Data Lake, Governance & AI will be Our Tech Priorities: DSP Mutual Fund

Talking about the transition from legacy infrastructure to a micro-services based architecture a couple of years ago, Ashish Bajaj, CTO, DSP Mutual Fund, highlights how the organization is leveraging automation and his technology priorities over the next 2–3 years during a candid conversation with Kalpana Singhal.

You have been with DSP Mutual Funds for over 3.5 years now, please tell us about you journey so far.

Fortunately, I joined DSP during the company’s transition period. It was a crucial phase with the company’s separation from one of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock. With the Indian acquisition, it was kind of starting from scratch, building our own infrastructure, engineering and thought process with the changed organizational culture. It was like driving something which is much closer to you. It has been an exciting journey.

DSP Mutual Funds did a major transition from legacy infrastructure to a micro-services based architecture a couple of years ago. What technology and business objectives/benefits has it achieved till date?

Any change would come with its own benefits. An important aspect of your digital transformation is to respond to certain changes quickly. With this transition two years back. Definitely, we did not see Covid coming in front of us. But yes, there was a strategy to become a digital first team, which typically means that you need to move away from your legacy processes; rather legacy mindsets. That’s important to cater to the next generation of customers around data to next generation of investors who cater to a new data oriented or data believers. I think this transition actually helps to have infrastructure ready for digital transformation. It was not just a transition from server to server less technologies, or using the best of the best what is available on two clouds? But it was also the stepping stone in terms of how we make sure that systems talk to each other rather than working in silos.

The second important aspect which actually helped with this transition of building micro services mesh across multiple application infrastructure is that everyone within the organization just started thinking of how do we re-engineer the business processes. What can we do differently than what we were doing earlier? Because now there is an opportunity there is an advantage of tech support. Very important outcome of this transition is the data culture.

How are you leveraging new-age technologies like automation, AI, IoT and data analytics to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the workforce?

Automation is something which will be the continuous emphasis. I remember 20 years back as well there were companies where majority of the internal memos were automated. Today, we are talking about automation of the next level where transaction can happen without much human intervention. We have brought in robotics to make sure that mundane tasks are done by systems and tools rather than humans.

We have been focusing in terms of making sure to remove tasks from every employee’s basket so that they can focus on their core ability to deliver better. So I think the focus will continue being there.

In a hyper connected world, we are seeing exponential data growth. So, what are the burning issues organizations face with which they are unable to unlock the true value and potential of data?

I think companies which are not tech oriented and dependent on OEMs and partners to deliver solution are the ones who face challenges with data. I think there is still a gap in terms of partners’ and OEM’s understanding of the business. It can only be solved when partners try and understand the business and its uniqueness. Every person has a different view to look at data it’s a classic example of whether it’s a half glass empty or full. Second is the business doesn’t understand a lot of tech tools around.

Please talk about your top technology priorities over the next 2–3 years.

I think the time has come with a lot of legacy infrastructure and applications are out of the focus now. The time has come to seriously experiment AI with real life use cases. The entire 2022 is going to be focused towards verifying if real life problems can be solved using AI.

The second important aspect of the focus area for next two years is going to be governance over information security and cybersecurity. I think the time has come to up the governance score.

The third area, which I am personally focused on, is to ensure making a centralized repository of data lying with everyone across the enterprise: a data lake. Can we have something which every person can access with defined security protocols and make the best out of it rather than working through file sharing of data?

What is your recommendation around digital transformation for CIOs of your industry?

I think the entire executive participation is important for digital transformation. I think digital transformation should be considered as the change in the culture; it needs to be considered that it’s going to impact every person within the organization. Which typically means that you can’t enforce changes; you need participation, consensus, and acceptance across the board. Everything we do today need to be rethought from a digital perspective.

Originally published at on January 4, 2022.




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