CIO50 2019: #2 Indra Utoyo, BRI (Bank Rakyat Indonesia)
Founded in 1895, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is unrivalled in age, enormous in size and unparalleled in reach.
A safe pair of hands in finance? Yes. A stable brand for more than a century? Undoubtedly. But in technological terms, a business grounded in legacy rather than innovation.
Yet such sweeping generalisations would be misplaced for the 70 per cent government-owned institution that has, for decade after decade, stood the test of time.
In 2019, Bank BRI is making strides through a digital banking strategy grounded in accelerating financial inclusion across Indonesia.
Indra Utoyo, as Chief Information Officer, has been tasked with transforming the legacy bank into a fintech leader, with digital technology and application program interfaces (APIs) at the core.
Benchmarked against an aggressive target of 84 per cent of Indonesians participating in the banking system by 2022, BRI has deployed a digital roadmap designed to embrace fintech through APIs.
By the end of 2021, BRI expects to have reached a 70 per cent financial inclusion rate among the country's population, in part due to the adoption of the Cloud Apigee API Management Platform as the bank's digital nucleus.
According to Utoyo, Apigee has become the “central nervous system” for all communications between the digital core banking, the microservices, the front-end and the apps. In short, Utoyo said Apigee has become “our sun”, with everything rotating around the solution.
BRI’s strategy is centred around engaging with 56 million citizens yet to access banking services, with Indonesia slumped in the bottom four countries for financial literacy at a global level, alongside Bangladesh, India and China.
According to industry figures, as much as $8.3 billion in currency is being held outside the banking system. In response, Apigee has become BRI's centre of communications, handling all transactions between the bank and third parties.
Previously, it could take up to six months to on-board a new partner using host-to-host and VPN technology. Today, the process takes less than an hour for partners to self-onboard using the Bank BRI Apigee developer portal.
On the portal, partners can register, browse APIs, test in the sandbox, and go into production - all in less than an hour.
BRI is also leveraging Google Cloud Platform offerings through Cloud Vision API, enabling integration with the Indonesian government ID database.
Identities of new customers - whether via a branch, a BRI Link Agent (a nationwide network of ‘branchless agents’ designed to reach rural customers) or a mobile app - are automatically verified in seconds through facial recognition.
Through a new approach to APIs, Utoyo is transitioning BRI into the world of digital banking at pace, with the next logical step focusing on the utilisation of data.