take on as a company. We needed a way to handle all of it.

Becoming a fully digital business with IBM Cloud

With this as the premise, DHFL initiated a digital transformation throughout the enterprise — to rebuild and re-imagine our IT environment for firstly strong customer centricity – to leverage technology as a key enabler to serve customers in a more efficient, quick and non-intrusive manner. Secondly, to strengthen efficiency and operations – we want to use technology to build a back-end system that ensures a high level of credit evaluation and monitoring, risk practices and safety of our consumers’ data. But our transformation goes beyond IT. The one over-arching purpose is to embark on a larger mission of making DHFL a partner in every household need, financial and beyond.

The goal then in terms of technology, is to become a fully digital business. To empower DHFL to achieve its next phase of growth, we’re using the IBM Cloud to make it happen.

Working with IBM, we migrated our systems to a hybrid cloud model—a combination of on-premise systems and a private IBM Cloud environment. We’re using the IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) on the IBM Services platform with IBM Watson solution for end-to-end infrastructure management in our application hosting and disaster recovery environments.

For security, we rely on an IBM Security Operations Center (SOC), IBM Security QRadar software and an IBM Cloud-based identity-as-a-service solution to guard against intrusion and fraud, which is a looming threat in our industry—one we definitely cannot afford to ignore. We want to use technology to build a back-end system that ensures a high level of credit evaluation and monitoring, risk practices and safety of our consumers’ data.

Building a better customer experience

The flexibility and scalability of the hybrid cloud environment frees us up to drive innovation in customer experience. This aspect of our transformation is crucial. We must continue to show customers across the social spectrum —like the rickshaw driver and the corporate executive—that we are easy to work with.

And, in fact, the digital transformation will allow us to build a seamless customer experience for online and mobile while maintaining the speed and efficiency needed behind the scenes to rapidly process millions of transactions. We’re expanding the organization as a best of physical and technology mix in reaching and serving customers. We have made considerable progress in this direction and are now equipped to serve them through an omnichannel strategy of online and branch networks.

A bright future for homeowners

The brightest parts of the transformation are still ahead of us. As an industry thought leader, DHFL is actively driving financial inclusion across India. Over the next few years, DHFL aims to significantly focus on analytics to make use of all the data we’ve unearthed thus far. We’re looking at leveraging IBM Watson Analytics (now Cognos Analytics) to help the business gain deeper insights into efficient operations, marketplace trends and customer needs. This will help us make better decisions about innovations, market expansion, strengthening the robustness of our stringent processes and credit systems and designing the next generation of products and services.

DHFL’s digital transformation is a continuing process of improvement and discovery—made possible by the flexibility and scalability of an enterprise cloud environment. Ultimately, this journey is a mission that is the key to empower low-middle income segments to experience the pride and joy of owning their own homes, leading more secured lives and thus building a stronger ecosystem for the future.

Listen to Jyothirlatha B explain how IBM technology has enabled DHFL with better customer reach: