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EXCLUSIVE! Data-First Modernisation to Supercharge Financial Institutions

Across the globe, the FSI sector is a key part of promoting economic growth and macroeconomic conditions that help people find jobs. Moreover, digital finance makes it possible to offer better banking and financial products and services for consumers and gives businesses new ways to get money, which improves financial inclusion.

With an effective framework, the full potential of technological innovation in the financial sector can be harnessed. This could create jobs and help achieve robust, steady work and long-term business growth. Thus, it behooves the financial sector to explore tech-enabled digitalisation and innovation.

Because digitalisation is being ubiquitously in the financial sector, there needs to be a discussion about modernisation, the regulatory environment and other ways to protect workers from any negative effects of digitalisation, such as privacy, cybersecurity and data protection.

As relevant, the pandemic revealed how important frontline work is and how important the sector is for the economy as a whole and for keeping businesses going. At the same time, it has sped up the automation of work processes and the change of business models and how work is organised.

As the transition to an increasingly digital world quickens, most consumer interactions will be provided via online channels, where it is more challenging to ascertain sentiment and interpret reactions.

Learning what works, addressing what is broken, and creating a digital customer experience with clarity and intention should be front of mind for every organisation around the world, regardless of whether they are on the front lines interacting with customers or behind the scenes focused on supporting technology.

The OpenGov’s Singapore Data-First Modernisation to Supercharge Financial Institutions on 28 October 2022, at InterContinental Singapore, aimed to help the nation’s financial institutions work on improving technology, customer experience (CE), employee experience (EX), data modernisation and fraud prevention.

Data-Driven Modernisation Boosts Customer Service

Mohit Sagar: Technologies to cope with new demands
Mohit Sagar: Customer experience will be driven by cutting-edge tech, particularly in the banking industry

Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-In-Chief, OpenGov Asia acknowledges that the current customer experience needs to go above and beyond earlier conventional approaches.

The current expectations have been permanently impacted by digital solutions deployed because of the pandemic; indeed, these expectations are continually evolving with evolving technology. “Each consumer-brand touchpoint must consider customer preferences and expectations.”

Client experiences are being driven and shaped by cutting-edge technologies, especially in the financial sector. There are many new ways to communicate with and gain feedback from customers, including augmented reality, voice assistants, cloud computing and more – and this list will keep growing.

Today’s businesses need to discover the most relevant and suitable digital tools for their sector and context if they want to deliver a great customer experience, foster brand loyalty and increase sales.

In addition, employees’ internal experience will determine how well a customer gets served by a company or an organisation. What it boils down to is that the satisfaction of employees and the experience a customer has depends on leaders’ ability to empathise, motivate and manage.

Hence, a positive customer experience is essential for an organisation’s success, and it starts with its first customers – the people who work there.

If a company or organisation values its employees or members and they are motivated and empowered, they in turn will value clients and will be committed to serving them. If a company does not care for its employees, customers will be dealt with by disengaged, unhappy workers and they will remember the interaction for those two reasons.

Innovation strategies differ from other business strategies due to the difficulties of anticipating the process, duration and impact. The utilisation of resources to achieve a company’s goals for innovation, value delivery, and competitive advantage is guided by an innovative strategy.

When IT leaders prioritise data management and all that comes with it, they are pursuing data-first modernisation. This enables them to advance more quickly than their rivals while keeping up with changing business requirements.

Data generates a competitive advantage, and in a world that is changing quickly, organisations must be quick to adapt and agile to develop new capabilities. To do that, it’s necessary to use cutting-edge technology and industrialise data and analytics to get insights that spur revenue growth and combat fraud.

The New Horizon: Data-First Transformation that Drives Financial Institutions

Joseph Yang: Once the foundations are set, the machine will be able to do its job

Implementing new hardware, software and services is not sufficient for a data-first transformation. Only until an organisation learns how to optimally gather and act on data and then use that data to create new processes, can true change arise.

According to Joseph Yang, Country Managing Director, Singapore, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the path to becoming a modern, data-first organisation can seem like a long one, but it can be broken down into smaller steps that are easier to understand and move you forward faster.

Reports cited that 83% of CEOs want their organisations to be more data-driven, but there are obstacles across strategy, people, process and technologies. Yet, despite massive investments in digital transformation, many organisations continue to slip behind, unable to keep up with the industry leaders.

On the other hand, leaders in their field or sector – the top 10 per cent of organisations driving tech innovation – gain two-to-three times the revenue growth of their peers. This digital transformation chasm is referred to as the “Digital Achievement Gap.”

Leaders recognise that data is the vital force required to activate next-generation operating and commercial models. For some, this entails delivering exceptional experiences spanning billions of moments. Others are concerned with accelerating decision velocity to combat organisational lethargy. And finally, many use data to predict the future and generate actionable insights.

“Customers have many questions regarding the key difficulties of digital transformation; one of which is how to accelerate digital transformation in a multi-generational IT ecosystem where data is everywhere – clouds, data centres, devices, and machines,” says Joseph.

Bridging the digital transformation chasm necessitates a new method and that data-first modernisation is the approach that addresses the key data concerns organisations face. Businesses need to address the obstacles to be able to use data profitably.

“Data-first modernisation must occur anywhere data resides – at the edge, in datacentres, in colocations, and in the cloud – using a uniform operating model. HPE is here to assist you in this endeavour.”

While the first wave of modernisation was the “infrastructure-first” one, the second wave is the “data-first modernisation” one that includes:

  • Adopting a data-centric mentality and philosophy;
  • Driving unified service delivery and unified experiences across a multi-cloud environment;
  • Speeding up decision velocity enterprise-wide via secure connectivity across the edge-to-cloud;
  • Having choice, flexibility, and control of your data assets.

HPE believes that there are 5 key data-first modernisation imperatives that enterprises must adopt:

  1. Data is a core asset that should control;
  2. Data is everywhere and must be accessible at digital speed from its native location – which changes over time as it grows;
  3. Data has rights and sovereignty ​ and must be governed and protected from continuous threats like ransomware and cybersecurity threats;
  4. Embrace a cloud everywhere model with the freedom to choose the right location for data and workloads – and industrialise the data supply chain;
  5. Data in multiple, disparate operating models must be unified. Hence, driving one integrated model delivers insights, business agility and outcomes.

HPE has its data science teams that work on modelling customers’ likelihood to buy, analysing their digital behaviour and using AI and machine learning to better predict and plan for their customers’ needs.

All of this is governed by strict data privacy and compliance rules where data is treated with the utmost care and protection. The company is also venturing into new areas to create new digital customer experiences through HPE’s My Account, which also uses AI/ML models.

Being data-first means that organisations are always thinking about how to combine hundreds of customer attributes to improve the customer experience with as few people as possible. “HPE is in a unique position to help you move data-first modernisation forward quickly.”

Fireside Chat: Always Go with More: New Financial Service Innovations

Sean Silverio: Data analytics has also assisted businesses in creating team collaboration tools that make prediction models more transparent

Sean Silverio, Head Decision Management, CIMB, believes that the cloud has enabled numerous firms to reinvent themselves. “Thus, the subsequent wave is driven by data, and we should be aware of the information that we are bringing into.”

Sean added that a few regions are already using machine learning (ML), while artificial intelligence (AI) on the other hand, is quite sensitive. “Perhaps because people fear what they don’t understand, so they should learn a little more about this.”

Utilising analytics and other digital infrastructure to reinvent business processes and risk models will undoubtedly offer value to the organisation.

A leader who is going to transform themselves must be persistent in their pursuit of the truth and must have the flexibility to turn as necessary and take new opportunities. To accomplish this, organisations must develop a modern data strategy.

In addition, risk management using data analytics is changing the game in every field. Through this integration, organisations learn more about where risks might come from and how to handle them.

Data analytics is revolutionising industries and transforming risk management. However, there are a variety of aspects that must be considered, as well as their potential future effects on the firm. This includes regulatory, legacy systems, and process optimisation.

In the past 10 years, risk management has changed from the traditional way of avoiding loss to a more risk-reward approach.

Sean highlighted that they are still coming up with strategies to reduce risk, and then they realise that these same strategies can be used to maximise profits or at least minimise costs.

Furthermore, businesses and organisations can focus on customers and product development with predictive models as automating model generation lets them get better software and more accurate projections. Data analytics has also helped organisations to develop team collaboration tools to make predictive models clearer.

With the rise of cybersecurity concerns, businesses are turning to data analytics. “Almost all significant companies utilise data analytics to combat cyberattacks,” says Sean.

Data analytics allows security experts to generate predictions using millions of citizens’ data. Organisations utilise these forecasts to detect and fix vulnerabilities. This prevents data breaches that could compromise their security.

Data analytics also helps redefine the customer experience by meeting or exceeding their expectations. Any decline in service or product quality suggests something must be done to please customers.

Technology as a business strategy can typically be divided into three main categories: protection, enhancement and innovation, depending on the nature of the firm. There are what seems like an infinite number of products and solutions on the market because of the technology’s quick development.

An organisation can make technology decisions from a wider viewpoint when it has adopted technology as a business strategy. They can search for solutions that simultaneously address several needs since they have data to guide their judgments. Organisations can also benefit from a platform’s enhanced capabilities and create customised solutions with enough time to iterate.

Other benefits of incorporating technology into company strategy include increased productivity inside organisations, improved teamwork, setting long-term goals and objectives and increased security.

Fireside Chat: The Importance of ‘People’ Despite the World of Digitisation

Kripa Patel: One of the most pressing concerns for any leader is the capacity to attract and retain excellent people

Kripa Patel, Head of Trust, Data and Resilience Global Outreach, Standard Chartered Bank observes that as technologies progress at an astounding rate, digital transformation, too, is moving businesses forward rapidly. A workforce with relevant knowledge and digital talent will drive success and capitalise on these advances to acquire a competitive advantage.

The ability to attract and retain exceptional employees is one of the most pressing challenges for any leader. The challenge of how to find, keep and develop the best personnel is also the one that most organisations feel least prepared to handle.

It can be hard to get the right people to work for your business. With the number of remote jobs and flexible schedules going up, candidates are looking for incentives and new ideas.

It’s important to explain the “why” behind a vision to attract customers, but it’s also a built-in way to screen people before hiring them. With this, people who share the same values and business goals will be more likely to apply for open jobs. It’s also important to build an employer brand.

“A positive workplace culture will help you keep your staff and attract new talent,” says Kripa.

Everyone should be able to contribute to the corporate experience and accountability should be uniform across all levels. The larger team can co-create and market the culture to potential new employees through these kinds of interactions.

Kripa added that employee motivation is likely to deteriorate without respect and dedication and innovation are likely to suffer as well. Employee effort and commitment will increase if their input is recognised and considered in business decisions. “As a result, the company will be more attractive to prospective hires who will feel appreciated thanks to this strong morale.”

Some businesses might not be able to match the precise perks and advantages of their bigger competitors, but they can still compete by ingeniously offering some attractive incentives and rewards.

Of course, an unconscious bias is a possibility since the initial choice between successful and failed candidates is made using human judgement. But the choice to select someone based on personal attributes is greatly diminished if technology is used in the hiring process to initially “blind-screen” applicants.

An interviewer’s perception of a candidate will no longer affect their chances of landing a job. Instead, hiring technologies will be used to consider all potential job applicants whose qualifications are in line with the job specifications.

Employee demands and expectations are rapidly changing along with the workplace itself. Lavish offices and corporate happy hours are unlikely to be effective in the work-from-anywhere era. Instead, how content and at-ease people are with office technology determines how satisfying their daily experiences are.

Virtually every encounter employees have is powered by digital tools, from checking up with coworkers to working with outside partners.

Because of this development, cloud-based technologies are already commonplace in the modern workplace. The prevalence of remote work has caused executives to give cloud-based solutions that are accessible from anywhere.

More and more tools that workers rely on every day are hosted in the cloud as cloud technology continues to spread. While facilitating communication and collaboration, cloud-based technology also promotes additional gains in worker productivity.

Power Talk: Modernising Data in Financial Institutions in the Future: What Must You Anticipate to Stay Competitive?

Luis C Cruz: The cloud gives enhanced flexibility and agility for a seamless user experience

Because of technology, the entire financial services sector has experienced a dramatic change. Clients prefer mobile banking and real-time transactions, as well as cyber security, is now necessary.

Luis C Cruz, Head of Technology Infrastructure and Automation ADA Platform, Big Data and Analytics, DBS Bank Ltd opines that the process starts with data collecting and ends with data testing. “It generally explains to the AI being completely reliant on data at various levels of development.”

Luis believes that human statistics are defined on two or three-dimensional planes. Machines, unlike humans, can construct patterns from higher dimensions and generate more predictions from the patterns -this comes with machine learning.

If data is the fuel for AI, then knowing when to add fuel is just as crucial for keeping the fire going. The most complex difficulty, though, is trust in the partners and the process.

The cloud gives the enhanced flexibility and agility required to stay up with clients who want a seamless user experience – whether it’s the speed with which crucial banking information can be accessed or the quality of customer support.

Agoston Sipos: Understanding customers is the ultimate purpose of customer experience analytics

Agoston Sipos, Vice President AI Lab Group Data Office, OCBC Bank explains that the goal of predictive analytics is to figure out what will happen in the future based on what has already happened. Understanding the customers’ wants, needs, perspectives and experiences with products and services is the ultimate purpose of customer experience analytics, which entails gathering and analysing customer data.

It can help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty by guiding their internal teams to address the issues that are causing customers to feel dissatisfied or lukewarm about their business.

“We pay attention to what our customers want and try to give them extra services to keep them coming back,” says Agoston.

According to Tan Siew Chiun, Head, Digital Platforms, Singlife with Aviva, the first step in removing the barriers that can arise between the business and its customers is to develop a data and analytics strategy. “When your data suggests the best course of action, you can confidently meet your client’s expectations, be there when they need you and offer them seamless support.”

Tan Siew Chiun: Good data governance ensures data is consistent, reliable and not used wrongly

When it comes to customer service, knowing what to do is just as important as being polite. Support is about solving problems in an effective and caring way, which comes from having a deep understanding of the product.

Maintaining a steady balance between data use and the many platforms they employ is also crucial.

“So, good data governance makes sure that data is consistent, reliable and not used wrongly. It’s becoming more important as organisations face new rules about data privacy and use data analytics more and more to improve operations and make business decisions,” Siew Chiun asserts.

Part of the digital transformation journey is making use of and making the most of data in different industries. Thus, organisations should also improve their data collaboration with other parties.

The Country Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Joseph emphasises that data intelligence, which facilitates the processing of multisource data and offers useful insights, may be used to make better decisions. “It enables predictive analytics by merging unstructured data and text analytics results with structured data.”

Joseph Yang: Data analysis can supply the knowledge needed to run an organisation

Data analysis will supply the knowledge needed to run the organisation, such as what course of action is required and whether the strategies were successful. “To accomplish this, you must have the appropriate data; ensure that you collect relevant, accurate, and full information.”

Risk management is a complicated procedure. Understanding the complete range of risks that may arise and how to manage them is frequently the most difficult problem for organisations.

The use of data, AI, and ML can assist businesses in determining which problems are likely to develop in most business activities, allowing them to generate solutions in advance. A data-driven approach can also help organisations stay on the same page when it comes to business risks.

“This will aid in the prevention of fraud and other forms of harm to the businesses. Improving the customer experience also requires making use of data,” Joseph concludes.

Closing Remarks

Mohit pointed out that data is very useful when it is applied to its full potential. “By using all the data, it has, an organisation can give itself a clear competitive edge.”

When the organisation stores and regularly access relevant information, it will save time and money and make much better decisions.

He believes that people, processes and technology all need to be changed for real, long-lasting digital transformation to happen; and leaders must make brave decisions for digital transformation to go well.

Data insights are the deep understanding of a problem that a person or group gets from analysing information about that problem. “This in-depth knowledge helps organisations make better choices than if they just went with their gut.”



Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.