Google Cloud Results
Runs 40+ workflows managing business-critical activities
• Supports vision of helping ensure all Sri Lankans can access banking services
• Reduces the time to complete key backend processes from 2 days to 10 minutes
• Achieves more than 99% uptime
Headquartered in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, Cargills Bank is not short on ambition or vision: it plans to make banking services accessible to all Sri Lankans and become a financial services leader at home and internationally. Founded in 2014 and licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to provide domestic and offshore banking services, Cargills Bank provides Retail, Credit and Debit Cards, Corporate, SME, Agri, Micro Finance, Treasury, and Trade banking products to customers.
"We wanted to minimize the time and resources dedicated to administration and give our employees the ability to engage and collaborate more effectively. This naturally led us to the cloud and to Google Workspace." - Indika Fernando, Senior Manager IT, Applications and Development, Cargills Bank
The bank delivers these products from a network that includes 19 branches, the internet, mobile applications, and a partnership with supermarket chain Cargills Food City that enables customers to transact at more than 370 service points across Sri Lanka.
Cargills Bank initially deployed productivity and communications applications running in an on-premises data center. However, these applications could not support the bank's growing need to operate as an agile, collaborative, technology-enabled institution. "We wanted to minimize the time and resources dedicated to administration and give our employees the ability to engage and collaborate more effectively. This naturally led us to the cloud and to Google Workspace," says Indika Fernando, Senior Manager IT, Applications and Development, Cargills Bank.
The bank also wanted to use scripts to accelerate and automate workflows that incorporated its productivity applications. "The limitations of our previous platform meant it took us three weeks to complete a simple workflow. We wanted to accelerate this process for simple and complex workflows," explains Fernando.
A technology review by the Cargills Bank IT team found Google Workspace could meet all of the company's business and technical requirements. "Employees could meet using voice and video connections from their desktops, mobile devices, and meeting rooms, and collaborate in real time on documents," says Fernando.
This was a considerable improvement compared to the previous platform that required each stakeholder to wait until other people provided their input, or people providing input into different copies of the same document, forcing a document author to spend time consolidating all feedback into a final version.
"With Google Workspace, we can be sure that all stakeholders provide detailed and timely input into the documents we rely on to make critical business decisions," says Fernando.
Augmenting Google Workspace
Google Workspace also supported an initiative by Cargills Bank to provide single sign-on for all business applications, while cost effectively giving workers access to cloud-based spreadsheet, document, slide, information collection, web, and wiki creation tools. Furthermore, Apps Script enables the bank's developers to perform tasks including building add-ons for Google Workspace products such as Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Forms; writing custom functions for Sheets; publishing web apps embedded in Google Sites; and interacting with services such as AdSense, Analytics, Calendar, Drive, Gmail, and Maps.
Cargills Bank completed migrating its workforce to Google Workspace a couple of years ago. To help ensure the project was completed on time, within budget, and delivered access to the full range of Google Workspace tools, the bank engaged Google Partner Finetech Consultancy, which is also headquartered in Colombo.
"The partner oversaw creation of our architecture and undertook training and change management," says Fernando. "It provided expert consultancy and troubleshooting throughout the three-month deployment and played an integral role in enabling us to launch on schedule."
The bank has established a Google based social network to create and run internal communities and give its employees the freedom to create communities. "The communities effectively operate as internal social networks that our departments and staff can use to disseminate day-to-day information and announcements," says Fernando. "For example, leaders of a training and development community use the forum to publish details of upcoming training programs and celebrate people who have completed training exercises."
Cargills Bank has also established Google Meet as a key communication tool. Employees use voice, video, and chat services to collaborate, with an audit trail that is a requirement in a regulated industry.
Using Apps Script to increase the power of Google Workspace has delivered a range of benefits to Cargills Bank and enabled the institution to pass on valuable insights to the Sri Lankan Google user community. "Our work with Google has made us a source of expert knowledge that can be accessed by the wider business community" says Fernando.
Workflows increased from 25 to 40
"Cloud-based productivity tools such as Google Workspace reduce friction within our business processes, enabling us to operate more efficiently and effectively in bringing banking to the people of Sri Lanka." - Rohan Muttiah, Chief Operating Officer, Cargills Bank
With Google Workspace and Apps Script, Cargills Bank teams are working more efficiently and the number of streamlined processes has increased from 25 to 40. The bank is using Forms to support simple applications, and a combination of Forms, Apps Script, and HTML code to run complex workflows encompassing validation, documentation, and authorization, and that require sandboxes for code testing and experimentation.
Key workflows supported by Forms and Apps Script include credit card and bank account applications. These workflows automate the process of helping ensure relevant teams review and accept or reject customer applications based on KYC rules. For example, when a customer applies for a new account, a bank employee will scan the request document and supporting information, which is then sent electronically to another team for verification. That team may reject, request more information, or approve the application for escalation to another team for authorization. The authorization team can then approve, reject, or request more information. Each step is automated and associated documentation stored on Drive.
For a credit card application, the Cargills Bank risk department uses a Forms and Apps Script powered workflow to evaluate risk factors such as an applicant's age, credit history, income, and assets.
Other workflows powered by Google Workspace manage vehicle reservations, loan origination, customer complaints, incident management, system access requests, lead generation, and e-learning.
"All requests and requirements for vehicles for occasions such as official visits are submitted and authorized through a process supported by Apps Script," says Fernando. "An approved reservation is sent to the calendar of the person who made the request and pops up in a person's mobile phone or computer when it is scheduled. This is much simpler than our previous system that required us to send text messages to people to advise them their vehicles were ready."
E-learning a key process
E-learning is a particularly important activity Cargills Bank has implemented using Google Workspace. Employees complete learning modules online that help them perform their roles effectively and to pass exams set either by the bank or based on content regulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Most of the learning material is created in Forms, while Google workflows and dashboards enable managers to track when employees have completed various e-learning modules.
Automation through Google has enabled Cargills Bank to complete backend processes associated with workflows from two days to just two minutes. Uptime is over 99 percent, helping ensure the bank can meet regulatory and internal business requirements.
With workflows powered by Google Workspace and Apps Script well established within the bank, the institution is continuing to invest in Google Cloud Platform services. A Cloud SQL database manages retail and housing loan information captured and used by Cargills Bank's loan origination system and workflows. The bank has also started using Google Data Studio to create dashboards that enable it to visualize critical information.
Furthermore, Fernando and his team are exploring the potential of Google machine learning services to help develop chatbots. "Whenever our development team sees a powerful new product from Google, we conduct a deep dive to determine what application it may have for the bank," Fernando says.
Upgraded Google Workspace and added new workflows
"Ultimately we want all Sri Lankans to access financial services wherever and whenever they need to, and we see Google Workspace as providing many of the capabilities that enable us to do that." - Indika Fernando, Senior Manager IT, Applications and Development, Cargills Bank
In January 2019, Cargills Bank elected to upgrade to G Suite Business to take advantage of features such as unlimited storage to archive all its files in digital formats on Drive.
The institution had also used Apps Script to develop complex new workflows across several modules to automate and streamline credit risk scoring, and track and audit hardware movement. In addition, Cargills Bank has developed and deployed new applications using App Maker, available through G Suite Business, and connected them to Cloud SQL to enhance the security of workflow data.
Cargills Bank is now using Google Data Studio, through connectivity to Sheets, to create dashboards for its previously-developed workflow applications.
The institution has also stepped up its collaboration activities through the use of the Jamboard digital whiteboard, available through Google Workspace. Initially used to exchange ideas between members of the Cargills Bank technology department, the service is due to launch to all users in the coming months.
Cargills Bank Chief Operating Officer Rohan Muttiah welcomes the role Google Workspace plays in enabling the business to realize its objectives. "Cloud-based productivity tools such as Google Workspace reduce friction within our business processes, enabling us to operate more efficiently and effectively in bringing banking to the people of Sri Lanka," he says.
"Deploying Google Workspace has given us an agile, dynamic platform to achieve growth based on increased use of fintech and digital technologies," Fernando says. "Ultimately we want all Sri Lankans to access financial services wherever and whenever they need to and we see Google Workspace as providing many of the capabilities that enable us to do that."
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*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.