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Digital Transformation Assignment: Implementation of Digital Technologies by Development Bank of Singapore


Task: Analyze the case study of DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) and develop a digital transformation assignment answering the following questions:

1) What does digital transformation mean to customers? How did DBS involve them?
2) What does digital transformation mean to employees? How did DBS engage them?
3) What did DBS do differently to implement their digital transformation strategy successfully?


What Does Digital Transformation Mean to Customers? How Did DBS Involve Them?
It is stated herein digital transformation assignment that the procedure of using digital technologies to create upgradation in business activities or in order to improve business process, customer’s experience and existing culture, is referred as digital transformation. This integration of digital technology is fundamentally used to improve the production and to provide value to the customers.

The change towards digital transformation is mainly driven by the customers and their upgraded demand. According to Schallmo& Daniel, (2018), digital transformation means to customers that they can get easy access towards any banking functions or banking assistance at any time when they need it or when they want it, from their accessible devices like smartphones, laptops or computers. With the aim to meet emerging customer demands, the banking sector is always on uninterrupted digital transformationto survive the customer’s expectation. It is digital transformation through which financial institution gets to know about its customer. As stated by Schallmo& Williams, (2018), customers tend to be attracted towards such a banking institution that acts according to market trends and uninterruptedly works upon technology as only such financial institution can deliver value to its customers. For instance, fraud detection system, online banking operations, virtual banking assistances, data encryption, KYC procedures are some of the essential parts of banking operations that are now done through using digital transformation.All these facilities are done to assist the customers and to improve their experiences for financial transaction and other purpose related to banking. Today’s customers always want to do financial transaction or anything related to baking at anytime from anywhere and therefore in order to keep these “always connected” customers, banking industry is putting effort towards digital transformation. Hence, customers often rate financial institutions based on their digital upgradation and on digital customer experience.

For instance, DBS engaged digital transformation as their strategy 2.0 by putting faith on their Director and CEO Piyush Gupta and they achieved their target before their scheduled year 2020. It won Euromoney’s Best Digital Bank in the World Award and Global Finance’s Best Bank in the World Award in the year 2018. The bank also received several other awards on the same field.

In order to make banking ‘invisible’ to the tech savvy customers or in more simple words, to provide the banking operation just by a single click, the DBS group leveraged digitalization as the strategy 2.0 that focuses on ‘Making Banking Joyful’. Through their strategic project launch in the year 2015, they implemented three major initiatives.

Besides focusing on start-up culture their other two implementations were related to digital transformation (Sia,Weill& Zhang,2021). The first strategy was to be digitalized from the core of the institution where maximum amount of initial capital is invested. On the other hand, the second implementation is customer centric online marketplace, where customers can feel that they are purchasing a home, not thinking about the mortgage or when customers are buying a car, they would not bebothered about their auto loan. This customer friendly innovation in the particular bank came only through the digital transformation initiated by the DBS group.

What Does Digital Transformation mean to Employees? How did DBS Engage Them?
The employees of any institution adopt digital transformation as the innovative and potential digital process that is able to help the employees as well as the organization to achieve their sustainable business target. This digital process involves upgraded, fast, accurate and uninterrupted evolving digital technologies that helps an organization to get sustainable competitive success. Generally, digital transformation brings positive and potential impact on individual’s talent and productivity; therefore it increases the profits of the organizations.As stated by Ivan?i?,Vukši?&Spremi?,(2019), digital transformation creates the trend of ‘off premise’ or the culture of remote working and mobility to work from anywhere. This technological transformation allows the employees to cloud computing, report and operate via online. Even, there a trend has been created to hire employees via virtual interview and provide them virtual training by the leadership. According to the banking industry experts there is an impressive number of increases in hiring process as new jobs are being created due to continuous growth in banking sector. Almost 20% new job roles have been created and there are no changes in almost 60% existing job roles. While reducing operational cost, banking industry increases employee’s efficiency and customer’s experience by implementing digital transformation.

However, if the digital transformation is not maintained well, then it can affect the organizational culture through employee policing of activities and through damaging security issues. Therefore, it is a reason of concern for the employees regarding digital transformation.According to Baiyere, Salmela&Tapanainen, (2020), with the introduction of digitalization, major banking operations that are directly related to the customers such as getting credit or debit card, getting ATM card, account opening, fund transfer, bill payment, getting account statements, getting information about loan and investment details and getting banking assistance can be performed smoothly even without visiting any bank branches.

Thus, digitalization reduces human intervention noticeably. Therefore, another alarming reason for the employees to get afraid of is that digital transformation or automation in any industry, increases unemployment issue as this upgraded technology cuts the man power yet produces more products and provides accurate services to the customers or users.

In order to bring digital transformation within the institution, it is very important to change the mindset of the employees towards a more digitally developed one. As stated by Balkan, (2021), the primary innovation that the DBS took is the change in recruitment technology through leveraging digital data science to hire the skilled and knowledgeable employees and create an impressive onboarding experience. With the aim to upskill and upgrade their existing employees and staffs, the DBS bank has come with a digital curriculum named DigiFY which helps to stay digitally capable in this digitally empowered age.

DBS also established a digital vision in order to develop their leadership growth as well as to change the mindset of the leadership. According to DAVENPORT& MILLER, (2020), though back in the year 2014, the initial digital transformational strategy and its impact on business has been discussed in the leadership level as a vision, “Make Banking Joyful”. Even their strategic marketing slogan was “Live more, Bank less” which suggests to leverage technology in banking operations even without visiting any bank branch

What did DBS Do Differently to Implement Their Digital Transformation Strategy Successfully?
DBS believes in “Business equals technology and technology equals business”. In order to become a truly digitalized bank, the Singapore based DBS understood that the core legacy system needs to change. Though the official digitalization has been initiated back in the year 2015, but the idea of this transformation took place as early as 2010.

According to Morakanyane, O'Reilly, McAvoy& Grace, (2020, January), the DBS implemented a holistic approach to re-imagine their processes and strategies regarding human resources. The bank uninterruptedly upgrades their business environment with the implementation of digital transformation to gain the sustainable competitive success in this fast-changing marketplace.

Having researched on the tech giants of the world and studied their strategies, the expert suggests the bank to change their core operational process based on the five key factors that he has suggested. These major factors are shifting from project to platform, develop high performing agile teams, organize for success, automate everything and creating design for modern system.

By the end of 2018, the bank’s technology was 90% self-managed due to its upskilled employees. DBS also started to use cloud memory to store their data instead of using traditional data server.

With the technological changes, the DBS group started to understand that it is important to change the mindset or the way of thinking of the employees about digital transformation. Though, previously in order to maintain security in the banks, all data are locked are produced only on request. This traditional procedure involves risks while making data discoverable. Therefore, DBS uses AI tools as the supreme data security mechanism in order to provide cyber protection to its employees as well as to its customers. The bank recruited skilled business analysts, experts and data scientists to improve the learnings about upgraded technology-based tools in order to perform banking jobs effectively. According to Martin, (2019), with the aim to increase digital engagement of the customers, the bank introduced a mobile app, named ‘DBS PayLah’ to offer peer to peer payment through getting recipient’s mobile number only. The private banking clients can get updated investment portfolios by using iWealth app of the DBS group. In order to embrace digital mindset of the customers, the bank uses slide desks for reporting instead of using dashboards. Even in KYC regulation, the bank allows its customers to go to a nearby Café Coffee Day or Barista outlet to give their validated biometrical evidences in order to open a bank account without even coming to a bank branch.

In order to improve customer’s experience, DBS has partnered with IBM to deploy Watson cognitive computing system. Hence, there is a leadership team to work on the digital KPIs to measure and track the digital implementation in the institute and to create ATE (Acquire, Transact and Engage) in order to run the financial business in a systematic way. These steps helped DBS to implement digital transformation successfully and to achieve various awards in that same field.

Baiyere, A., Salmela, H., &Tapanainen, T. (2020). Digital transformation and the new logics of business process management. European Journal of Information Systems, 29(3), 238-259.

Balkan, B. (2021).Impacts of Digitalization on Banks and Banking.In The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Governance, Economics and Finance, Volume I (pp. 33-50).Springer, Singapore.

DAVENPORT, T., & MILLER, S. M. (2020). The future of work now: AI-driven transaction surveillance at DBS Bank.

Ivan?i?, L., Vukši?, V. B., &Spremi?, M. (2019).Mastering the digital transformation process: business practices and lessons learned. Digital transformation assignmentTechnology Innovation Management Review, 9(2).

Martin, V. (2019).Reshaping banking industry through digital transformation. FINIZ 2019-Digitization and Smart Financial Reporting, 31-36.

Morakanyane, R., O'Reilly, P., McAvoy, J., & Grace, A. (2020, January).Determining digital transformation success factors.In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Schallmo, A., & Daniel, R. (2018). Digital Transformation Now! Guiding the Successful Digitalization of YourBusiness Model. Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC.

Schallmo, D. R., & Williams, C. A. (2018). History of digital transformation. In Digital Transformation Now! (pp. 3-8). Springer, Cham.

Sia, S. K., Weill, P., & Zhang, N. (2021).Designing a Future-Ready Enterprise: The Digital Transformation of dbs Bank. California Management Review, 63(3), 35-57.


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