We’re saving about 97 percent of the annual cost of our legacy systems with AWS.
Shashank Sathe Chief Technology Officer, Bajaj Capital
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Bajaj Capital is a leading financial services group in India, offering services for mutual fund and bond investments, fixed-term deposits, insurance protection, and real-estate transactions. Launched in 1964, the group manages more than 1.5 million clients and assets worth more than INR 21,000 Crores [US$2.8 billion], and more than 60 percent of its clients have been with the group for over five years.

Nonetheless, the group is aware of the digital transformation taking place in its market—where technology is delivering highly personalized services, increasing customer expectations. Says Shashank Sathe, chief technology officer at Bajaj Capital, "Our digital goals were to deliver greater personalization at scale across multiple digital channels and from there,  develop services that offer greater convenience for our customers." 

Bajaj Capital’s digital journey was hindered, however, by its architecture, which included multiple legacy systems and couldn’t integrate with new digital applications. Bajaj Capital was also trapped in a costly cycle of platform-refresh programs every few years. Plus, as the on-premises infrastructure expanded, so did the management overhead. Metesh Bhati, Chief Digital Officer at Bajaj Capital, says, “Our legacy infrastructure was holding back the business. It was costly and couldn’t deliver personalized customer experiences across digital platforms.”

To deliver its IT goals, Bajaj Capital looked to re-architect its applications to run in the cloud. It looked for a cloud service provider that was an active contributor and participant in the open-source community. The group chose Amazon Web Services (AWS). Explains Bhati, “Because of its community links, we felt AWS was better able to support a flexible, highly cost-effective open stack compared to its competitors. We also felt that AWS was ahead of competitors in areas such as serverless computing and reducing platform management.”

Bajaj Capital created its own internal team to lead the AWS migration. It recruited IT engineers in India skilled in AWS products to not only re-architect the organization’s legacy environments, but also to train Bajaj Capital’s IT personnel in AWS services. “Our team of AWS-skilled engineers put our strategy, which we called ‘Tech + Touch’ in motion,” says Bhati. “Through our cloud integration, we wanted to use data and analytics to really maximize growth.”

Today, Bajaj Capital gives mutual-fund customers access to the latest information on their funds’ performance 24/7 via the website, which is device- and operating system–agnostic. This is now made possible by storing fund transactions and trades in Amazon DynamoDB. The information is then directed to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data lake, which contains historical data pulled from Bajaj Capital’s legacy databases. From there, the data is ingested into Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR), where data is added from third-party companies that also keep detailed records of transactions and trades for mutual funds.

After processing, the portfolio data is stored in Amazon S3, where it is shared with Amazon DynamoDB. The responsive web app running on the customers’ smartphones accesses this data through an application programming interface (API) call that triggers AWS Lambda to serve up an instant view of the fund’s performance that day. “This is only the start,” says Bhati. “As we integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning, we will offer prediction-based services to help customers plan their investments more effectively.”

By working with AWS, Bajaj Capital is accelerating a digital journey that will deepen relationships with its customers. Says Bhati, “We are building on our clients’ trust by creating new value through greater personalization. By migrating from our legacy on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud, we can deliver the digital services that today’s consumers increasingly expect.” Bhati contrasts the speed of the AWS infrastructure with its legacy infrastructure. “Just to load all the current and historical data from our legacy systems for a customer’s mutual fund portfolio would take 10 to 15 minutes, but with AWS, all that data is ingested by Amazon EMR in a couple of seconds.”

The cost of running the group’s infrastructure on the AWS Cloud is significantly less than the cost of an on-premises infrastructure. “We’re saving about 97 percent of the annual cost of our legacy systems with AWS,” says Sathe. “That equates to around INR 24 Crores [US$325,000], money that Bajaj Capital can invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning as it continues its digital journey.”

By migrating from proprietary systems with hard-coded business logic to the AWS Cloud, Bajaj Capital has also cut out a big chunk of IT administration time. AWS is responsible for the hardware underpinning its services, including maintaining resiliency and patching. This means that Bajaj Capital can concentrate IT resources on value-added tasks like software development. “We’ve cut IT management time by 40 to 50 percent with AWS,” says Bhati. “Our focus is now to develop services that can improve the customer experience using predictive analytics to deliver portfolio recommendations.”