Siddharth Kukatlapalli is the Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Syntizen, one of India’s leading digital identity solutions providers. In his current role, Siddharth, a young and dynamic industry leader with a forward-looking approach, spearheads business development and HR-related activities. A B.Tech graduate in computer science from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Siddharth, has an innate understanding of technological and market-centric subjects. Siddharth had started his professional journey with Deloitte in 2013. After honing his technical and communication skills, Siddharth ventured into his entrepreneurial journey in 2014 with the launch of Syntizen.
Digitization has swept the world with its advances and has become part of everything and anything. Modern technologies lead the world and make even the most menial processes futuristic. People have been leveraging the benefits of functions like scanning documents and uploading data online for registration etc., for the past few years now. Nothing has made all the generations happy, like ditching long waiting lines to pay bills and opening bank accounts, thanks to tech. Digitization has made life easier like never before.
However, it has to be acknowledged that rapid digital transformation was taking place much before the pandemic, but it accelerated the same by several years, as the McKinsey report indicates. At this point, it is even a cliche to mention how the pandemic has transformed lives across the globe – but it doesn’t change the fact that it is true. Lockdowns and restrictions worldwide forced companies and businesses to rely on technology to keep them up and running.
As the threat of the spread of the virus kept people away from one-on-one interactions, digital onboarding processes became a rescue for businesses in the post-pandemic age. While earlier it was an exception to choose digital onboarding processes, the pandemic made it mandatory for all institutions to adopt the practice for new clients and employees. What is digital onboarding? In simple terms, it is a digital process to onboard or register customers with the company, product or service remotely. This relationship between the organization and its customer involves the evaluation of the customers and their legal documents. Earlier, people had to physically visit branches to fulfil these formalities, but online onboarding has made it much more convenient.
Need to make onboarding processes easier
The lockdowns have ended, and life has gone back to where it was, but it isn’t the same. It is now a world where you can open a bank account on a smartphone in a few minutes. Hence, people expect such a level of convenience while interacting with all kinds of businesses. In such a scenario, digital onboarding is not a choice but a requirement for businesses to function effectively in the modern age.
There is a famous saying, “First impression is the last impression.” In businesses, the first interaction with a customer holds utmost importance. In today’s highly competitive markets, businesses, especially in financial services and retail marketing, drive on initial customer experience to increase their client base. But customers’ first interaction with a business after purchasing a product or service is the onboarding process. If a company’s onboarding process is time-consuming and complicated, customers will leave even before trying your offerings. You will miss out on the chance to build and nurture a direct relationship between the brand and the customer. A Deloitte report suggests digital onboarding processes prevent abandonment and help companies save up to 50% of acquisition costs. Therefore, a quick and efficient onboarding ensures a favourable impression and customer retention.
Challenges with digital onboarding
Digital onboarding brings a different host of problems – fraud and security breaches. A Deloitte India survey has revealed that banking and financial institutions struggle to deal with increasing fraud incidents. It also indicated that the trend would continue with more customers preferring non-branch channels. Another reason for fraud is the companies’ limited and ineffective forensic analytics tools to identify red flags.
Now the challenge for the companies is that customers want a fast and easy onboarding process. Still, they have to evaluate the customer identities while implementing the practices that ensure risk management, data security and compliance.
Modern problems require modern solutions
Digital identity processing is the answer to the challenges of digital onboarding processes. It has become imperative in the tech-savvy world. Multiple regulators and governments have laid guidelines and regulations for safe and secure methods to use digital identity techniques. In the modern era, when every organization is trying to provide services instantly to its customers and relies on technology for customer delight, digital identity is the need of the hour.
One such popular and widely-accepted digital identity process is KYC, aka Know Your Customer or Know Your Client. It is mandatory to identify and verify the client’s identity during onboarding. Here are some of the most popular ways to obtain a KYC of a citizen:
- Aadhaar based e-KYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) is used for certain regulated entities with an Aadhaar AUA/KUA license. For licensed entities, Aadhaar returns Name, Gender, Date of Birth, Address, and Photograph to respond to e-KYC.
- Aadhaar based Offline KYC/XML Validation – Any customer can download the KYC XML packet by setting a password from the UIDAI website and can provide this XML packet to any entity requesting KYC within three days of downloading the XML packet.
- PAN Verification – PAN Verification can be done using NSDL APIs given to certain regulated entities where the validity of the PAN, Name and other details are returned
- C-KYC Services – Government also offers CKYC Services where an entity can pass the PAN Number or UID Number & other parameters to obtain all the details available in the CKYC Database.
- Digi Locker Services – Government-owned Digi Locker can also return the KYC details by capturing the Aadhaar Number / Mobile Number followed by OTP Validation.
Apart from the above KYC services, there are more Digital Identity microservices that organizations can avail themselves:
- Facial Matching – Facial Matching is when a photo is matched with one or multiple images available in a database.
- Facial Liveness – Active and Passive Liveness can help identify the authenticity of a photograph by asking for some gestures or by a simple selfie capture.
- E-Signing – Any document can be signed using the e-Sign services where Aadhaar Number and OTP are used for validating a customer and signing a given document.
- OCR Extraction – Extracting details on a given image or document can be used as a Digital Identity Solution.
- Document Verification – Verifying the authenticity of a given document can be done using ML algorithms such as validating the font size, spacing between words, identifying image morphing etc., and can help in preventing fraud.
- CIBIL Services – You can identify the Credit Score, and the risk of providing a service/loan can be identified using CIBIL Digital Identity services.
- E-Stamp Services – Online & electronic stamp papers can be procured using this service, and legal documents can be signed.
These advanced digital identity processing capabilities ensure businesses that their customers are not a fraud and add to the company’s growth. The majority of the companies are now developing front end business applications on their own with custom designs and use cases. Thus, organizations are looking forward to availing all the above services as microservices or in the form of APIs or SDKs (software development toolkit) so that the front end business applications are still as per the look and feel of the client. Companies need service providers who offer these services in APIs or SDK with proper certification and security protocols.