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CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Getting Employee Experience Right – Lesson from Maybank, Accenture, and DBS Bank

November 30, 2021
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The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. In this article, we share 3 best practices to give you inspiration on how to get your EX right.

The pandemic caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. Past location-based practices made way for a remote, employee-centric model. However, with vaccination rates showing a glimmer of hope back to normalcy, how do we move forward with the future of work?

The answer here is clear. In fact, the Microsoft Global Work Trend Index found that over 66% of leaders say their company is considering redesigning their workplaces to suit a hybrid work model.1

Employees share the same aspirations, with over 73% showing interest in flexible remote work options. Consequently, your team must prepare for the hybrid work future.

Managing these demands is mission-critical as over 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering changing jobs within the next year – nearly double the amount from past years.

This situation places a lot of pressure on how you retain and attract talents. To help you, we believe your company should centre decisions across these three main questions:

  1. The culture question: Do your employees celebrate each other’s success?
  2. The technology question: Is technology helping your employees work better?
  3. The environment question: Is your workplace designed for upliftment?

There is no definite answer on how your company can answer these questions. It differs significantly from each industry and, most importantly, to each unique employee. A robust and enabling employee experience must cover your employee’s entire life cycle.

In this article, we share three best practices from three distinct companies to give you inspiration on how you can tackle these employee experience questions.

Maybank – Treating employees as customers

“Beyond the pandemic, the overall changing work landscape, in line with the global outlook, and the push towards being more inclusive, point towards a combination of the different work settings to adapt to the different needs of both the workplace and the workforce”2 – Datuk Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer

Maybank facilitated the transition of 82% of its workers to a work-from-home (WFH) setting within days when the lockdown struck. From this experience, Maybank took notice of the several groups of people in its workforce based on their nature of work.

In response to their staff and work nature, Maybank laid out a comprehensive hybrid approach to suit their employees’ lifestyle and career aspirations. This strategy included three main approaches to work:

  1. Work from home: Allows their employees to work from home for the long term, focusing on virtual interactions and engagements.
  2. Flexible working arrangements: Supports staff through different stages in their lives and careers. These include flexible hours, ‘phasing in and out’, various leave types and employee support schemes.
  3. Mobile work arrangements: A modern and tracked arrangement where employees are completely ‘mobile’ to discuss and agree on a model that works for them. This model focuses primarily on outcomes, rather than input.

Maybank seeks to complement these initiatives with new workplace designs and upskilling initiatives to support blended working arrangements.3

Apart from these employee-centric models, Maybank recognised that virtualisation of work could severely impact collaboration and communication.

It becomes easy for us to lose touch with our employees when we rarely meet them in person. As such, Maybank took proactive steps to counter this.

For example, Maybank initiated the Leaders Teaching Leaders (LTL) program, which held virtual sessions for the group EXCO to engage consistently with his employees. In 2020, over 630 sessions of LTL were participated by the Group EXCO.

Maybank shows us that a large corporation in a highly regulated environment does not limit a company to treating its employees with empathy. It recognised the changing demands from employees, and responded flexibly.

Accenture – Prioritising employees’ learning and development

“Our unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity unleashes innovation and creates a culture where everyone feels they have equal opportunity” – Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO

The growing need for digital skills can sometimes get too overwhelming for our employees. Coupled with the need to balance work, employees can find it challenging to match technology’s pace.

To help their employees, Accenture introduced the Future Talent Platform – a digital upskilling platform. The aim was to ensure that its workforce had the channels it needed to bridge skill gaps with ease and affordability.

This program is highly customisable and provides recommendations for upskilling based on an employee’s role. The platform hosts over 2,400 courses on the Accenture Academy platform and over 8,000 courses from content partners.

In 2021, Accenture reported an increase in training hours by 46% from fiscal 2020 to over 31 million training hours.4 They managed to average approximately 60 hours of training per person.

In addition, since March 2020, the company trained more than 70,000 employees on highly sought-after skills, such as cloud computing and remote collaboration tools.

These initiatives are vital today, where employees may feel threatened by technology replacing their jobs. Investing in our employees shows that we care about their growth and development. In return, companies can ensure they can retain their talents for the long term.

DBS Bank Ltd, Technology as a catalyst for employee engagement

“Conventional wisdom is that it is difficult for a legacy company to transform at scale. So, in embarking on change, some organisations keep the old and new organisations separate. My view is that to drive transformation at scale, you must attack the core — and make it mainstream. Even though it’s daunting, I am a firm believer that one needs to create change in the company-wide culture.”5 – Piyush Gupta, DBS Bank CEO

Keeping employees engaged with their work can be difficult within a remote setting. Communication lines may weaken, and employees may feel disconnected and alienated. DBS shows how technology, when used effectively, can drive coordination, efficiency, and collaboration.

DBS Bank initiated the “TOGETHER” movement to help its employees navigate through the pandemic as a team.6 The bank wanted to make sure that its employees remained connected and engaged by encouraging open communication throughout the pandemic. The three main initiatives of this movement are as follows:

  1. Communication program: DBS created guides on how employees can have a smooth transition into work-from-home settings. This included practical guides on how to organise work corners and create productive routines.
  2. Encourage social connections through digital platforms: DBS ensured teams remain connected via the bank’s video conferencing platform. DBS introduced team leaders methods to make sure teams connected through initiatives such as daily check-ins.
  3. Care packages for personal wellbeing: DBS held several healthcare and wellbeing webinars to help its employees pave their way through the pandemic. Confidential counselling and mental wellbeing programmes were also readily available.

DBS also uses digital tools to encourage transparent communication across the workforce. Digital tools with empathy are a powerful combination. For instance, DBS initiated the “Ask Piyush” to create a direct communication channel to the CEO himself.

Employees can ask questions, comment, and give suggestions to the CEO directly via this digital tool. This channel helps to break the traditional hierarchies and encourages more open communication across the bank. Consequently, such initiatives helped DBS create a conducive environment for its employees to thrive.


References:

1 Microsoft. (2021, March 22). The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Retrieved 28 October 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

2 Lee, J. (2021, July 25). Maybank goes flexi. The Star. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/07/26/maybank-goes-flexi

3 Surviving The Impact of Covid-19: WFH is here to stay, looking more hybrid. (2021, January 14). The Edge Markets. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/surviving-impact-covid19-wfh-here-stay-looking-more-hybrid

4 Accenture. (2020, October 21). Accenture’s Annual Reports. https://www.accenture.com/my-en/about/company/annual-report

5 “At DBS, we act less like a bank and more like a tech company.” With DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta. (2018, October 12). DBS Innovates. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/innovation/dbs-innovates/at-dbs-we-act-less-like-a-bank-and-more-like-a-tech-company-with-dbs-bank-ceo-piyush-gupta.html

6 Sustainability Report 2020 Stronger Together | DBS Bank. (2021, March 2). DBS. Retrieved 26 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/sustainability/reporting/sustainability-report

CELEBRATING SUCCESS : How EPF Digitalising its Customer Journey

September 30, 2021
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Employees’ Provident Fund of Malaysia (EPF) plays a central role in securing Malaysians’ retirement needs. As Malaysia’s public provident fund, EPF serves over 14.5 million members and manages a portfolio value of over RM1.0 trillion.

With digital channels becoming a norm in work and lifestyle needs, the importance of building these channels must be a priority. To that end, EPF has recognised these growing demands and initiated its Operations Transformation 2.0 back in 2017. Since then, the fund has engaged in several digitalisation initiatives. These initiatives serve to improve both the customer experience and internal operational efficiency.

Our article seeks answers to the following questions:

  1. How is EPF improving the digital experience of its members?
  2. How is EPF creating new channels & services to drive the participation of its members and widen its coverage?

Building a comprehensive omnichannel experience

1. Continuous enhancement to the i-Akaun platform on mobile and web applications

The i-Akaun platform is the primary digital channel for a customer’s interaction with EPF. It is accessible via the internet and more recent mobile applications – the i-Akaun app (for members) and the e-Caruman app (for employers). Some functions performed through these applications include checking account balances, monitoring transaction status, enabling payments, etc.

Since its launch, EPF has continuously introduced new updates/services onto its i-Akaun mobile application. In 2019, several updates included new PDF-format statements for downloads, targeted push notifications, a branch locator service, and fund performance monitoring for its i-Invest users.

With these improvements, the i-Akaun platform has gained commendable acceptance among its members in the past five (5) years. From 2017, the growth in i-Akaun membership grew by at least 70%, with 52.06% of their 14.5 million members registered on i-Akaun. On the employers’ side, 99.36% of 522,297 employers registered for i-Akaun.

To date, the i-Akaun application has nearly 1.5 million downloads with an average rating of 4.5. Both the growing user base and reviews reflect EPF’s focus on building these digital channels.

2. Enhancements to brick-and-mortar branches

To extend the digital experience onto its physical branches, EPF has continuously introduced new processes to improve customer interactions at the branch. The focus here is to provide effective self-service channels and superior customer service.

EPF designed its branches as a one-stop-centre approach. Apart from e-kiosks, EPF also introduced initiatives to provide advisory training for its staff. Nowadays, customers, tend to prefer self-service channels due to their efficiency and ease of use. Hence, EPF recognised that its staff could provide higher value as retirement advisors.

To execute this training plan, EPF introduced the Retirement Advisory Services (RAS) in July 2014, which is now available in 52 branches. The latest figures show that more than 82,000 members received advisory services that RAS provided.

3. E-payroll Services for SMEs

EPF also pays attention to services beyond its core functions. For example, in June 2021, EPF unveiled an e-Payroll service to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with a digitalised payroll system. This service complements the i-Akaun platform for employers. It ensures that they meet and monitor statutory obligations and employee contributions.

The e-payroll service aims to ease the difficulties that small business owners face in terms of the financial constraints to adopt a digital payroll solution. Some features include the ability to store digital records, monitor account contributions, automate calculations, and many more.

The range of services provided by EPF is indeed commendable. The increase in customer interactions through electronic channels suggests that customers are strongly shifting towards digital channels provided by the fund. In 2019, self-service channels via kiosks and the i-Akaun platform recorded 104.88 million interactions, a 24.12% increase from 2018.

EPF’s Contact Management Centre (CMC), which handles customer inquiries mainly through telephone or email, recorded a 27.16% decrease from 2018. Customers are increasingly attuned to digital channels as opposed to traditional face-to-face interactions according to these statistics.

Launched new services to drive participation & increase coverage

1. Introduced i-Invest platform to drive participation from members

The introduction of this service was a new one for the industry. EPF was the first public retirement fund that allowed its members to invest their retirement savings directly into unit trust funds of their choice. Customers also enjoy significantly lower sales charges through this service. The sales charge ranges from 0%-0.5%compared to the standard range of 2%-3% often charged by intermediaries.

The i-Invest service also includes tools for its members to monitor all the relevant information on the unit trust funds they selected actively. Through these tools, EPF encourages higher participation from its members.

2. Building programmes for gig economy workers

EPF continues to face the challenge to cover a broader range of Malaysian workers. The growing size of the gig economy is one of the leading causes of this. Estimates indicate that gig workers would represent more than a third of Malaysia’s labour force in the next five (5) years. With the pandemic’s impact on job losses, this situation may worsen as Malaysians continue to find alternative income sources.

To counter this, EPF introduced the i-Saraan programme in mid-2020. Through this programme, self-employed workers can voluntarily contribute to their EPF accounts. This programme was designed to encourage gig economy workers to save up for retirement. The pickup has been encouraging, with recent registrations increasing by 22.11% in 2019 with 120,738 registrations.

The government has also championed this initiative by introducing an RM50 million matching grant for i-Saraan investors in June 2020.  In addition, EPF has engaged with the private sector, most notably collaborating with Grab Malaysia by extending their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed back in 2018. Like the government’s matching grant, this MOU commits Grab to match contributions by up to 5% with a ceiling of RM80 annually for those below 55 years old. Those above 55 years old are guaranteed matching contributions of 10% with a ceiling of RM120 annually.

How you can emulate EPF

  • The customer satisfaction levels are a reflection of the customer-focused culture that is present in EPF. Merely digitalising is not the answer. Businesses need to understand the specific customer journey pain points to build solutions effectively.
  • Observing EPF, the fund placed a strong emphasis on creating a comprehensive omnichannel experience, one that could meet the demands of different types of customers. This is crucial to ensure consistent customer satisfaction and provide a seamless onboarding process onto digital channels.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS : How Maybank is Leading Digital Transformation in Banking Sector

July 29, 2021
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Maybank, changing the face of traditional banking

Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank Group” or “the Group”) is the largest financial services and banking group in Malaysia. The Group serves its 22 million customers through a robust portfolio of financial products and services, including consumer and corporate banking, treasury activities, insurance, and asset management. These contributed to the Group’s annual revenue of MYR 51 billion in 2020. For the same year, Maybank Group had an operating income of MYR 6.48 billion and was the winner of the world’s best consumer digital bank in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Despite topping local and international market charts with notable digital milestones like QRPay and Maybank Trade, the Group’s M25 plan persists on digitalisation as a key-value driver. The strategy is similar to its Digital Bank of Choice strategy set in 2020. With customers spoilt for choice in today’s market, it is a challenge to reach that pinnacle of customer experience and preserve customer relationships at the same time, especially if a brand doesn’t fully invest in digital roadmaps and collaborations.

“We must always have the user behaviour in mind when we are creating new digital services and/or products. Digital banking providers who provide the best user experience and can solve customers’ problems will continue to be relevant,” said Datuk John Chong, Group CEO of Maybank Community Financial Services.

In this article, you will see Maybank in its journey to improve service delivery capabilities in the era of hyper-digitisation and competition.

Improving the digital banking experience

Maybank takes inspiration from the rapid rise of digital banking and fintech startups in its pursuit to continue enhancing customer experience. The bank’s mission is to provide customers with simple and convenient access to its financial services using ubiquitous digital solutions.

In 2018, the Group revamped the Maybank2U mobile application and website to offer a seamless transacting experience. The mobile application, which now features enhanced payment capabilities and customer personalisation, boasts over 12 million mobile downloads with an impressive 7 million active users (excluding website users) in 2020. New upgrades have allowed customers to generate dynamic PayNow QR codes for on-demand transfers. The mobile app also features a display of remittance options for more transparent overseas fund transfers.  Apart from that, other Maybank2U experience-enhancing functions include Scan & Pay, a personal debit and credit spending tracker, and a customisable savings planner. 

As the Group recognised the growing importance of digital products and services, it launched MAE (Maybank Anytime, Everyone) by Maybank2U in 2020. This complimentary mobile banking and e-wallet application seamlessly integrate online banking with one’s lifestyle needs. MAE not only allows customers to have full access to their savings accounts, pay bills and transfer funds. It also offers newer fintech solutions such as expenses monitoring, in-app virtual debit cards and ‘Tabung’, an individual and group-goal based saving feature. 

Maybank Group received numerous feedbacks from customers with negative experiences from self-service options, such as chatbots and FAQs. Looking to offer a better solution, the Group implemented E-CLEVA, an integrated live video chat solution. With this new capability, insurance claims teams could provide real-time assisted claims support for motor and fire insurances, allowing the bank to process claims digitally and within 15 minutes. 

Building operational efficiency with digitalisation

As customers stay at home during the movement control order, Maybank Group saw a significant surge in the number of digital transactions and users on its platforms — zakat payments before the festive period, for example, has increased by 227% year-on-year (Y-o-Y). At the same time, QRPay saw a transaction volume growth of over 650% Y-o-Y. With active mobile users expanding by 34%, Maybank Group had to deploy cutting-edge technologies to maintain its business outcomes at a rapid speed. 

The Group placed a heavy focus on automating its back offices, namely to streamline back-end processes by implementing machine learning for processing credit applications, branch operations, remittances and trade services. It reinvented the technology stack to support every layer of banking operation by adopting technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), ICR/OCR (Intelligent or Optical Character Recognition) and application integration for certain ‘open’ operations. 

Other digitalising efforts include migrating transactions from branches onto the online payments platform and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Anomalous Parts Detection for vehicle claims submission. The Group also launched a fully digital Know Your Customer (KYC) capability, enabling a customer to onboard through app-integrated video calls. 

Maybank Group measures the success of all digital initiatives through two (2) measures — straight-through processing (STP) rates and customer turnaround times. These measures allow the bank to track and analyse the efficiency of its services, enabling more productive service delivery capabilities across various operations.

Enabling convenient, safe and secure transactions

The rise of digital banking is analogous to a double edge sword — on one end, you have greater convenience at your fingertips. But on the other side, digital vulnerabilities and frauds can now affect us more than ever. Maybank Group mitigates these risks by internalising a robust cybersecurity infrastructure that covers internal governance, human knowledge and network capabilities. 

The Group employs a best-of-breed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology that enables continuous real-time monitoring of any internal or external cyberattacks. Coupled with its Regional Security Operations Centre, which centrally manages the operational level of system security, the bank’s security specialists can quickly and continuously detect and respond to malicious activities using the Splunk Enterprise Security platform. 

Driven by the surge of digital transactions, Maybank announced in April 2021 that it is discontinuing the SMS TAC (transaction authorisation code) for approving online transactions on both its apps. The bank intends to protect its customers with improved online banking security. Customers will switch to Secure2U as the preferred authorisation method for most transactions, excluding Financial Process Exchange (FPX) and Direct Personnel Expense (DPE). This alternative feature adds an extra layer of protection. Transactions can only be approved within 50 seconds on a registered device using Secure Verification (one-tap authentication) or Secure TAC (a six-digit TAC number generated on the mobile app).  

This new ability creates a safer and more conducive way for customers to transact. At the same time, Maybank Group can build a digital ecosystem that enables safe and secure transactions continuously, fostering digital trust with its users.

Accelerating growth through key partnerships

As non-banking institutions with digital banking licenses flood the market, Maybank Group ensures business competitiveness by engaging in strategic partnerships to introduce new products while enhancing existing offerings. The bank focuses on creating close C-level collaborations with technology disruptors to foster customer stickiness by integrating lifestyle propositions with financial services.  

At a time where customers are increasingly adopting digital products in their lifestyle, Maybank Group joined hands with the ride-hailing company, Grab, to drive the acceptance and ubiquity of cashless payments further. By integrating the two payment systems, customers of Maybank and Grab can choose between using their GrabPay or Maybank QRPay mobile wallets at the merchants they support. Direct cash top-ups on the GrabPay mobile wallet via Maybank2U enrich the online experience between these two digital apps.

The partnership with Grab doesn’t stop there. Maybank Group unveiled a new dual-faced credit card that enables customers to seamlessly collect GrabRewards points that they can then use to redeem vouchers and other rewards. Aiming to serve younger consumers further, the Group also teamed up with an e-commerce powerhouse, Shopee, to offer a lifestyle and e-commerce credit card. Similarly, users obtain rewards – Shopee Coins which they can spend on future online or offline purchases.

The Group also partnered with various property leaders including, UDA Holdings, Tropicana Corp. and i-City to offer “HouzeKEY”, an alternative home financing solution for first-time home buyers. Another partnership with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) saw the launch of ASNB e-channels on the bank’s platform.  The collaboration enables cross-system transactions and the viewing of account balances via Maybank ATMs or the Maybank2U app. 

Maybank is poised to conquer the fast-growing digital banking space with its wide range of digital products and services, seamlessly integrated into a customer’s everyday life. The Group continues to defend and grow key customer markets in the era of digitalisation without losing sight of its core principle; humanising banking.

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY : Is Open Banking Set to Revolutionise Financial Services?

July 28, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic redefined how the financial services industry operates. It also created great momentum for innovations within the industry as consumers increasingly reached out for digital financial solutions. This growth has caused banks around the world to seriously look into Open Banking, a concept that was introduced just a few years ago. 

What is Open Banking?

Open banking is undoubtedly a huge leap towards digital transformation for banks globally. To define it, open banking is simply the practice of enabling Third Party Providers (TPPs) to have access to banks’ data through open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These TPPs range from e-wallets, microloans, FinTechs and many more.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

  • Broadly categorised into private, partner, and open APIs
  • Open API is an application interface that allows access to third-party developers without the need to establish a business relationship with the API publisher

Third-Party Providers (TPPs):

  • An authorised online financial service provider
  • There are two (2) types of TPPs:
    • Account Information Service Provider (AISP)
      Authorised access to account data provided by financial institutions and banks
    • Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP)
      Authorised access to initiate payments in and out of a user’s account

How is Open Banking beneficial?

The Open Banking revolution is bringing many new opportunities for innovators to create services and for customers to enjoy these services. The benefits of Open Banking is not just limited to consumers, but it extends to service providers as well.

Benefits to Consumers

i. Hyper-personalisation
Open Banking allows banks to collaborate with FinTechs and businesses from various industries. Data-sharing agreements with FinTechs and other non-financial companies open up the potential to develop new, innovative services as they utilise the vast data available. A more expansive source of data could potentially change the face of more traditional industries such as travel, retailers and insurance.

ii. Enhance the customer-centric approach
Banks gain access to user’s data from other participating financial institutions through Open Banking. This capability gives banks the means to leverage that data and create their integration-based financial offerings. As banks increase their database of customers and curate products accordingly, they are able to strengthen their “customer-centric” approach to business.

Where is Malaysia today in the Open Banking space?

In June 2016, Malaysia’s central bank and principal financial services regulator, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), established a Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) to support innovations within the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. The FTEG plays the role of developing new policies and enhancing existing ones related to the adoption of new technologies in the sector.

Consequently, in 2017, FTEG launched a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework to test new and applicable technology, including Open Banking.

In March 2018, BNM made their biggest stride yet by establishing an Open API Implementation Group. This was to develop standards and regulations around open data, security, oversight arrangements for TPP, and rights of access. The group was also accountable to review the existing regulations regarding controls on customer information.

As of 2021, BNM is taking a phased approach towards Open Banking; they are cognisant of the security threats and governance measures that would need to come along with it. The central bank is also welcoming additional proposals from the BFSI, FinTech community and any interested parties that would benefit from standardised open APIs.

What does the future hold for Malaysia and Open Banking?

The Nordics in Europe and the UK are at the forefront of building a world-class Open Banking digital ecosystem. These countries have their framework and API standards in place to facilitate the process. They also have a vast digital infrastructure that enables the widespread use of Open Banking.

The global acceleration of Open Banking will be a catalyst towards Open Banking in Malaysia. Malaysia will be able to learn from the best practices of countries around the world and avoid the mistakes that they may have made while adopting Open Banking. With the right governance, regulations and security checks in place, Malaysia will soon follow suit with these leading countries in implementing Open Banking.

Open Banking will also gain traction in the country, thanks to its rapidly advancing FinTech ecosystem. The FinTech community in Malaysia is hungry for innovation and is also open to collaborating with banks to create new products and services. Moreover, Malaysia is home to the most digital natives in Southeast Asia, with 83% in digital consumers. These modern consumers are imperative in ensuring Open Banking is a success.

The increasing prominence of fintech companies alongside the high digital readiness of consumers proves one valid point – Malaysia has an emerging market with a vibrant digital ecosystem; one that is ripe to accept Open Banking. This digital transformation might just be the right enabler that unlocks opportunities in the banking space, ultimately revolutionising banking itself.

TRENDS & DIGITAL STRATEGY : The Bank of Tomorrow – Hizam Ghazali

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Banks have been at the forefront of digital transformation. They have always been the leading adopters of technology and have led the way to show how customer journeys can be digitalised.

As consumers, we seldom have to go to banks now and the banks have come to the consumer’s smartphone. Add to this the plethora of new innovative financial services made available by start-ups and tech giants alike. Consumers are besieged with choices.

Despite all the progress, this is still Day One for the banking industry. The per-capita consumption of financial services in our country and globally is still at low single (3 to 4 services) digits. Financial services are the backbone of every personal life, and every business and industry.

“There are huge opportunities to improve this consumption by taking away points of friction and improving accessibility. TM as a digital enabler to the banking industry, we see there are four (4) distinct innovation opportunities as we look into the next decade”, says Hizam Ghazali, Head of Digital Services, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). 

Some of the potential innovative services opportunities are:

#1 Invisible banking
Most of us are not excited about making a trip down to the bank. It is often considered a waste of precious time. Bill Gates famously quoted way back in 1994, “Banking is essential, but banks are not.” The vision is to help us consume banking and financial services without visiting the bank or even transacting over the banking app. Akin to the famous “Intel Inside” campaign, can banks enable us to live better lives but still be invisible, make it so easy to consume that we are not even aware of its existence? The key is to embed the services seamlessly into the existing customer journeys, be it shopping or furthering your education. The more the invisibility, the greater the ease of consumption. It has taken us over two and a half decades to understand the vision that Bill Gates espoused.

#2 Ecosystems
Ecosystems are a way of organising the business to enable a high degree of collaboration between various stakeholders (customers, partners, employees, investors, government). It is a new business model which harnesses the idea of co-creation by the various industry stakeholders. Almost all digital-native businesses that we know such as Google, Amazon and GRAB are examples of the ecosystem in action. Banks have this incredible opportunity to build their own ecosystems as well as become part of others to drive growth. Through the use of Open Banking Application Programmable Interface’s (API’s), banks can now enable third-party fintech companies to access their core banking capabilities and develop innovative products to serve customers. The biggest benefit is the ability to innovate and take new services faster to market. The ecosystem owner focuses on the user experience and relies on the stakeholders to help drive innovation, market outreach and other capabilities. While GRAB started with the Mobility Ecosystem, they saw incredible growth during the pandemic in their Delivery Ecosystem and their future growth agenda is with the Financial Services Ecosystem.

#3 Hyper-personalisation
A critical pillar of differentiation for banks moving forward will be their ability to personalise services for the customers. Open Banking is an enabler for hyper-personalisation. This allows customers to opt-in and allows the bank have oversight of their financial investments across all providers. Then, through the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), they can be in a good position to generate customer-specific insights and offer very personalised solutions. These personalised solutions can be an aggregation of the bank’s products as well as third-party providers. Enabling this frictionless, personalised user experience has been the strategy adopted by several of today’s banking leaders in response to the competition from big-tech. Offering this at a large scale requires tight integration of technologies and partnerships.

#4 Security
While we saw a massive uptake of digital banking in the last 18 months, it has brought about a huge spike in cybercrime. Banking related phishing attacks have seen a twenty-fold increase in the same period of time. The situation is aggravated as the less digital-savvy population, which is the most vulnerable, starts adopting digital banking services. Banks are responding to this challenge with increased measures to authenticate users and add additional layers of security. These additional security measures are impediments to the greater use of digital banking. We believe there is an opportunity for banks to use some of the latest technologies including biometrics and AI to enable a secure yet frictionless experience.

Research firm, twimbit has estimated that the per capita consumption of financial services is set to explode and reach about 15 to 20 services by the end of the decade. While the competition is intense, there is enough opportunity for all market participants, simply because of the growth in innovation.

“I am excited about how the financial services industry is going to evolve in the coming decade. The convergence between these four (4) innovation opportunities will open a plethora of new possibilities. We are seeing more banks, e-commerce businesses and other financial institutions adopting digital components such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enhance its daily operations, processes and of course, customer experience. We look forward to partnering with the industry to enable this new vision of possibilities,” Hizam added.

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