Contextual Banking Contextual Banking


A Primer on Contextual Banking

Does anybody remember travel agents? What shopping felt like before Amazon? Hotels before Airbnb or cabs before Uber?

Banking is no different!

Welcome to the age of disruption.

A Primer on Contextual Banking

The landscape of banking and financial services too is transforming before our eyes. The entire industry is hurtling towards the future in the most uncharacteristic manner. Not the deliberate, gradual change of the last century, but an almost desperate, reactive change.

There are Challenges Galore, and Opportunity too

The challenges are obvious. The constantly shifting customer goalposts. They want choices, they have a voice, and they will make noise for what they want! Then there’s the unyielding pressure of keeping costs down. And as technology leaps ahead without restraint, regulations scramble to catch up, adding heavy layers of operational difficulty and ambiguity.

Moving forward in this environment is pitted with great complexity.

Core Banking

But there’s so much opportunity, too. FinTechs are not the David to the Bank’s Goliath as the world once believed. They too are crippled by an inability to scale or to come to terms with regulations. Besides, complex though it is, they lack the treasure of customer trust, which exists in the form of customer data, with the banks.

Digital must therefore be able to –

  • Help banks de-risk technology implementation
  • Capture opportunities with agility
  • Provide an addictive customer experience today
  • It enable segmentation and acute personalisation
  • Wield next-gen tools like AI, ML, Deep Learning and more

In short, Digital must enable Contextual Banking.

The Zen of Contextual Digital Design

As John Kay said, “Complexity, not size, is the real danger in banking”. Quite rightly, banks view the all-or-nothing approach of digital transformation as a gamble. The legacy system may or may not be conducive to growth and agility, but replacing it en-masse need not be the only way to realise digital aspirations.

Let’s a take a deep breath. When the cacophony around digital clouds the way ahead, we have found that holding on to first principles helps tremendously. At Intellect, our approach to digital is based on three design principles. These principles are the Zen of Digital Design, the touchstone for any technology that we build.

Digital Design

And the tool to achieve this Zen, is Intelligence. And by intelligence, we don’t just mean analysing a few data sets here and there. We mean intelligence infused into every step of banking. From the technology architecture, all the way to the end transaction and everything in between.

1. Contextual Banking – Intelligence as a Service

In CBX-Retail, the CBX stands for Contextual Banking Exchange. The idea is to provide the customer with an experience that doesn’t just feel good, but contextual as well, at every level.

At the basic transaction level, for instance, a bank can attempt to do more than just facilitate the transaction. It can find the purpose of the transaction – either by providing links to a series of possible transactions, or by default take him to the most obvious next step. At the next level, once the journey has begun, we can, based on the profile and behavioural history of the customer, pre-empt and suggest. For instance, a list of ‘favourite payees’ when he chooses fund transfer.

Any journey is a series of widgets, where every widget can be rendered on a browser or an app. CBX-Retail is a widget driven architecture, and we build intelligence within the widgets.

To embed intelligence in every aspect of the process, the logical solution would be a repository of algorithms for each process. Not necessarily. And this is the breakthrough. Instead of approaching intelligence as a repository of algorithms, we infuse intelligence by applying the right set of algorithms in the right use cases!

In effect,

A Primer on Contextual Banking

2. De-Risking – Intelligence in Architecture

A few years ago, a bank once sent us an RFI with an unusually open-ended question. The bank pondered – should we launch a digital bank, or should we apply a digital banking layer on top of our core?

This reflects the difficult choices that banks are faced with when confronted with new technology. It also stems from the fear of rip-and-replace and ineffective integration. After all, in Digital Banking, there is a large catalogue of stated needs, but the unstated needs are numerous and hard to predict.

At Intellect, we have realised that it does not have to be one or the other. Whether your transformation is channel-led, or product processor led, it should not be defined by the bank’s current technology state. We need to enable the shift from iteration to disruption. And CBX-Retail is the answer.

CBX-Retail runs atop the Digital Banking Enterprise System (DBES). With DBES, we de-risk on two fronts. On one hand, implementation and go-live will happen without undue friction. And on the other, you achieve agility to capture opportunities that might arise in the future.

You can launch rapidly on digital, while minimizing the burden on your core. In fact, 70% of the workload can be managed at the channel level itself. And with product configurators, pricing engine, Open Banking and marketplace APIs bundled inside, you’re ready for the future.

If disruption takes imagination, Digital Leadership takes re-imagination.


This is the overall architecture of CBX-Retail. A very practical grouping of boxes at first glance. When translated into actual user journeys, it reveals some of the most advanced innovations in financial technology today.

Our user-journey based approach has allowed us to walk in the shoes of the end customer, to observe his pain points and also to imagine his aspirations. The result of that exercise is that we have been able to push the limits of what is possible, when domain and technology connect.

We have been able to innovate.

This primer is a sneak peek into that innovation. It is what intelligence-infused banking looks like. In the following pages, we will attempt to showcase five Intellect-exclusive innovations

intellect exclusive innovations

We hope you like going through these pages as much as we did putting it together.

Author :

Head of Innovation,

Harish Intellect

Harish has a career record spanning about 13 years as a hands-on technology expert, presales, product manager and solution architect for strategic projects and product initiatives. He has been working with Intellect for the past 11 years.

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