An Interview with Dah Sing Bank's COO Edmund Poon

Position: 
Chief Operating Officer, Dah Sing Bank

Dah Sing Bank's Chief Operating Officer speaks to FST Media about how data analytics can deliver a seamless customer experience.

FST Media: What are your IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Poon: Our IT priorities are to upgrade our core banking system for more efficient operations and a better overall customer experience. The facelift focuses on introducing new internet and mobile banking services to help us satisfy our customers’ evolving needs. In addition, we are also working on addressing our regulatory requirements, particularly surrounding risk management.

FST Media: What is your strategy to streamline bank operations to deliver both business value and customer value?

Poon: Streamlining banking operations to deliver both business value and customer value is always one of the key focuses for our operations and IT team. We should re-engineer ourselves, in terms of our staff, processes and systems, to be more competitive and responsive to our dynamic market environment. This will be greatly beneficial in terms of reducing turnaround times, enhancing service effectiveness and supporting the implementation of new products and services. A “continuous improvement” culture is being introduced to help pave the way for a process of fine-tuning our procedures so that we can be more effective and efficient. This is will be a key objective for our team.

FST Media: What technology or innovation will be a game-changer for Dah Sing Bank in the year ahead?

Poon: Mobile technology remains a key game-changer for Dah Sing Bank, particularly as we aim to deliver real value and benefits to customers. We want to focus on improving our interactions with customers in terms of convenience and speed to enable hassle-free services.

FST Media: How can data analytics deliver a seamless customer experience and provide benefits to business operations?

Poon: The key factors for successfully delivering a seamless customer experience are the intelligence and capabilities of our data systems, particularly in terms of how we determine factual and quality data from a mass of unstructured data. This will help to ensure our subsequent efforts are geared towards supporting our business operations and overall business strategic plan.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Poon: Innovation is all about going beyond your comfort zone. It is certainly risky, as there is no guarantee for a positive result.  However, we should reward those who are willing to try and innovate. From time to time, the management team have to be prepared to embrace change and welcome innovative ideas with the appropriate guidance and coaching. Moreover, we should work to identify new talent, either internally or externally, as this will help us plant the seeds that are needed to foster a culture of innovation.  

FST Media: How significant is the role of technology in your everyday life?

Poon: I am the chief technologist at home. Being surrounded by technology helps me to explore and apply the latest innovations not only at work, but also in my daily life to become more effective and efficient. It can be as simple as using cloud technology that lets me work on my own personal errands anywhere. I also enjoy using technology as a hobby. For instance, recently I used technology and packaged software to learn more about home video making and editing.

FST Media: Where do you see cloud adoption in financial services over the next five years?

Poon: Quite a number of financial institutions have already adopted cloud in areas with less sensitive data due to regulatory constraints. Cloud adoption will become more extensively used with greater support and endorsement by the regulators over the next five years. The willingness to embrace cloud technology is a key aspect for consideration and it depends on the pricing and servicing strategies of the cloud service providers.

FST Media: How do you sustain your level of motivation in a high pressure environment?

Poon: The easiest way is for me to keep motivated when working under pressure is to keep myself brimming with positive energy and thinking. High pressure can drive me to be a stronger and better person which is of great benefit to me and the company.

FST Media: Is virtual currency a threat or potential opportunity and how should banks respond?

Poon: Virtual currency will be a potential opportunity for banks if it is endorsed by the regulators and governments in at least the major countries. At Dah Sing bank, we are keeping a close eye on its evolution.

FST Media: What’s next for Dah Sing’s digital platform You Banking and how will you measure its success?

Poon: YOU Banking is targeted at the young market segment. This market segment demands simple and efficient banking services that are hassle-free and can be operated anywhere, anytime. Digital banking is the right service to meet their needs. 

During the launch last year, we rolled out Dah Sing’s mobile app embedded with banking services and also provide the brand new ATM e-receipt to satisfy the needs of this young segment. Since the launch of YOU Banking last year, we have observed that YOU Banking customers’ reliance on digital channels is much higher than our other banking customers. They perform more digital transactions than other customers. This demonstrates digital channels do create real value to this young segment. 

Our long-term aim for YOU Banking is to further enhance transactional capabilities on our digital platform, deepen our customer relationships and allow our customers to seamlessly enjoy our banking services. 

FST Media: How can Dah Sing harness the potential of social media, particularly in terms of your customer interactions and engaging with a growing Gen Y customer base?

Poon: Customers today, especially Gen Y customers, do not interact with their banks from just a traditional channel perspective. Leveraging social media to reach out to our growing young segment and to obtain such customer insights as attitudes, behaviours and needs would be the key areas for us. We view social media as a channel that brings both opportunities and challenges. We aim at optimising channel collaboration to come up with an effective model to engage our customers. This would help us to offer products and services of real value to our customers and help us to retain them. Finally, social media also helps to refresh and rejuvenate our brand. 

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the greatest advice you have ever received?

Poon: In addition to having sound technical knowledge and operational experience, the key factor to success is to think customer and think business. With a deep understanding of what the customer wants and needs, we will be able to produce an applicable end-to-end solution that would help delight our customers and deliver on our business expectations.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Poon: We are always remembered for our achievements. My deliverables have had key impacts on our business, the customers and the market and what I would like to be remembered for is my passion in making all of this happen.

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