So one of our key thing is that we believe that our biggest competitor are not the other banks, but the other big tech fins, the big tech players who are increasingly coming into the payment space, as well as the loan space that the bank are playing a big part in. We believe that we need to reimagine banking to make banking simple, seamless, as well as invisible to allow our customers to live more bank less. So we want to be remembered as the bank who wants you to live more of your life, but spend less time banking. So that is our new slogan, “ Live to more bank less.” To get there, clearly we have to be willing to re architect our technology; not just at the surface but also the guts of our technology, and to get into the cloud native architecture platform. This is something that we are putting a lot of effort into since a couple of years ago.

So we started our digital transformation journey more than four years ago, as we observed that the habits of a customer has moved increasingly to the digital channel the way our customer communicate, consumed, as well as commute, are moving to the digital channels. We believe that to be relevant, we need to move our products and services to the same channel as well. Our board has the view that the future for us, as well as for our industry has to be digital, and if we do not lead the charge in this respect, we actually will become irrelevant.

Siew Choo Soh, DBS.

Elsehwhere, she also has some good and interesting comments on…

IT culture:

“In banking, you don’t often get a clean slate like you would at some of the new tech companies,” says Soh. “To transform banking, you not only need to be equipped with the latest technology skills, you also need to transform the culture and skillsets of existing teams, and deal with legacy infrastructure.”

“That’s much more difficult. Once you can accomplish this, no other challenge will be beyond your capabilities. So if you’re looking for a challenging tech job that will help establish your career, then banking is a rewarding one.”

Japanese work culture:

After working for six years in Singapore in fixed income, FX and treasury as a developer, Soh moved to Japan to head the local equities technology team for J.P. Morgan. “That was the most educational part of my career because the culture there was so different. It helped to shape my focus on client service and attention to detail.”

“The Japanese take errors very seriously, even small rounding errors in transactions. For them it’s not about the materiality of dollars and cents; it’s about being right or wrong. The admission of mistakes to demonstrate learning is key in Japanese culture,” explains Soh.