Embrace the digitization wave | Peripheral markets


Standard Chartered executives were on hand to chat and chat with attendees. (Left to right) Abrar Anwar, Managing Director and Non-Independent Executive Director, Malaysia; Samuel Ding, Head of Transaction Banking, Malaysia; Mak Joon Nien, Country CEO, Malaysia; Michael Spiegel, Group Head of Transaction Banking; Stanley Sia, Co-Director, Asia, Digital Channels and Data Analytics for Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking; Patricia Wong, Head of Client Coverage for Business, Commercial and Institutional Banking in Malaysia; Chong Pei Kian, regional digital marketing manager; Ankur Kanwar, Head of Monetary Products, ASEAN; Samuel John Mathew, Global Head of Trade Flows and Financial Institutions; and Bryant Lee, Digital Marketing Director of Standard Chartered

Technology has become the catalyst for businesses to prepare for an ever-changing world and grow rapidly. As businesses need to be proactive in keeping up with new trends, leveraging digital transformation initiatives is key to staying competitive.

Going beyond its traditional role as a bank, Standard Chartered has partnered with a host of multinationals on their digital transformation journey to grow their business. The first edition of the Standard Chartered Digital Showcase was held on August 23 to demonstrate the various digital capabilities companies can use to transform their business and demystify some of the concerns associated with digital transformation.

During the event, attendees were able to visit different stations that showcased various digital capabilities – digital payment and collections capabilities, one-stop digital business solutions, digital services that allow businesses to access answers to some of their 24/7 queries, advanced analytics and dashboarding capabilities allowing treasurers to unlock value from their data to gain insights for decision-making, application programming interfaces that quickly becoming the norm for businesses to foster connectivity and collaborations, and mobile apps that enable a hassle-free on-the-go banking experience – plus listen to four panel discussions on the fundamentals of digital transformation.

“Today’s event demonstrates how innovation is at the heart of Standard Chartered’s strategy, enabling the bank to transform to meet the changing needs of our customers in the world’s most dynamic markets such as than Malaysia,” said Stanley Sia, Managing Director and Co-Head, Asia, Digital Channels and Data Analytics for Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking.

“We are fully committed to realizing the vision of an efficient, scalable and secure platform that can help our customers in Malaysia develop a competitive advantage as they grow and scale internationally.

Enabling digital payments

“Digitization is not optional. It’s a way of life. It’s a way of doing business.” This advice from Standard Chartered, Asean’s Head of Treasury Products, Ankur Kanwar, sums up the reality of today’s world that relies on the convenience of going digital, including in business management and to deliver the best client experience.

Based on his observations, some of the digitalization trends in business are the hyper adoption of digital solutions, moving corporate clients online through e-commerce platforms, abundance of new digital solutions that do not cease to appear in the market and the adoption of digital assets in digitization strategies.

Ankur was speaking at a panel discussion titled “Evolving Digital Payments Landscape: Is Your Business Ready?” during the showcase.

Other panelists who joined him included Khairuan Abdul Rahman, Director of Retail Payment Services, Payments Network Malaysia; Allen Woo, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Affin Hwang Asset Management; and Hasan Farooq Malik, Chief Financial Officer, DHL Express Malaysia and Brunei. The session was moderated by Standard Chartered’s Regional Head of Digital Marketing, Chong Pei Kian.

Affin Hwang’s Allen Woo (in white shirt) shares his experience in paving the way for digitization

However, there is still a lot to be done to push more companies towards digitization. Khairuan stressed the importance of mass awareness among consumers and business partners. “The challenge for us, or for me personally, is to find a good story about [accepting] money is not free for everyone.”

He added that from his interaction with key industry players, he anticipates it will take years to educate trading partners and consumers that money is not free.

As a technology leader in a company, the shift to digitization depends on a CTO like Woo. He believes that every digitalization strategy must start with a vision that must constantly evolve in the desire to improve the customer experience.

He encouraged companies to embrace the culture of accepting failure, especially in their digital journey, to grow. “It’s not about lowering expectations, it’s about having those expectations and having the attitude to learn from [our] mistakes and move on. I think this trait is important in getting your team to give [them] a safe place to migrate through ideas and experimentation.”

DHL’s Hasan pointed out that the integrated real-time data sought with digitization will be extremely useful for businesses. “I think it makes the job easier for everyone when you have a digitized process.”

Hasan’s statement was backed up by Ankur. He suggested that the availability of data must be taken into account for an organization to strive.

“The only advice we always give to our customers is [to not] use technology or data just because it sounds good. Watch what you’re trying to solve, then backtrack to see how we can go from there. There is enough technology available to help you make smarter decisions.”

Ankur recommended companies start their digitization efforts with small, small projects to experiment with simpler solutions, with minimal investment.

On the other hand, Woo claimed that the key to a successful digitization process is to start first. He shared that one of Affin Hwang’s “excuses” for embracing digitization was to install a chatbot on his website. From there, he started creating the Application Program Interface (API) in the main system.

Meanwhile, DHL’s Hasan advised businesses to be braver in taking risks to find solutions.

Solutions that redefine trade finance

The diversity of backgrounds and the nature of the professions of the panelists shows that digitalization is an essential step to move forward.

Faced with a lot of time-consuming and labor-intensive processes, companies often face problems during their operational journey, which can easily be solved through automation.

During the second roundtable titled “Trade Finance Modernization and Business Development”, Pharmaniaga Logistics Senior Manager Nazruddin Maszelan said that the company’s digitalization journey has improved operational efficiency and reduced labor needs, especially during the pandemic.

Due to the high demand for pharmaceuticals in Malaysia, Pharmaniaga struggled to consolidate data at the back-end, including order entry, stock keeping, and form filling. He said the company had 21 contract workers just to fill out forms on the ePerolehan website.

Since digitizing its business, more processes have been automated and more manpower moved to other priority areas.

“Thanks to robotic process automation, we have reduced [the number of contract staff] from 21 to just two [people to fill up forms on the ePerolehan website]“, said Nazruddin.

Vale Sales Administration Manager Erick Tavares stressed the importance of ensuring multiple stakeholders are on the same platform to integrate data and communication.

As a multinational company, its business activity can resume as usual, all thanks to digitized documentation processes, including digital signatures to validate agreements. Today, 30% of Vale’s exports are based on electronics.

“We’ve worked with our customers to show them the value of going digital. Most of them [are hesitant] change because, as you know, the mining and metals industry is still a very conservative industry. Here at Vale, we always try to champion digitalization,” Tavares said.

Aligning with the rapid shift of businesses to digitization, Standard Chartered’s Global Head of FI Flows and Commerce, Samuel John Mathew, stressed that all industry markets and digitized platforms go hand in hand.

“[The synergy is similar] for banking and finance. We partner with various Provide-to-Pay Platforms, Marketplaces as well as Blockchain Networks to become the button the Buyer/Seller clicks on when applying for funding under commercial buying/selling on the marketplace/platform.”

Security is a top concern for customers and businesses, especially in this age when scams and data leaks have become the norm.

Understanding that the bank is a trustworthy business, Standard Chartered’s director of digital marketing, Bryant Lee, assured that the bank values ​​shared responsibility for security with its customers.

“There are a lot of critical awareness details in Straight2Bank’s Security Center. [Online] banners are placed in the Straight2Bank [platform]in case certain security updates or alerts occur in the markets.”

Concluding the second roundtable, all panelists agreed that having a clear vision, listening to customers and ensuring transaction security are key to kick-starting a company’s digitization journey.

For more information on what was discussed in the third and fourth sessions, stay tuned for the next article to be published on September 26.


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