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Telekom Malaysia – Driving strategic initiatives to accelerate digital transformation capabilities in BFSI and Oil & Gas Industries

February 12, 2019
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An Asia Pacific end-user survey by Frost & Sullivan highlighted that 93% of the organisations surveyed considered themselves ready or have embarked on the digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation is one of the key strategic goals for enterprises and the public sector across the region. An Asia Pacific end-user survey by Frost & Sullivan highlighted that 93% of the organisations surveyed considered themselves ready or have embarked on the digital transformation journey. Further result from the survey shows data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were rated as critical investments over 2017 – 2023 to the success of their digital transformation.

The drivers for these investments however vary significantly depending on the size and digital maturity of these organisations. To ensure desired business outcomes, enterprises are continuously exploring new technologies and investing in critical enablers such as Data Analytics and AI – as analytics itself has undergone a paradigm shift over the recent years – from data warehousing and mining to providing predictive business intelligence.

As organisations adjust to the rapidly changing digital lifestyle of consumers worldwide, they are discovering the importance of understanding and envisaging the impact of information generated from digital sources. Sophisticated analytic capabilities and intuitive visualisations are driving a profound change in how marketing, advertising, communications, supply chains, value chains, processes, transactions and deals are going to be accomplished.

Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) and Oil & Gas sectors – Reinventing in the digital world

Amongst other verticals, leading BFSI and oil & gas companies are building their digital transformation strategies as the foundation for sustained growth. While, the BFSI sector has leveraged digital extensively over the years, there is continued focus on adopting technologies that can enable improved cost of operations, streamline processes and create better customer experience. Big Data and AI tools are being deployed extensively by banks in the region to ensure greater compliance as well as gain deeper customer insights to identify cross-sell opportunities. Besides, emerging technologies like blockchain, continue to transform the industry, in a way that may completely disrupt traditional banking in years to come.

Digital has also emerged as the key enabler in oil and gas sector, driven by the need to reduce costs, make faster and better decisions, and to increase operational productivity. Besides operational applications and digital asset management, Internet of Things (IoT) driven applications are creating a data-first approach to managing existing assets, supply chains, or customer relationships. Integrated deployment strategy with analytics is becoming the key for oil & gas companies to unlock value and potential.

The constant advancement of hardware and breakthrough Machine Learning (ML) algorithms has also unleashed a new wave of exponential progress that is set to affect every industry. True success in AI depends on access and timeliness of data, drawing insights and utility from the Internet of Things and Big Data paradigms. While all industries stand to benefit from this, the adoption is at different levels.

Telekom Malaysia’s (TM) end-to-end solutions and services capabilities create a compelling value proposition for enterprises and is also demonstrating a continued focus towards creating value for supporting enterprises in their transformation journey. TM’s offerings across software applications, network services, Tier-III Data Centre, Cloud services, high-performance computing infrastructure and managed services position it well to partner with enterprises in their digital journey.

Given TM’s strong focus towards offering digital solutions for both BFSI and Oil & Gas Industries, TM led a strategic initiative of inviting UK based AI companies (in partnership with British High Commission) in October 2018. Close and intensive engagements with these AI companies helped explore opportunities for collaboration and identify means to create greater value for BFSI and Oil & Gas organisations in the region.

Security and Scalability

The initial discussion started with an introduction on TM solutions and capabilities, as well as TM’s strong understanding of the Malaysian Market. Led by Wan Ahmad Kamal, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business, TM ONE, the conversation deep-dived into how the nation’s Convergence Champion and No. 1 Converged Communications Services Provider, has transformed itself to fully support both BFSI and Oil & Gas industry’s transformation journey and continuously be relevant in the digital market.

He added that by having a deeper understanding of verticals, TM is better equipped at delivering solutions and services packed with high security standards catered to the need of the BFSI and Oil & Gas industries. TM, through its business solutions arm, TM ONE, assures securities aspects of both industries via its Twin Core Data Centre’s world class security capabilities.

TM ONE’s Twin Core Data centre, comprises two-state-of-the-art Data Centres, named as Iskandar Puteri Data Centre (IPDC) that is located at Iskandar Puteri in Johor and Klang Valley Data Centre in Cyberjaya, Klang Valley. IPDC is in compliance with various industry and security certification standards, including undergoing threat, vulnerability and risk assessment (TVRA), ISO27001, as well as PCI DSS1. While KVDC, will be undergoing a few rounds of certification processes to complement its sister twin, after 3 months of operation once construction completes in early 2019.

Wan Ahmad Kamal added that with the Twin Core infrastructure in place, scalability, flexibility and agility will no longer be an issue. As speed to market becomes critical for both of these industries, the need to scale with technology that is constantly agile, capabilities and competencies that are always available and on top of an infrastructure that is robust through changing times, is crucial to maintain a business’ relevancy and competitiveness in the market.

He also commented that TM ONE has been involved in various infrastructure investments in order to support both of these industries. Among the solutions provided are TM ONE’s Multi-Cloud Services, Twin Core DC Disaster Recovery (DR) services and TM’s very own TM ONE ID Hub, or widely known as eKnowYourCustomer (eKYC) and Managed Security.

Driving Fundamental Change

Digital transformation entails the integration of digital technology into all areas of business, and these integrations would then drive the fundamental changes of how a business operates and deliver value to its customers.

Driving the discussion further, the AI vendors explained how their technology capabilities enable businesses to enhance their customer experience, optimise processes and operations as well as improve security in a highly data intensive environment. The discussion focused on how businesses are taking precautionary measures in their own digital transformation journey.

Everyone generally agreed that by going digital, the banking and insurance companies would require clear articulated strategy, funding, talent, agile ways of working and an internal culture that is willing to take risks in order to transform their businesses. As for the Oil & Gas industry, there is a need to optimise operational performance that would significantly reduce costs and minimise risks throughout the transformation process.

It is clear that to drive transformation; an organisation would require a thorough enhancement to the business’ organisational efficiency and increase the speed of delivery to its customers. Opinsta, one of the UK companies, showcased their capabilities in countering operational challenges. The company specialises in amplifying an organisation’s operational potential, in essence, by putting routine business processes into an automated and digitised mode.

Their capabilities include digitising and innovating customer-related business operations, with a multifunctional app that acts as a bridge to employees of all levels. It serves as a tool for efficient maintenance reporting and to minimise manual processes altogether.

As experts in rapid build, development and support in amplifying operational performance, they have to-date built nine (9) separate solutions that caters to specific business requirements.

Managing Risks

It was clear that digital has changed the way businesses operate over the years. Given its impact it has on businesses, the risk of human error would bound to happen along the way. Jazz Networks, another UK company involved in the discussion, explained that businesses need to mitigate human error from the source.

They continued to explain that their technology was created to address complexities of human behaviour and the countless times humans have indirectly bypassed security built to protect them. Their platform is equipped with an advanced learning systems that collects and analyses human behavioural data of users on the network, and detect flagged activities that is considered suspicious.

This platform gives the administrator a complete transparent view of the network – with a user interface that analyses the collected data to ensure end-to-end visibility for each activity happening on the network.

Jazz Networks takes accuracy and transparency seriously. Their platform enables users to view real-time data that will help them make benefitting business decisions each step of the way. And to top it off, their platform’s capability to scale together with user’s business needs, managed as a single entity through intelligent segmentation that dynamically split the network into logical partitions, enable any security policy and machine learning insights to apply to all end users’ computers.

Accelerating Businesses, and the Nation Forward

The discussion was effective as it leveraged on TM’s strong understanding of the Malaysian market and deep domain/ industry expertise. At the same time, the AI vendors brought forth technologies which would enhance customer experience, optimise business processes and operations as well as improve security in a highly data intensive environment.

In summary, all parties cohesively agreed that:

Digital has been driving the country’s digital economy for the last decade, and will continue on for the next. It is imperative for businesses to be on the right digital track, with the right technology, at the right time, or they will risk being irrelevant to the market. The need to be equipped with scalable capabilities, coupled with competent resource is also important for any business embarking on their digital transformation journey.

Frost & Sullivan, and TM ONE believe that engagements between leading service providers and emerging global technology vendors play a critical role towards accelerating development of innovative solutions and creating an ecosystem enabling sustained growth of organisations in the digital era.

Nishchal Khorana,
Director, Digital Transformation
Practice, APAC,
Frost & Sullivan

  1. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS1) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. (https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/)

Cloud ⍺ Series #11: Three Digital Banking Trends to Watch in 2021

November 10, 2020
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The pandemic has accelerated digitisation in industries, and financial services are no different. Biometrics, personalised services and increased cybersecurity controls are set to bring Malaysia’s banking sector into the future.

In 1994, Bill Gates said that “banking is necessary; banks are not”. 16 years later, his words remain true.

The banking industry has seen an eruption of change over the past two decades: from cryptocurrency to blockchain, from biometric log-ins to customised services. Afternoons spent lining up at the bank to set up a new account are now only a vague, unpleasant memory.

Digital banking is set to impact individuals and enterprises across the country. GovInsider examines three (3) trends set to transform the banking industry.

Biometrics

Passwords are easily hacked or forgotten, and so are not a very good way of securing bank accounts. Enter a new way of identity authentication: biometrics. These verify customers’ identities with fingerprint scanners or facial recognition technologies, so log-in information can’t be stolen or duplicated.

In 2019, Hong Leong Bank introduced an eToken that allows their corporate and SME customers in Malaysia to authenticate log-ins and approve payments with facial recognition tech. This eliminates the need for a physical token.

The eToken will also be integrated with Hong Leong Bank’s mobile banking app to create a more seamless experience. Customers can confirm transactions with just a “single tap”, according to the bank’s website.

This new service is expected to have a significant impact on customers’ banking experience. In the financial year before the app’s release, Hong Leong Bank processed more than 27 million transactions through its business internet banking platform. More than eight out of ten corporate and SME transactions were completed online.

This initiative was driven by the bank’s commitment to innovate around customer needs and preferences. “The introduction of facial recognition eToken is based on our understanding and insights on customers’ pain points when using a physical dongle and conventional passwords, which can be misplaced or forgotten,” said Yow Kuan Tuck, the bank’s Managing Director, Business Corporate Banking.

Besides using physical biometric features to authenticate log-ins, banks can also use behavioural biometrics to detect potential fraud, wrote BiometricUpdate.com. Banks can study how a customer usually interacts with their account, such as what time they usually log in, and the average value of their transactions.

The behavioural biometrics software alerts security teams on any drastically different behaviours, which may be a sign of a fraudulent transaction. They can decide to block the transaction or ask for additional authentication from the user.

An upside to behavioural biometrics is that there are no privacy concerns, according to BiometricUpdate.com. Each user’s behavioural data is converted to a mathematical representation, which holds no value for criminals.

Personalised services

Could a banking app suggest personalised promotions the way Netflix gives movie recommendations? With transactions moving towards more online, it’s much easier to observe customers’ cashflow, searches, app usage, location and even the demographic variables, wrote Silicon Valley Innovation Center. This information holds precious insights into customer behaviour.

Singapore startup Crayon Data’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine allows businesses to suggest updates and services that suit customers’ needs and lifestyle. This helps businesses engage with customers better, which improves response rate, loyalty and frequency of card usage.

Crayon Data focuses on serving lifestyle-related businesses, such as banks, telcos and retailers. These industries have access to multitudes of customer data, but don’t have the ability to make the most out of them, wrote The Business Times.

The startup’s simplified solution analyses banks’ data to create a personalised profile for each customer, based on their preferences. This can be done within a week. Banks can then use this profile to conduct more targeted marketing.

Using blockchain to address cybersecurity concerns

Banks hold reams of sensitive financial data. It’s no wonder that they experience 300 times more cyberattacks than other types of organisations.

Mobile and online applications have made payments easier, but they bring inherent risks. 78 per cent of banks in the Asia Pacific claims that real-time payment platforms have led to more fraud cases, according to a Jumio report. The report highlighted the need for additional identity and authentication technologies.

Additionally, Verizon found that web applications were the number one threat pattern for financial services data breaches in 2018, wrote Codete. Accenture found at least one known security risk in all 30 of the major banking applications it studied.

The most common causes of security vulnerabilities are insecure data storage, insufficient authentication, and direct code tampering, according to Codete. Internet of Things (IoT) presents yet more risks to digital banking. As nations move to become smart and connected societies, the large number of devices will increase the attack avenues for cybercriminals. Protecting these devices is even more urgent given the extensive volumes of personal data they collect, Codete reported.

TM ONE, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)’s enterprise and public sector business arm, uses blockchain to address these cybersecurity issues. Its Blockchain Secure Authentication (BSA) is a new password-less authentication method, allowing users to securely access their online accounts and to securely approve an online transaction over web or mobile. It does not require a password for authentication, simple to use, extremely secure and almost impenetrable solution, represents the next layer of defence in securing online businesses.

Blockchain is a secure way of storing digital information since its records cannot be deleted. TM ONE has partnered with Korean tech company FNS Value Co to become the sole distributor to rollout BSA in Malaysia and Indonesia, says Thaib Mustafa, Head of Cybersecurity services at TM ONE.

It is the first patented authentication solution using blockchain technology in the world. BSA provides a secure and trusted access to the web and mobile services – protecting customers’ personal data and information; prevent security breaches, data leakages, ID and Password brute-force credential or digital identity attacks, he added.

The pandemic has accelerated digitisation in all industries, and financial services are no different. Biometrics, personalised services and increased cybersecurity controls are set to bring Malaysia’s banking sector into the future.

How 5G is transforming Malaysia’s roads

February 25, 2020
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These solutions have the potential to transform Langkawi’s roads and its city planning. All data collected by these systems are consolidated on a dashboard to understand the city’s needs better.

Noisy roads choked with cars and never-ending stretches of beautiful beaches don’t really go hand-in-hand. But they co-exist uneasily in Langkawi, one of Malaysia’s popular island getaways, especially during peak holiday periods.

Telekom Malaysia (TM)’s enterprise and public sector business arm, TM ONE, has created several 5G-powered solutions to tackle this issue and ensure visitors enjoy a smooth journey throughout their holiday. “When you talk about smart tech, it’s not about the technology, but your experience when you touch down in Langkawi,” Maznan Deraman, TM ONE’s innovative solutions head, recently told GovInsider.

TM is testing 11 5G applications in Langkawi in the first half of 2020. Here is how three of them can help transform Langkawi’s roads.

Smart parking

Malaysia already has a series of options for parking apps that make fee payments easier. But TM ONE’s latest smart parking endeavour sets itself apart from the rest. “For the normal parking app we’re used to today, users have to select a parking bay and tell the system how long they’ll be parking for,” explained Azrin Aris, Director of Products & Innovation at TM ONE at a recent media showcase. But this can be inaccurate, and TM ONE is trialling a new feature to reduce human error so the correct fee can be charged.

TM ONE’s parking app shows users live footage of the parking lots, captured by high-definition cameras in the area. Instead of manually keying in the parking lot number, “users just need to tap on the phone to record the exact location of their parking spot,” he said.

The app will create a seamless experience for drivers – they can start looking for parking spaces and book it through the app even before setting off in their car. Drivers also don’t have to specify how long they will be parking for. Sensors in the parking lots will detect when the car has driven off, and the app will charge the appropriate fees automatically.

The app also helps traffic wardens work more efficiently. They can identify cases of illegal parking through the footage captured on the app, without manually checking up on parked cars. Officials can also find out how long a car has been illegally parked in a spot, so they can issue the appropriate fines.

“We can also look out for traffic violations with the camera,” said Maznan. Traffic wardens can study the footage to look for wayward drivers going the wrong direction in a one-way street, or rogue motorcyclists riding on the pedestrians’ path.

Smart traffic light

Langkawi’s roads can get quite busy, especially during peak traveling seasons. TM ONE has devised a smart traffic light that regulates traffic flow to shorten wait times.

IoT sensors installed in traffic lights measure patterns such as the average waiting time and how many cars are turning right or going straight. “Previously we didn’t have this information [about traffic conditions]. If we wanted to do this, we had to send people to the roadside to count,” said Maznan.

“The traffic light then uses this data to adjust the green time period. For instance, the traffic light would flash green for a longer time when there are more vehicles passing through. This would mean less congestion, quicker journeys, less fuel consumption, and a smaller carbon footprint,” explained Maznan.

The traffic light also comes with a built-in contingency plan, just in case the IoT sensors malfunction. “We use the predicted values to change the default setting, so it gives time for authorities to fix the sensors while not heavily impacting user experience,” shared Azrin.

Smart vehicle management

Telekom Research & Development (TM R&D), TM ONE’s sister company and TM’s innovation arm, has developed a system for car rental companies to manage their fleet. “Langkawi is a tourist Island and car rentals are the most used mode of transport,” explained Dr. Sharlene Thiagarajah, CEO of TM R&D.

The new tech allows car rental companies to track each vehicle’s usage pattern in real time, using GPS that runs on 5G networks. The system also grades each employee’s driving behaviour by giving a score for each drive.

“Car rentals will know who’s driving your car, where they are going, if there has been harsh braking or harsh cornering, or if there is excessive idling,” said Dr Sharlene. “Car rental operators will then understand the usage pattern and maybe create new business models with the customers.”.

This can change the way insurance companies charge for car rentals as well. “Today, most of us who drive are paying for insurance 24/7. Imagine if we have data to show insurance companies that we are only driving two or three hours a day,” Dr Sharlene said. “Insurance companies could perhaps use this information to offer more tailored packages to customers,” she explained.

These three solutions have the potential to transform Langkawi’s roads and ultimately, its city planning. All the data collected by these systems can be consolidated on a dashboard so officials can understand the city’s needs better. “We want to see where vehicles are going and where people are congregating,” said Dr Sharlene. These are the insights that will help us plan better and safer cities.

Malaysia is ready for Industry 4.0

January 16, 2020
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This is Malaysia’s first step in embracing IR4.0 that has transformed public and private sectors across the world, and it will focus on driving growth in manufacturing and related industries.

Malaysia has its eyes set on achieving the developed country status, and they are well on track for achieving it. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been climbing steadily and the MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd Research foresees higher GDP growth in the second half of 2019, according to Malay Mail.

But, as with many other countries before it, it needs to avoid the middle income trap and prepare for unprecedented disruption to global industries, including manufacturing. “Malaysia’s forte is in manufacturing-related angles,” noted Jeyasigan Nair, Director of Advanced Technology, Research and Development, Malaysian Investment Development Authority. “Manufacturing is one of the pillars to push for us to attain the status of a developed country,” he said at the TM ONE Smart Industry Showcase in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Enter Industry4WRD, Malaysia’s iteration of Industry 4.0. This is the country’s first step in embracing the digital revolution that has transformed public and private sectors across the world, and it will focus on driving growth in manufacturing and related industries. TM ONE, leading digital solutions provider and Telekom Malaysia’s enterprise and public sector business arm, has recently launched 10 Transformative Smart Solutions to support Industry4WRD during the Smart Industry Showcase. These solutions use big data, IoT sensors and smart technology to create smart systems across multiple industries.

TM ONE recently spoke to GovInsider on the practical ways to achieve Industry4WRD.

What Industry4WRD looks like

At the Smart Industry Showcase, Ir Ts Azizi A. Hadi, former EVP and CEO of TM ONE and currently Telekom Malaysia’s Chief Network Officer, shared some ways that TM ONE supports the development of Industry4WRD.

1. Smart buildings

TM ONE’s Smart Building Management Solution optimises energy usage with a three-pronged approach: integrated third party sensors, smart analytics and advanced visualization tools. Building managers can collect data and control devices within the building through a centralised monitoring platform. The data can provide insights on footfall, traffic and asset’s usage. It can also tell maintenance teams when would be the best time to carry out maintenance work, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for tenants.

“Data from energy usage can provide insights on bigger things,” said Azizi. For example, when the electricity bill is higher than projected, it could be a sign of a mismanaged air conditioning system. Building managers can then choose to install a centralised and automated control system based on demand.

“Without these data systems, we cannot identify where the waste is coming from. And when you introduce energy savings equipment, we can easily measure the KPIs with these data,” he added.

This energy monitoring system is currently in trial in several government buildings across Malaysia.

2. Smart farming

The agriculture industry, in particular hydroponics, can benefit greatly from Industry 4.0 technologies. Sensors can detect the pH level and temperature of the plants’ environments using electrolytes in the water. This data can then be transmitted onto a central system accessible through mobile phone. Farmers can also control the plants’ environment in real time if anything is out of place. For example, they can turn on the air-conditioning if it becomes too warm or they can engage the system to automatically dispense fertiliser if fertiliser concentration is too low. Farmers can also glean insights on crop data and patterns from the data collected to optimise their yield all year round.

Smart systems like these can also be used beyond hydroponics on any type of farming – it can be used to check on soil acidity and water level, for instance. One of the premises in the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute has installed and started running this system.

3. Smart traffic

In cities like Kuala Lumpur, people spend almost a whole hour being stuck in traffic in their daily commute, according to the TomTom Traffic Index. This may be set to change, however, with the introduction of smart traffic lights from TM ONE.

These traffic lights reduce waiting time at junctions, effectively reducing both traffic congestion and carbon emissions. They can also monitor traffic in real-time and collect data about road usage. This data can then help in future road-building and town-planning.

Sensors installed beneath roads, together with smart devices such as cameras, collect real time information which enable traffic lights to adapt their timings according to the volume of passing traffic. If the sensors identify that there are no cars, it will send data to the traffic light controllers, which will increase the amount of time for pedestrians to cross the road. The controllers will also adjust the time according to the demand of each lane – the longer the queue, the more time will be given to that particular lane. When a part of the system fails, it will automatically send a Telegram notification to maintenance teams. This smart system can also be upgraded to cater to other demands in the future, such as clearing road lanes for emergency vehicles.

TM ONE focuses on customer centricity in the implementation of these 10 solutions. “We find customers and work with them to test our solutions. That way, we can have two to three iterations of the product before it even hits the market,” said Azizi. The traditional business models required customers to mass purchase a smart device or a piece of infrastructure, which is costly. Now, customers can start with buying just one traffic light, or a hundred, making the barrier for upgrading to emerging technologies a lot lower for organisations.

In Malaysia’s journey to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, people have to develop the appropriate skillsets to keep up with the advancement of emerging technologies. Jeyasigan and Hj Ghazali Juhari, Head of Business Development at UMW Equipments shared their thoughts on how this can be done.

“Industries and departments have been working separately, but the needs of industries are different today,” Jeyasigan said. “It’s not just about studying IT or mechanical engineering,” added Hj Ghazali. “People need to have an interdisciplinary skillset.” Some universities have already introduced modules about data and information technology for students of all degrees and disciplines.

Future steps

Governments around the world have implemented various emerging technologies – and Malaysia will not be left behind. This is why the Malaysian government has budgeted RM 210 million (USD 5 million) from 2019 to 2021 to support the country’s shift to Industry 4.0 technologies.

The Malaysian government is armed and ready to make changes with a collaborative mindset. “As a global economy, Malaysia is a nation that heavily depends on trade, investment and services,” noted Jeyasigan. “We will never survive alone.” Internationalisation is one focus for Malaysia in their Industry4WRD plans.

Digitalisation is another priority. “Industry 4.0 is all about digitalisation,” according to Ahmad Fairuz Bin Mohamed Noor, Principal Assistant Director from the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA). The organisation has come on board to facilitate cybercrime awareness and protection in the country. Cyber technology is now the main enabler for every sector, according to Ahmad Fairuz. “It’s not limited to communication or information technology per se. Many services are highly dependent on digital technology,” he added. On top of cybersecurity boosts, 5G trials have already begun in several states in Malaysia beginning October 1, reports The Star.

TM ONE recently joined hands with Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry to support the Readiness Assessment (RA) initiative for Industry4WRD. This initiative, which started in July 2019, helps manufacturing companies understand how eligible they are for adopting emerging technologies. Assessors will also recommend strategies and areas of improvement for adopting Industry 4.0.

Malaysia is taking bold steps to propel its economy forward with the deployment of emerging technologies through Industry4WRD. Internationalisation and digitalisation are the country’s key focuses for building a resilient economy and future.

eKYC is Key to Unlocking Malaysia’s Digital Banking Revolution

September 05, 2019
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A study conducted by Mckinsey shows that there is a potential cost reduction of 90% in customer onboarding cost by enabling eKYC.

I’ve moderated and sat in a fair number of fintech panel discussions over the years, a question that is brought up 9 out of 10 in every discussion is “What do you think are the key technology shaping fintech and banking in Malaysia?” and some variation of that same question. 

If you’re like me who have attended too many fintech conferences, the answers will come as no surprise to you. The common answers are often; blockchain, artificial intelligence, open banking, virtual banking, and mobile payment.

Yet despite the importance of electronic Know Your Customer or eKYC and digital identity, very rarely you will hear any panellists in these conferences pointing out the impact of eKYC and digital identity in Malaysia’s banking and fintech ecosystem. 

study conducted by Mckinsey shows that there is a potential cost reduction of 90% in customer onboarding cost by enabling eKYC. The same study also indicated that digital identity could potentially enable 1.7 billion of the unbanked population to gain access to financial services. 

A separate study by Refinitiv further breaks down the cost of KYC, much of the cost is largely attributed to staffing costs, which supports the idea that digitising the KYC process could significantly reduce the cost of customer onboarding.

It is a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Bank Negara Malaysia, in 2017 the regulator issued the eKYC framework for remittance companies and subsequently in 2019, a similar draft was issued for money changers. 

Though there is development particularly within the Money Services Business (MSB) space, the regulator has not made any formal announcement on eKYC guidelines for the wider financial services sector. 

There have been some nuggets of information though, during the MyFintech Week earlier this year, BNM’s financial development and innovation department director Suhaimi Ali mentioned that there are currently 11 banks trialing eKYC solutions.

Suhaimi did not disclose further the nature of the trial nor the details of the provider but credit reporting agency CTOS who is also present at the event shared in a separate session that they are trialing their eKYC project with several banks and they are looking to enter Bank Negara Malaysia sandbox.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ghadaffi Mohd Tairobi, the Vertical Director for Banking, Financial Services & Insurance of TM ONE acknowledges that there are many benefits of Digital ID from a business perspective, as it will save time and money by reducing it to over the counter transactions, increasing productivity and enabling seamless and digital driven experiences for customers. He believes that eKYC then becomes an important process for the banks to perform customer on-boarding faster compared to traditional way of over the counter.

However, Ghadaffi’s key concern was on managing digital ID fraud. He said “This is why TM ONE eKYC solution is in compliant with Risk Management in Technology (RMiT) and Data Residency and Sovereignty requirements to assist the BFSI industry in the successful implementation of this initiative”.

Written by: Vincent Fong, Fintech News

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