OTP Bank

Interview with Mr. Altin Gjikaj

“Launching an omnichannel banking strategy will be a priority, along with opening up to Cloud services, including Core Banking.” – Altin Gjikaj, Director of IT Department, Operational Division

What was the first thought that came to your mind when the restricted movement regime was announced, always from the point of view of information systems and technology?

The first thought that came to my mind was that we should act as soon as possible to adapt to the new situation. I was convinced that with the experience and knowledge we have, the continuity plans that the bank has built for crisis situations, combined with the high sense of responsibility and maximum commitment that dominates the IT team, we would definitely be able to offer the same quality and security IT services for bank customers and employees.

Did the bank have the necessary capacity to equip staff with the opportunity to work from home?

The bank had several technical solutions, tested with a small number of users to provide IT services outside the office. In record time, we defined the strategy to increase capacity. Existing technical solutions were enriched with new functionalities, thanks to the part-time work of IT staff, consulting companies, always having the support of bank executives and other colleagues. Based on the decisions taken by the relevant structures of the bank, to meet the requirements of access to IT services, safely by remote users, we managed to combine the use of bank equipment in most cases with personal equipment of which met the standards of safety and normal operation.

How would you consider the work of IT staff these weeks and with this combined work regime?

This situation proved once again that human resources are the most valuable asset. In summary, it has been an excellent job, without schedule and with maximum efficiency.

The curiosity of the moment is: Once the Pandemic is over, will things be as before? Can we elaborate on this point, from the perspective of an IT expert? How do you see the sign that this unprecedented experience will leave?

Undoubtedly, many things will change and may not be as before. I want to be positive and I believe the changes will bring development, despite the fact that the current picture looks bleak. Mobility will be dominant I think. From a technological standpoint, the solutions are ready to allow remote activity. Security will remain as always an essential element. Investments in information systems security need to be increased. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and new technologies, which are being integrated with cybersecurity, through a rapid analysis of a large amount of information, will identify risks and activate defense mechanisms more effectively. For the banking sector, I think the launch of an omnichannel banking strategy will be primary, accompanied by an opening to Cloud services, including Core Banking.