Monday, July 07, 2008

Who will do the work?

I love work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. The idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
-Stephen leacock

To : ; cc

This is to bring to your notice the following :

1. I have a savings account at your ****** ***** City Branch; A/c no. ###########
2. Sometime during 2005, I had applied for and obtained internet banking facility for my account.
3. After a few months, during which I had logged on to my account infrequently on a few occasions, the username/ password stopped working. I had informed my Local Branch.
4. After repeated complaints regarding the above, the Local Branch issued me a fresh internet banking kit ( KIT NO. ##########, packet no.#####, circle code .##, Serial no. ##) in April 2008.
I was told the facility will be activated in 48 hours and I will be able to log on.
5. When, however, I was not able to log on even after a week, I contacted the Branch, upon which I was asked to wait a few days more.
6. The situation remaining the same, I went to them again and this time I was assured an e-mail will be sent to the Central Office, Mumbai where these things are handled, and my problem will be solved.
Nothing happened. Another month passed.
7. On the 26th of June, 2008, at my insistence, a reminder mail was sent.
8. As on date, there's still been no action. Today I have spoken to the concerned officer at the Branch, who has promised to talk to Mumbai Office on the phone and get the issue resolved. However, since his assurances didn't account for much in the past, I'm not too optimistic.

I request you to kindly take necessary action on the matter and put an end to my inconvenience.

Needs no elaboration. Another one in my endless series of travails and tribulations. Yes, I'm aware that lately I've been given to writing progressively boring posts. But dear reader, such is my life. If you've read this far, please go on. Might get a tad interesting at the end.

I am an old SBI faithful. I have eaten their salt, so to speak. My father used to work there till the day he retired. That association, and some inertia made me keep my salary account with them till this day. But they've let me down. Badly, and on numerous occasions. I'll give another example. The Branch I bank at is the biggest in the district. It's become what they call a core-banking branch for some time now. Last month, I needed to send a little money to my father's account in Kolkata. Since I still can't e-bank, I had to physically go to my bank. I was asked to fill a slip and drop a check in the box. They said all fund transfers are electronic now, and the money should be there in minutes. Three days and many phone calls to dad later, I went back to ask why it was not. There, I mean. By the time I'd raised a small ruckus so a manager was called in, a peon rummaged through a stack of papers at the back of somebody's desk and came back with my check and slip. It was revealed that the man who does the electronic transfer jobs was on leave for the last few days. Who will do his work? Management was still trying to work it out. In the mean time, individual cases were being processed on the merit of nuisance value. Like mine eventually was.

I believe the issue here is generic as opposed to an isolated example of inefficiency. This is sucking reality as we see it everyday in the big Indian Corporations. Most specifically PSUs. I speak from first hand experience since I work in a Navaratna. Organizations used to move at a leisurely pace for decades have been forced onto the technology expressway in the global marketplace. They now have one-third the manpower. Their best people have jumped ships and more are about to go. Like I was saying, who will do the work? This is the question staring many in the face. The Goliaths of Indian Industry are reeling under its onslaught. They are facing all the circus associated with retrofitting technology in old infrastructure. They are downsizing, they're rightsizing. They are outsourcing. Only, the fact on the ground is different from these gobbledygook. By design these organizations had too many functions and too much work to be done as compared to, say, a new age technology or retail company, where the process is designed to be smooth and hassle-free. The transition from this, to that, is slow, and fraught with excruciating pain.

I could go on and on, but I thought I heard snoring sounds. One last scrap of bakwas, okay? ok.

When Mr. Kumar, the concerned officer at SBI was about to check when had he sent the earlier mail re my e-banking, I peered into his screen. I saw he had used up about 99.98% of his mailbox (a princely 5mb) on the SBImail account he was using. This was on the SBI internal server. I asked him how come his bank gave only 5 mb to its employees while free mail service providers today provide anybody close to 3gb and still counting? In reply, he gave me a sad smile. He needed to delete some old mail in order to clear up space to send mine. He seemed at a loss for which ones to delete, which I thought was unusual (since it was his own mail, no?) He could not find the earlier mail and muttered that somebody else must have deleted it. I asked, "But how would somebody else log on to your mailbox?"

The penny dropped. The 5 mb mailbox was not his personal one. It was meant for the whole Branch. This, the biggest in the district, remember?


Sud said...

Maine bhi SBI ka namak khaaya hai, much the same way as you have. I remember at a branch close by where they would have a separate queue for the "staff acounts"!

The 5MB limit though seems pervasive. Every place that I have worked for till now, seems to have that.

Anonymous said...

what a namakharam u r? u had the effrontery to disturb the sbi guys on this flimsy ground? u r lucky to be in * * city. Had u been in Baguiati (SBI, Baguiati, AGM Branch) u would have died by now. u know there the customers r always greeted with long faces and a sometimes a royal "uck u" as a bonus!

what do u do to have a bad day? simple answer, visit the baguiati sbi branch.

I have another account in sbi kharagpur. sbi kharagpur, in fact, is a very good if u ask a question to a person in a counter they decide whether to answer or not. it depends on their mood. so in every counter u will find one snailspeed functional queue and another queue formed by people
waiting to be answered "sir/madam if u please let me know....".

this is the worst they can do. nothing more, i assure u.

so dude, what would u like to do? tranfer ur salary a/c to kgp? u r welcome.

known anon

Partho said...

Sud: Yes, I understand the 5mb per employee (after all a company in some other business can't afford to invest so much in mailboxes as a Google or yahoo), what got my goat was they had the 5mb working mailbox for a big branch office where at least 50 people worked.

Anon: So,the mad Prof speaketh! How's Thun? When are you getting back to earth?

bongopondit said...

sbi kharagpur

Fond memories of that branch. they used to have an intricate Process of delivering your money - it took about 10 people and appx 40 minutes for your cash request to go from the counter to the tell. fascinating stuff.