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Issue of April 2006 

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SBI connects 10,000 group branches

SBI has completed the networking of 10,000 branches of the State Bank Group across the country. The project, called SBI Connect, was outsourced to Datacraft. It is expected to cater to more than 100 million bank customers.

Started in June 2002, the project was executed in three phases. The first phase networked 1,400 branches in 49 cities and involved network design, implementation and management. The second phase commenced in September 2003 and networked 3,400 branches in 300 cities and towns. The third phase currently under implementation is supposed to network 6,100 additional branches. The networking of the 10,000 branches took 42 months.

“We wanted to connect all rural, urban and international branches. This is an effort to reduce the digital divide as it empowers everyone from a corporate client to the rural man,” said A K Purwar, Chairman, State Bank Group.

R N Ramanathan, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director for IT, said that the network extends from Leh to Kanyakumari and the Andaman Islands to Lakshadweep. “The network is the nerve-centre for the group, and runs key applications such as core banking, trade finance, ATM, Internet banking and treasury solutions.”

Of its 14,000 branches, 46 percent and 27 percent are in rural and semi-urban areas respectively. “The challenge was to simplify the operating model from process transformation to enterprise-wide transformation using architecture based on open standards. Today, the network carries voice, VoIP and data. 50 percent of rural branches and 100 percent of metro branches are already on the network,” explains Dilip Kumar, COO, Datacraft Asia.

The project also bagged the Technology Award 2005 for the Core Banking and Outsourcing Project of the Year from the London-based Banker magazine.

— Kumar Dawada

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