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President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo said that The G20 and advanced economies must work together to create a more resilient and responsive global health architecture to face future threats and pandemics. International Monetary Fund should be tasked to mobilise resources to revitalise global health architecture through technologies. This should include a global contingency fund for medical supplies, building capacity in developing countries to manufacture vaccines and the creation of global health protocols and standards.

Indonesia invited all global business leaders to contribute their ideas to the G20’s three key goals for 2022: creating a more resilient global health system; optimising digital technology to support societal transformation; and driving a fair and affordable transition to clean energy and a circular economy. The benefits must be felt by wider society.

Six of Indonesia’s sectors are wide open for foreign investment – export-oriented labour-intensive industries (including health), renewable energy, infrastructure, automotive (especially electric vehicles), tourism and value-added mining.

Developing countries need technology transfer and financial support from advanced economies to ensure the transition does not burden their citizens. Indonesia needs $50 billion for its renewable power sector and a further $37 billion for forestry, land use and marine sectors. Concrete outcomes can only be achieved through strong cooperation. Technology and financing will be key.

To finance the green transition, the President has initiated a carbon trading system that will deliver results-based payments for actions that reduce carbon emissions as well as a carbon tax on coal-fired power plants, due to start in April. The government also plans to raise capital by issuing environmental and social bonds, and through REDD+ projects that reduce deforestation and promote sustainable forest management.

Through its G20 Presidency in 2022, Indonesia is honoured to have the responsibility to chair the first Digital Economy Working Group. The elevation of the Digital Economy Task Force to the Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) in which platform provides greater credence and allows more comprehensive discussion on cross-cutting digital issues under G20,” said the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communications and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Chair of DEWG.

Taking into consideration the strategic, dynamic, and multi-dimensional nature of the digital economy, Indonesia’s Presidency raises 3 (three) priority issues that will be conferred in the DEWG, namely:

  1. Post COVID-19 Recovery and Connectivity;
  2. Digital Skills and Digital Literacy; and
  3.  Cross-Border Data Flow and Data Free Flow with Trust.

Through these three priority issues, Indonesia is seeking to bring forth a substantive and concrete discussion to the G20 table. The DEWG is expected to explore prospective solutions for the global and cross-sectoral digital economy challenges that are apparent in various countries. In some parts of the world, rapid innovation of digital technology has led to unprecedented challenges that we have never encountered before. The issue of the complex interplay between stakeholders in the digital landscape and the level of the playing field should be discussed and faced together.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate encourages everyone to continue to improve their quality of life in line with the projected number and types of new jobs due to technology adoption. It is projected that there will be 85 million old jobs that may be lost and 97 million new jobs that may appear, this is due to the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. The new jobs require a high level of digital skills and soft skills.

A report shows that in 2025 there will be 43% of industry players who reduce or reduce the number of workers as a consequence of the application of technology integration. Increasing digital skills and soft skills in line with technological developments for the workforce, especially the younger generation of Indonesia, can be done through upskilling and reskilling.

The proliferation of public WiFi hotspots in rural and urban areas will lead to increased employment for micro and small entrepreneurs by providing them with additional sources of income, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) Secretary, K Rajaraman, recently stated. He was speaking at the 3rd WiFi India Virtual Summit 2022, organised by the BroadBand India Forum. Rajaraman said that telecom and Internet service providers would also benefit from the sale of Internet recharge vouchers to public data offices.

Developments under the scheme have been steady with already more than 56,000 access points deployed and there is still scope to further develop the WiFi ecosystem in the country. By a conservative estimate of each hotspot enabling 2-3 direct and indirect employment opportunities, the creation of ten million hotspots would potentially generate 20-30 million job opportunities in the small and medium scale sectors. Setting up these hotspots is in line with NDCP (National Digital Communications Policy) targets for 2022.

According to a news report by The Indian Express, in December 2020, the Union Cabinet had, in a bid to improve wireless Internet connectivity across the country, approved the setting up of public WiFi networks across the country. WiFi is provided through public data offices (PDOs) for which are no licence, registration, or any other fees are required. The scheme, the Prime Minister WiFi Access Network Interface (PM- WANI), envisaged the setting up of PDOs and PDO aggregators that look after the authorisation and accounting of PDOs. The idea of a PDO was first floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in 2017. Six months later, it set up the initial pilot project for PDOs, in which private tech giants, as well as the government’s Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) had participated.

Like a PCO, the PDO allows users to connect to a public WiFi system for a limited session depending on the Internet pack chosen by the user. These internet packages can either be charged per minute or per hour by the PDOs. In the 2018 test model, Trai wanted users to be able to buy “sachet-sized” Internet plans, which varied between IN₹2 (US$0.027) and IN₹20 (US$0.27) and can be used anytime.

Recently, Trai announced that there will not be any safety issues to an aircraft flying over India due to the upcoming 5G mobile services. It emphasised that the new-age technology is safe for planes in the country. Recently, several flights to the US were cancelled or rescheduled as airlines feared that the 5G phone service could pose a risk to aircraft instruments. Assuring that 5G services won’t be a problem for planes in India, an official told reporters that prima facie, there are no problems for the aviation industry within India over 5G spectrum rollout.” The auctions for 5G spectrum in India are expected to happen later this year, following which the rollout will happen over the next two years.

To boost the agriculture sector, experts believe small-scale farmers should adopt affordable technology-driven agriculture initiatives while the government speeds up investment in smart agricultural transformation (SAT). According to Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Research Fellow Roehlano Briones, smart agriculture covers a wide range of technologies, some of which could be handled by small farmers. Setting up a sensor that will communicate with farmers’ mobile phones is a start, he said during a recent Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) event.

The APO is an intergovernmental organisation established to increase productivity in the Asia-Pacific region through cooperation. As per a news release, Briones particularly cited the case where the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) collaborated to develop the Rice Crop Manager (RCM), a technology that provides real-time scientific advice to farmers. Briones also suggested that some farmers collaborate on a smarter management system offered by a service provider that makes use of drones and other automated scientific systems for pest control. Instead of one farmer availing of the service, it could be a group of farmers in a contiguous area. They would agree to share and subscribe to the service. They would collect the payment and the service provider would help the group by organising a cooperative, he explained.

“There are solutions like these, or aspects of smart agricultural technologies and I am optimistic that we will see more and more of these in the years to come,” he added. These technologies may not require large-scale investment. It could be as simple as an upgraded mobile phone that can run an app for sensor-based analysis. This could be done at the level of individual farmers. However, he claimed that they “need to be convinced”.  To accelerate SAT in APO member countries, governments must continue investing not just in sophisticated technologies but also in basic agricultural tools. These include conventional rural infrastructure and research and development.

The better the logistics, the more sense it makes for farmers to adopt e-commerce. Equally important is research and development in, for example, an extension system to be able to deliver new products and services to farmers. Briones underscored the importance of investments in human resources in the rural workforce, and in digital literacy and openness to new techniques. “That is ultimately the key towards smart agricultural transformation,” he stated.

Last month, 11 units of smart greenhouses were set up in the Jaro District, which will provide an all-year-round supply of high-value crops to ease the fear of food shortage amid the pandemic. The smart greenhouses are expected to be completed at the Department of Agriculture -Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Centre (DA-WESVIARC) during the first quarter of 2022. The information technology-based or smart greenhouses are funded by the Korean government through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The project costs PHP5.5 million (US$107,296) with each unit priced at PHP500,000 (US$9,754). An official stated that the technology is not the same as hydroponics. It is more high-tech. The facility needs no manual operation as it is computerised. The computer determines the temperature and nutritional needs of the plants grown in it.

A data centre company has revealed it’s building a second new centre in Auckland, which it expects will help boost the economy by a total of $1.4 billion. The company is already constructing its first New Zealand cloud data centre in the northwest of Auckland.

It is now planning to develop a five-hectare site in north Auckland into Aotearoa’s biggest data centre and has hailed the new site as a significant milestone for the company. The CEO for the Australia and New Zealand branch of the firm stated that the company had committed to a major investment programme in the country thanks to the increasing use of cloud computing services here.

The two data centres will be “purpose-built, secure, environmentally-friendly” and designed specifically for the New Zealand market. These two investments will collectively bring over $600 million to the Auckland region, with a combined economic value exceeding $1.4 billion over the life of the projects.

Each data centre will create more than 150 jobs during construction and approximately 250 ongoing skilled information technology and telecommunications jobs once the sites are operational.

The company has said it has taken a “highly consultative approach” to the building of the Auckland data centres. It has engaged with both government and industry stakeholders to design a data centre ready for an accelerated digital agenda, one that enables the use of cloud technology to drive innovation, improve productivity, and enhance security to better protect data and information for all New Zealand organisations.

That has included using a local construction company. The intention is for both data centres to be run with 100 per cent renewable sources, and to set industry-leading benchmarks for water and energy efficiency.

The first data centre is already fully leased and will be ready for service early next year, DCI said. Construction of the new centre is scheduled to commence in mid-2022. In the last couple of years technology giants, Microsoft and Amazon have both unveiled plans for massive data centres in Aotearoa.

Meanwhile, a US-based tech giant revealed it was going to build a $100 million data centre in 2020. And in September 2021 a world-leading e-commerce platform confirmed it will open a new Cloud Region in New Zealand in 2024. The company says it will invest around NZ$7.5 billion into the country over the next 15 years and create 1000 jobs.

The global data centre market was valued at $187.35 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $517.17 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 10.5% from 2021 to 2030.

Physical data centre facilities in an enterprise are designed to share IT operations and equipment to store, process, and disseminate data and applications. Further, data centres are based on a network of computer applications and storage solutions intended to share information and data.

The shift in traditional on-premises physical servers to virtual network-based data centres – a result of the advancement in multi-cloud computing – is driving the growth of data centres globally. The modern data centre in an enterprise can communicate with multiple sites, both cloud computing and on-premises.

The data centre market is expected to witness notable growth during the forecast period, owing to the rise in data centre complexities due to scalability. Furthermore, the rise in penetration of high-end cloud computing in enterprises, globally in developing economies drives the growth of the data centre market during the forecast period. Moreover, an increase in the investment in a data centre application globally is expected to propel market growth.

However, the rise in concerns related to data privacy paired with the growing demand for managed services is expected to restrain the market growth. Further, an increase in penetration of the Internet of Things and hybrid & multi-cloud architecture solutions is expected to provide a lucrative opportunity for the growth of the data centre market during the forecast period.

The Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate encourages everyone to continue to improve their quality of life in line with the projected number and types of new jobs due to technology adoption. It is projected that there will be 85 million old jobs that may be lost and 97 million new jobs that may appear, this is due to the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. The new jobs require a high level of digital skills and soft skills.

A report shows that in 2025 there will be 43% of industry players who reduce or reduce the number of workers as a consequence of the application of technology integration. Increasing digital skills and soft skills in line with technological developments for the workforce, especially the younger generation of Indonesia, can be done through upskilling and reskilling.

New types of jobs that are emerging and in increasing demand include data analyst and scientist, big data specialist, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning specialist, digital marketing and strategy specialist. Other types of work that will develop are renewable energy engineers, process automation specialists, Internet of Things (IoT) specialists, digital transformation specialists, business services and administration managers; and business development professionals.

– Johnny G. Plate, Minister of Communications and Informatics

The government will continue to encourage the private sectors in Indonesia from various fields to fulfil human resource needs that are in line with future needs. Therefore, the government certainly welcomes private sector initiatives in developing human resources.

The government under the leadership of President Joko Widodo for the 2019-2024 period has five important points, one of which is human resource development. Besides human resource development, the government also accelerates and continues infrastructure development, invites the widest possible investment to create jobs, reforms the bureaucracy.

Amid demands for improving the quality of human resources and talent management, the focus of human resource development is also directed at increasing the nation’s competitiveness. A great nation is a nation that has strong and great human resources.

Specifically, in improving superior human resources, the government continues to strengthen investment in education, among others through the expansion of scholarship programs, adoption of information and communication technology, cultural advancement, strengthening of world-class universities, as well as research and innovation development.

In addition, the Government has also carried out massive infrastructure development, especially in the first period of President Joko Widodo’s leadership. According to the Minister of Communication and Informatics, entering the current era of digital transformation, the development of digital infrastructure has been and is being accelerated by the Government and its partners and needs to be balanced with improving the quality of human resources.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, in the measurement of the Indonesia Digital Literacy Index 2021, Digital Culture has the highest score. The pillar of Digital Culture was recorded with a score of 3.90 on a scale of 5 or good. Furthermore, the pillars of Digital Ethics (digital ethics) with a score of 3.53 and Digital Skills with a score of 3.44. Meanwhile, the Digital Safety pillar got the lowest score (3.10) or slightly above average. The measurement of this digital literacy index is not only to find out the status of digital literacy in Indonesia but also to ensure that efforts to increase people’s digital literacy are more targeted.

The four pillars that form the Digital Literacy Index are measured annually by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics. This year the Indonesian Digital Literacy Index is at a score of 3.49 or at a moderate and close to a good stage. The use of the four pillars in this measurement refers to the 2020-2024 Indonesia Digital Literacy Roadmap compiled by the Ministry of Communication and Information, based on previous national research and refers to similar measurements held by UNESCO.

China’s civil aviation industry will grow smarter with the help of new-generation digital technologies, per a roadmap issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Solid digital transformation progress should be made by 2025, with the efficiency of security checks rising 30% from 2020, according to the roadmap. More than 90% of airport trips will see paperless services, and luggage transfers between airports will be facilitated by 2025.

By 2030, key breakthroughs will be made in intelligent applications. Domestic airports will fully support the whole process of facial recognition services, and some cities and surrounding villages will form an unmanned aircraft logistics distribution network to enhance the efficiency of logistics and lower delivery costs in rural areas. By the end of 2021, 66 airports nationwide were capable of providing facial recognition services, according to CAAC data.

A total of 234 airports were capable of providing passengers with paperless journeys by introducing e-boarding and e-security checks, allowing passengers to travel with only their identification cards and eliminating the need for conventional paper boarding tickets. By the end of 2021, 842 aircraft in China’s civil aviation fleet were capable of providing inflight Wi-Fi services.

The booming digitalisation trend is driving China’s endeavour of building a smart civil aviation industry to boost sustainable development. To give full play to digital technologies, civil aviation authorities will integrate the “smart” concept and technologies into industry growth. The move to create smart civil aviation is expected to provide new room for industry development and drive high-quality and high-efficiency growth of this sector, with digitalisation as the key driving force.

The aviation industry generates and processes massive amounts of data along its long industrial chain, making it naturally more adaptive to the wave of digitization. The application of digital technologies is of great importance to ensuring safety, efficiency and sustainable growth.

The CAAC is committed to making the entire industry smart by integrating new-generation digital technologies into the whole industry — from air travel, air logistics and customs clearance, to the industry’s operation and supervision, according to the CAAC’s smart aviation strategy. The CAAC is actively promoting the radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in luggage tracking, automatic luggage check-in, facial recognition, and intelligent inquiry services, among others.

The CAAC is also encouraging innovation in related technologies and drafting tech roadmaps in fields such as in-flight internet surfing on commercial aeroplanes. air passengers’ in-flight internet surfing experience will be greatly enhanced, from previous cabin local networks to broadband connectivity with much higher speed.

The CAAC’s strategy in building a smart civil aviation industry is expected to boost the sector’s further recovery from the COVID-19 impact, and open new space for industry players. Digital technologies will greatly boost the profitability and market performance of airlines, by saving fuel and personnel, cutting operation and maintenance costs, and enhancing safety and passenger experience.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China is looking to gain a competitive edge in the transportation sector during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) amid a larger drive to foster green, smart and high-quality development over the long run. There are imbalances and inadequacies in the development of comprehensive transportation, hence it is urgent to promote high-quality transportation development.

By 2025, the comprehensive transportation system will witness integrated development, substantial strides in green and smart development, an improved facility network and more effective transportation services. More than 95% of cities with a population of over 500,000 will be covered by the high-speed railway network, with trains having maximum speeds of 250 kilometres per hour and faster. By 2035, a convenient, cost-effective, green, smart, advanced and reliable modern national comprehensive transportation network will be completed.

Under the partnership with a tech company, The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central will set up its first AI training facility, equipped with a supercomputing platform that is used for the development of AI applications. Close to 400 ITE students will be trained to apply and integrate AI systems. Students will work with companies to develop AI solutions to address business needs. This will provide ITE students with “a suite of AI capabilities.

Students will be exposed to skillsets in computer vision, pattern recognition and data analytics, and trained to support AI applications in predictive maintenance, industrial inspection and video analytics. They will be equipped with industry experience in implementing AI systems, which are crucial to Singapore’s goal of transforming its economy with technology by 2030.

– Chan Chun Sing, Minister of Education

The partnership is expected to benefit up to about 2,000 students in the next three years. Under the AI Workforce Readiness Programme, these students will meet the growing demand for skilled workers to adopt AI systems. A wide spectrum of skill sets and job roles are necessary to achieve Singapore’s national AI strategy, which “cannot be fulfilled by a single pipeline of university graduates.

These range from “tech-heavy roles” focused on more complex functions and innovation to jobs that operate AI, such as digital marketing executives, where skills such as data analytics are important. There is a growing range of job roles required to deploy and integrate AI systems. Examples include business analysts and AI translators, user experience designers, quality assurance managers and marketing analysts.

Students under the programme can add value to ITE’s local industry partners in sectors such as engineering, logistics, retail and manufacturing – industries well-placed for AI adoption. Under the agreement, ITE will also launch its first AI training facility equipped with the tech company’s supercomputing platform by the first quarter of this year. The computing platform will help to enable the fast development, deployment and enhancement of AI models for innovations such as driverless cars and cyber security.

The institute is looking to help more than 4,500 companies offering internships to ITE students and another 450 companies taking on ITE trainees to tap AI-enabled solutions from the company’s network of local start-ups. Students under the programme will be involved in the development process and apply their AI skills in a real-world context, while staff at these companies will be trained to manage these AI applications.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Students at Temasek Polytechnic are using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to have virtual field trips. Aspiring aerospace engineers can hone their practical skills by getting up close and personal with virtual plane engines. The pandemic has challenged polytechnics to find new ways of providing practical skills. They have responded by adopting new tech tools for immersive learning, like using VR to give aerospace engineering students a hands-on experience.

Students can use VR to take part in virtual field trips, enabling them to have up-close experiences with training equipment. For example, aerospace engineering students can use the technology to perform maintenance on the aircraft landing gear and fuel systems. They also learn how to start an engine from the rest using VR. The tool can be useful for students who need access to training equipment that is expensive or unavailable.

Educational institutions are not letting the pandemic get in the way of developing hands-on skills. VR technology is enabling students to get up close and personal with training equipment, while lecturers learn how to support students in real-time with data analytics.

Today, financial institutions have the ability to gather, store, aggregate and analyse a broader variety of client data, ranging from their current or former location to consumer behaviours and preferences, which has been enhanced as a result of technological advancements. This, in turn, enables organisations to build, optimise and secure digital interactions from frontend to backend, across the full technology stack.

The most accurate way to enhance customer experience is the use of insights from data. By harnessing data-driven insights, banks can deliver on their core promises: to listen to customers, create a service that benefits them and offer that service in a personalised way.

In this scenario, data becomes one of the most valuable assets in digital banking and key financial system designs must incorporate a frictionless process layer so that banks can deliver better digital customer experiences.

Thailand has put in significant efforts in digitalising the financial and economic sectors. Currently, the nation is leading the world for mobile banking and financial services apps. It also ranks in the top five countries for e-commerce adoption, mobile payment, mobile commerce and QR code usage.

Embracing digital transformation as a strategic goal is the need of the hour for banks operating in Thailand to compete with larger incumbents. This can be accomplished by combining the various data silos that exist on-premise, in hybrid cloud environments, or multi-cloud environments and distilling these data into actionable insights to guide executive decisions.

Over the last few years, the cloud has enabled scalability in the finance industry, delivering agility. Financial institutions can acquire and analyse varied types of data at incredible speeds, eliminate content silos, safeguard data across the bank and develop enduring relationships with clients thanks to the greater flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions over on-premises systems.

To provide a customised, customer-centric experience, financial institutions must use data, analytics, technology, and automation effectively. The new ‘Data-to-Everything’ approach is required to manage these technical and organisational challenges. Financial institutions must embrace this because it benefits business, IT, and security teams by collecting real-time data from all sources, applying analytics and intelligence, and triggering automated actions that reduce business risks, improve security, provide collaboration, accelerate decision making, improve the customer experience and generates more business opportunities.

A digital-first, cloud-first and customer-first strategy is the future. Any digital banking strategy must be supported by a strong data strategy. To drive a high-level digital transformation, financial institutions must leverage insights to inform decision-making, operations, and customer experience components.

The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 21 January 2022 aimed to provide the latest information on delivering an effective and efficient customer experience, and how financial institutions must leverage data-driven insights to inform decision-making, operations, and customer experience components.

Accelerating a digital strategy to provide a transformative financial experience

Mohit Sagar: The changing demands of digital customer experience

Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.

Mohit contends that technology is being in all spheres of life at a faster pace than ever before. Digital transformation is the ‘latest buzz word’ used by everyone across the world in every imaginable area and sector. Retail, financial, and public sectors have been rapidly rolling out new IT, tech software and solutions to survive and thrive in the digital age.

No doubt, the COVID-19 outbreak was a key factor in shifting the banking business landscape. In an article he wrote recently, Mohit says there is more pressure on the financial sector in Thailand to be digitally ready to meet demand and customer needs, to have a robust infrastructure in place and a strong data strategy.

In light of the pandemic and the new normal, Mohit asserts that there is a pressing need to accelerate digital strategies. With remote working models in place, people have grown accustomed to accessing information at any time, on any platform and with any device. The retail industry took the lead in embracing personalisation and transformed itself in a variety of ways, including accessibility, options, ease of doing business and security.

“Customer experiences have changed,” Mohit claims. “There is a steep rise in expectations for personalised and seamless services. If an organisation or agency does not meet these, they will explore other options.”

This means that organisations need to create new cloud and data strategies and innovate in every aspect. To successfully and efficiently do this, he emphasised the importance of partnership to leverage data and cloud computing in an organisation. By partnering with the right people, a company can accelerate its digital journey towards digital transformation.

Multi-cloud solutions in powering financial services

Dan Brassington: Tomorrow’s Bank Today: Rethink, Reset, Regain Your Technology & Data Strategies

Dan Brassington, Chief Technical Advisor, APAC, Splunk spoke next on adapting and tweaking strategies to meet client needs and expectations. “Every organisation needs to be a digital organisation, powered by data, running in a multi-cloud world,” he firmly believes.

To have a competitive advantage, organisations need to consider how to leverage data and operationalise security across hybrid and multi-cloud environments – to build, detect, validate, contextualise and prioritise alerts, as well as reduce time to detect, streamline investigations to respond rapidly.

While charting the roadmap might seem easy in theory, the reality of digital transformation is that it is hard, complex and the journey is long. It is as much about working on processes and people as it is about the technology, Dan emphasised. On this journey of digital transformation, “there is no end state but a future state,” Dan opines.

Regardless of where organisations are on the path to digital transformation, the general trend is that they are applying technology across the business in new and broader ways. Whether organisations are attempting to control costs, open new revenue streams, make their workers and internal processes more efficient or build that “Next Great Thing,” the business objectives that they are trying to use technology to solve for are closer to the centre of their core business than ever before. In some cases, it may even be redefining the organisation’s identity.

On customer experience, Dan believes that customers expect organisations to understand their behaviour, their likes and dislikes and to move at their speed – if an institution is not able to do so, customers will find someone who can. Maintaining a competitive advantage is, therefore, imperative.

Image by Dan Brassington

COVID-19 has driven 4 fundamental shifts, Dan observes. The first is the forced adoption of online, mobile call centre channels. That is followed by the arrival at a tipping point for digital and contactless payments, the overnight visualisation of the workforce and ways of working and the evolution of underlying market structure and economics.

The fact of the matter is that all the innovation and transformation is so that businesses can meet their customers’ expectations and provide smooth experiences in a bid to maintain their competitive advantage. Data is central to powering the experience of digital channels in ways that organisations need to look into.

To stay ahead of the curve, organisations must harness insights derived from data and the software that drives the digital experience. The ability to deliver data-driven digital services faster and cheaper is the key.

Beyond a doubt, the future is digital and digitalisation must take place across the entire value chain and the new environment. For instance, financial institutions cannot simply provide a mobile application per se – the provision of that service must come with the ability to provide streamlined processes of accessing services, such as approving home loans in 24 hours and providing quick financial services.

It is important to bear in mind that the hybrid and remote workforce is the future, Dan is convinced. This requires people, operations, and culture to be reimagined. And in this rapidly changing and demanding environment, innovative approaches must also be created for organisations to tackle inherent cyber risks and compliance risks.

Another important aspect of the digitalisation journey is the building of a cloud strategy. “Cloud is not a place but an operating model,” Dan highlights.

In conclusion, modern technologies will transform the future of business and data will fuel it. Data is the competitive advantage that businesses need to build to properly understand their customers and business. Businesses must evolve. Concluding his presentation, Dan shared 5 areas that are pressing for organisations to consider:

  • Enable business model transformation and think differently about how businesses are run
  • Identify industry changes early
  • Optimise Resource Allocation
  • Access, automate and accelerate data usage across the whole organisation
  • Build a strong data-driven foundation for businesses

Using data-driven insights to accelerate businesses

Johnson Poh: Essentials of big data analytics in financial institutions

Johnson Poh, Head Enterprise AI and Data, UOB Singapore, elaborated on the fundamental concepts of data analytics, as well as how financial institutions can enhance their business value and operational efficiency.

“What is the buzz surrounding AI, big data analytics and graph analytics?” Johnson asks.

But before the questions can be answered, the context and terms need to be unpacked. Breaking down the various related concepts, Johnson articulates the technologies underpinning data science.

  • AI is a broad concept that relates to any technique that enables the machine to mimic human behaviour – it is about building smart machines to facilitate human efforts.
  • Big data analytics pertains to the use of qualitative and quantitative methods and computing tools to derive insights from large volumes of data from a variety of sources at high velocity. It is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on advanced implementations for predictive and prescriptive analysis, comprising techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Graph analysis.
  • Machine Learning refers to a suite of AI techniques that allows computers to learn from data without being explicitly programmed to do so.
  • Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning and refers to more advanced algorithms based on multi-layered artificial neural networks.
Image by Johnson Poh

According to studies, big data can generate revenue on annual basis and enhance efficiency. Mckinsey estimates that big data analytics can create between US$ 4 to US$ 6 trillion in value annually, while another source reveals that banks can expect potential savings between 20% to 25% using big data analytics.

In the context of financial institutions, Johnson provided examples of how big data analytics can transform the banking and financial industry with impact – Anti Money Laundering (AML) management and fraud detection, recommender systems, customer 360 view and cybersecurity.

On Anti-Money Laundering management and fraud detection, he shared that big data analytics allows banks to sift out the underlying transactions and the relationships of fraudulent entities by mapping accounts and fund flows. By leveraging big data, the human task of investigating fraudulent transactions can be streamlined by prioritising the transactions that matter.

Another application of big data analytics includes recommender systems. It can also empower sales teams and analysts to have a comprehensive and unified view of customers and their journey map. With a fuller view of the customer journey, financial institutions can offer personalised and targeted services by analysing the preferences and profiles of customers. By offering a customer 360 view, the technology allows institutions to leverage linkages and relationships and to make connections that can inform operational decisions.

In terms of cybersecurity, Johnson shared that large corporate organisations face challenges in detecting real-time activity and transactions seamlessly. As data increases and operations scale, big data analytics offers a solution in sifting out critical data.

Image by Johnson Poh

Developing people involves building a big data team with diversified skillsets to collaboratively drive analytics initiatives. For big data development at scale, a well-defined process and a set of standard operating procedures are imperatives.

Johnson has categorised the enterprise analytics lifecycle into three main phases: Big Data Engineering, Data Analytics & Machine Learning, Visualisation and Consumption. He points out that the process includes a feedback loop, emphasising that big data solutioning is an ongoing process requiring continuous monitoring, feedback, and refinement to account for performance degradation over time.

The final enabler is technology. To support the AI-driven pipeline, there is a need to assemble a suite of tools to fulfil the requirement for data storage, parallel processing, query processing, machine learning and insights delivery.

Concluding his presentation, Johnson reiterated the different use cases of big data technology in financial institutions and emphasised how it can benefit the operations of financial institutions, generate revenues and save on costs.

Interactive Discussion

After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.

The first poll inquired on the maturity of delegates’ cloud strategy. Over two-thirds (65%) indicated that they have defined a cloud strategy and are starting to implement cloud. There were 17%  who are still evaluating cloud and experimenting with different options while 13% had a comprehensive cloud strategy and far were ahead in its practical implementation.

On being asked by Dan if they felt that the implementation was the difficult part, one delegate replied that they undertook design thinking before focusing on the customer and experimented with applications on cloud, focusing on data-driven operations.

Another delegate felt that adopting and implementing cloud strategy is a continuous learning process. In a similar vein, an executive managing the business interests of his organisation shared that his department is learning about cloud strategy. While he finds the changes to be slower in the financial sector, he recognises the unique limitations and concerns about security in the financial sector. He added that resources and skills are limited, which places a cap on how the organisation can capitalise on technology.

Images by Johnson Poh

In response to Dan’s query about the main challenges that organisations faced, one participant said that it is a combination of technology limitation, lack of expertise and nervousness surrounding doing new things. To that, Dan echoed Johnson’s point that the three elements of people, process and technology need to come together and emphasised the importance of working with partners.

When asked about the main driver for data analytics and data-driven capabilities within their organisation, approximately half of the delegates (54%) indicated that they are keen to gain better insights and to create a personalised customer experience. The remaining delegates (46%) thought that the main driver is to generate additional revenue through highly targeted marketing strategies.

For Dan, the drivers are interlinked – gaining better insights and creating a personalised customer experience can lead to revenue generation. After acquiring customers, organisations need to understand them and retain them by driving the customer experience.

One delegate concurred with Dan’s point of view but added that as a bank, he has an obligation towards regulators who have non-revenue related concerns.

On the challenge organisations face in obtaining data insights, most delegates (42%) ranked disparate data sources from multiple data silos as the main challenge. This was followed by the shortage of staff who understand big data analysis (38%), data storage and quality (20%).

In response to the results, Johnson opined that challenges can be classified as the elements of people, process, and technology. He observes that in the context of the banking sector, a large part of the challenge comes from having to implement the right systems that are secure to manage customers to ensure that it is safe – the mindset of how technology should be harnessed is a big part of it.

Quality of data was another issue that a delegate pointed out – some data sits on-premise or cloud and others are in the data lake. In that sense, synchronising the data is an ongoing process that needs to be tackled. Other delegates opined that finding data scientists who possess the contextual knowledge to extract relevant insights to drive business is a challenge.

The next poll asked delegates about where they stood and what their next steps are in their digital transformation plan. For almost half (48%), the digital transformation journey has just started, and they are looking at tools, data, processes and channels. Over a fifth (22%) said they are mature on the digital transformation journey and are looking at how to drive the customer experience and top-line growth. The remaining delegates are either between the early stage of building a digital transformation plan (17%) or require help to drive the business use case of digital transformation across the business (13%).

A delegate shared that his organisation might be mature in terms of digital banking but that there is still a long way to go when it comes to organisation-wide transformation. For a small bank like his, the challenge lies in acquiring new customers.

In contrast, another delegate from a company with many entities shared his challenge of synchronising the digital channels and initiatives of the various entities. The difficulty lies in looking at the initiatives across platforms and deciding what ought to be consolidated and kept separate.

On the topic of customer-centric organisations being structured around the experiences of customers, most delegates (52%) agreed that they design and offer the right services, products and experiences to the right customers. About 20% felt that they are a collaborative organisation, where top-down and bottom-up decisions are aligned. The remaining votes were evenly split between the perception that they understand the people who bank with their institution – the market, types of customers and how the needs of customers differ (14%) and ensuring that customer requirements are filtered through to capabilities – as such, processes, capabilities, and systems are systematically aligned to customer needs (14%).

Regardless of the selection, Dan reiterated that there is no end-goal to digital transformation, only a future state digital transformation that is constantly evolving. Johnson added that all options are relevant, but it comes down to resource allocation and overall prioritisation.

Mohit agreed with Johnson that it is a complex topic because the banking sector has been challenged every step of the way, but that technology is an enabler for any organisation’s digital transformation.

The final poll asked delegates the main challenge they face when implementing digital strategy. Most of the delegates (56%) found the biggest challenge to be the legacy technologies lacking integration capabilities, followed by inflexible business processes and teams (22%), lack of properly skilled teams (17%) and regulatory constraints (7%).

Conclusion

In closing, Dan expressed his gratitude for the robust participation and highly energetic discussion. He observed that everyone was at a different stage of digital transformation and that technology is the key enabler that will help organisations to transform the hardest tasks in the organisation. The more an organisation can collect and leverage its structured and unstructured data, the more the business will be able to expand.

He emphasised the importance of partnering with colleagues within the organisation. He encouraged delegates to continue the conversation with the business department to understand what they need. Instead of being reactive to changes on the ground, it is better to be proactive.

Dan reiterated that learning about data is a continuous and ongoing journey and encouraged the delegates to connect with him and the team to explore ways in which the use of data can help agencies improve their operations.

Mohit brought the session to an end with a final remark that the banking sector is under tremendous pressure because of the tremendous competition. He also added that while technology is the enabler, people and skill sets are critical to the implementation of digital transformation initiatives. On that note, Mohit urged delegates to consider external partners to help smoothen the journey.

OpenGov TV Speaker Panel – Know Your Customers

Part 3 of our OpenGov TV Speaker Panel series with OneConnect. Listen to experts talk about the importance of KYC (Knowing Your Customers)!