Keynotes & Seminars

DBS Bank: Transformation to Best Digital/Bank in the World



DBS Bank received Euromoney’s inaugural award “World’s Best Digital Bank” in 2016 and then again in 2018.

In six short years, DBS was transformed from the poorest service performing company in Singapore, to being recognized as the best digital bank in the world. Then in 2018, it won the coveted, Global Finance, best bank in the world award.

Discover how DBS leaders achieved this phenomenal transformation through the execution of two strategies in this absorbing, informative and enlightening one-day workshop.

In 2014, the Board of DBS gave the leadership team S$200,000,000 to bet on digital. The team was just celebrating the success of executing the Asian Bank of Choice in the New Asia, 12 months ahead of schedule, which was a significant achievement in itself. But before the team could sit back and relax, they were re-engaged to execute, Making Banking Joyful.

The workshop introduction highlights what the bank did to successfully implement its first strategy to perform at international standards and how it succeeded where many other organizations fail. The digital transformation did not happen overnight. In its first strategy, for example, it eliminated 100,000 million customer hours in its processes where it didn’t add value to the customer. This helped lay the foundation for the digital transformation strategy.

The workshop then delves deeply into how DBS became the best digital/bank in the world.

It explains the three core principles:

  1. How it created a 22,000-employee startup
  2. How it transformed from the core
  3. Adopted customer journeys

As DBS CEO Piyush shared with the workshop facilitator, “The first stage was relatively straightforward; I knew what the result should be to become an international bank. The second stage was tougher. No one knew what a digital bank should look like!”

You’ll discover how the bank crafted a new strategy around making banking invisible and most importantly how every part of the bank adopted the new strategy into their business. You’ll discover the inner workings of the bank as their exciting journey is revealed. You’ll also discover why they had to transform from the core.

Woven throughout the workshop are amazing examples and stories from the bank, such as how the strategy impacted Singapore school children; how audit adopted agile audits and how the bank solved the challenge of cross-selling in banks. There is also exclusive video from the facilitator’s research in preparing to publish the bank’s story as a book at the end of 2019.


Workshop Outline

S$200,000,000 Bet

In 2014, a perfect storm struck in the bank. They had just executed their Asian Bank of Choice in the New Asia strategy, Alibaba started spreading its tentacles across Asia, Fintech was gaining momentum and the bank had a CEO with a technology background who was envisioning the future. The outcome was that the bank started its digital journey.

Understand in the opening module the decisions the leaders took and why they decided to become a digital-centric driven bank.


Strategy 1.0

Like many overnight successes, this was not an overnight success! Prior to executing the new strategy, the previous strategy had laid the foundation. The previous strategy was crafted to find the sweet spot between international and local competition and how to transform to be operating at an international banking standard.

The module also reflects just how far the bank has come as at the time it had the worst service in Singapore, not just among banks but other key companies. It had no daily management information’s system (MIS) to track how it was performing and its culture was considered old and traditional.


Making Banking Joyful

How do you become a digital-centric company? This module explains how the bank started to transform and why it chose to make banking joyful by making it invisible to its customers. It also explains the philosophy of why make banking invisible.

Understand how it engaged and trained the employees and how it built momentum across the whole bank.


The Nuts and Bolts of Digital

Digital is like the engine that drives the bank. Every part of the bank has to be aligned and finely tuned to drive it forward. A department cannot work in isolation or it will be a clog in the engine. The culture is the lubricant that ensures the engine runs smoothly. Innovation around the customer is the fuel that drives the bank forward and the leaders are at the steering wheel.

This module introduces the highlights of the bank’s journey. It discusses how the bank:

  • Measured the digital strategy
  • Engaged and trained employees
  • Transformed its technology
  • Adopted agile audits
  • Created “digibank” – a mobile-only bank
  • Inspired customers to adopt digital banking
  • Eliminated front, middle and back office approach to banking
  • Moved from cross-sell to cross buy
  • Encouraged customers to adopt digital banking


The Value of a Digital Customer

Customer who have adopted digital banking brings in twice the income to traditional customers.

Understand how the bank has grown profits to become the best bank in the world.


Why Digital Strategies Fails

The bank made mistakes along the way, for example, in how it adopted Artificial Intelligence. But it succeeded where eight out of ten companies fail in digital transformation, according to various research.
This module explains the key reasons why companies fail in adopting digital and the seven difference in executing a digital strategy to previous strategies.


11-Step Model for Adopting a Digital Strategy

Based on the DBS transformation understand first the three strategic steps of 1) future thinking, 2) centricity 3) future proofing. Then measure your organization against the 11 steps required for adopting a digital strategy.

The 11-Step Model has been developed from the DBS experience as well as recent research of almost 2000 leaders in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.


The Implementation Compass™

The focus in digital transformation, for some organizations, is now on how to execute the strategy. The Implementation Compass introduced the right areas of excellence required to be successful.

The Implementation Compass has been developed by Bridges and adopted by companies and governments around the world.


What To Do Now

The final part of the workshop creates the opportunity to apply the key learnings to your organization.


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