Partnering with McKinsey, DBS transformed its data-driven operating model, aiming to leverage data for innovative outcomes and widespread AI adoption. With McKinsey AI experts' support, they established a program that reduced end-to-end AI deployment time from 18 months to less than 5 months. The goal is to reduce that even more, to just a few weeks, which the bank considers essential to fully scaling AI. Today, there is an industrialized platform that enables AI deployment called ALAN, which is instrumental to achieving this accelerated deployment.
“We need an innovation culture, which doesn’t create itself. You must deliberately drive that and put in the processes and frameworks to encourage innovation, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship—it’s about knowing it”s OK to try and fail.’
– Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, DBS
DBS’ ability to achieve all of this was made possible through fundamental shifts in its culture, operational and technical expertise, and a transformative operating model. To recruit and retain digital talent, they adopted innovative strategies like hackathons and established three technology hubs to foster collaboration. DBS used AI to predict potential employee exits, enabling timely HR intervention. Moreover, they invested in institutional learning through Digify a module-based learning pathway to train employees in concepts such as agile, big data, and journey thinking, and launched DBS Academy to train technologists in a DBS-specific curriculum. Making the transformation successful required a significant shift in leadership mindsets and behaviors. With support from McKinsey, DBS scaled T-Sprints (Transformation Sprints) to build top team alignment and new leadership skills across both the top of the house as well as different business, support, platform and geographic units within the bank.
The bank put in place systems to measure outcomes from the digital transformation. The digital value capture framework was co-developed with McKinsey to quantify benefits of acquiring, transacting, and engaging with digital customers. This allowed them to become one of the first banks in the world to showcase powerfully to investors the higher revenue, lower cost to serve and higher ROE from serving digital customers over traditional customers. The underlying methodology also allowed the bank to bake initiatives needed to drive value creation through digitization into the scorecards and performance management framework of the bank. This has translated into consistent shareholder gains, especially as innovation and data-driven transformation further accelerate both the growth trajectory and profitability (ROE) of the franchise.
Making GANDALF a reality at DBS has taken more than the wave of a magic wand. It required hard work, addressing culture changes, and consistent engagement at all levels, but it has transformed a top-tier bank into a top-tier tech company.