Ahead of his presentation at the Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit in Singapore on March 1 & 2, we spoke to David Gledhill, Group Chief Information Officer, and Head of Group Technology & Operations at DBS Bank, a leading Asian bank and 'World’s Best Digital Bank'.
David has over 25 years of experience in the financial service industry and spent over 20 years in Asia. David manages about 10,000 professionals across the region and is focused on strengthening the bank’s technology and infrastructure platform to drive greater resilience, organizational flexibility and innovation. Executing against DBS’ strategy to be at the forefront of digital transformation, David also plays a lead role in driving the bank’s innovation agenda, which encompasses design thinking, agile methodology, data analytics, fintech partnerships, and hackathons. David’s portfolio also includes responsibility for the group’s operations, which is focused on reimagining customer journeys and the way business is supported.
What have been the main challenges you come across in the digital transformation journey at DBS?
In the mid-90s, Bill Gates said that 'banking is necessary, banks are not' But banks are still around today. In order to stay relevant, we need to innovate, harness the digital revolution and completely re-imagine the role of banks and the customer experience. This shift in cultural mindset, especially in some of the older staff, can be quite challenging. We continue to encourage our employees to get comfortable with new technology, ideate and develop their ideas.
What are the most important elements to concentrate on when changing a big organization like DBS to become data-driven and technologically innovative?
Transforming the workplace culture is crucial. To embrace the digital world, we are moving from a traditional banking workforce to one that is more 'fintech-like' and which that adopts the habits of digitally native companies. We encourage employees to ideate and develop their entrepreneurial ideas.
Employees may participate in DBS HotSpot, our pre-accelerator program. Several went on paid sabbatical to develop their ideas. In 2015, we established DBS Academy in Singapore, Indonesia, and Taiwan to future proof our employees with relevant skills and to promote experiential learning and experimentation. And in 2016, we announced Uni.Corn, a program to reinvent internship for university students in Singapore. Instead of a conventional internship, students will be trained in human-centred design and lean startup methodologies to solve business challenges
What do you think are the opportunities and challenges that DBS will have in the next few years surrounding data?
The opportunities are vast and this is an exciting time for DBS. Over the past few years, we have made great progress. We partnered with Singapore government research agency, A*STAR, to carry out projects on data analytics to improve efficiency and increase productivity across the bank. From preventing ATM cash outs to predicting when a relationship manager would leave the bank, we have been able to harness the power of data analytics to understand patterns, predict outcomes and improve processes. These projects have been very successful.
But we have only just scratched the surface. Over 98% of the data analytics world has yet to be explored. The next step is to scale up the use of analytics.
How do you see the use of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in banking industry changing in the next 10 years?
Banks tomorrow will look fundamentally different from banks today. This is why we have spent the past few years deeply immersed in the digital agenda, whether it is changing the culture and mindsets of our people, re-architecting our technology infrastructure, or leveraging technology to improve our products and services. We hope this would make banking simpler and more efficient for our customers, so they can have more time to spend on people and things they care about.
To embrace the digital world, we are moving from a traditional banking workforce to one that is more 'fintech-like' and which that adopts the habits of digitally native companies. We encourage employees to ideate and develop their entrepreneurial ideas.
What can the summit audience expect to take away from your presentation?
I hope the audience will get excited about the power and impact of data analytics and this will inspire them to implement similar projects in their companies.
You can catch David presentation at the Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit in Singapore on March 1 & 2.