2014-2015: Setup of Digibank and organizing Hackathons focussing on the entrepreneurial mindset Digibank - a part of DBS – was set up to advance the digital transformation program. As pf June 2015, 30 people were employed in Singapore in areas of products, user experience, copywriting, analytics, business development and partnerships, and project management. 20 people were recruited in India, where the initiative was to be launched. This organization was characterized by flat hierarchy and ability to draw resources from each and every DBS division. All the divisions continuously interacted with the team to provide insights and Gupta was enthusiastically involved as he devoted several hours a week. ❖ Expansion in India: As discussed above, Digibank was focusing on creating a mobile solution for the Indian market. It was physically present in 12 regions but wanted to attract customers by removing the catch phrase bank (as in physical bank) from the picture and instead relying on handling monetary transactions. Customers at the end of the day wanted to save time, be called by their names, get best advice and have some peace of mind. The mobile solution entailed development of a partner network to ensure a seamless experience for the customers. Three categories of partners were identified- partnership with merchants to acquire new customers and become part of their lives, physical infrastructure partners (ATM networks and KYC vendors) and start-up firms with innovative solutions capable of being embedded in digital banking. The launch was planned in September 2015. ❖ Hackathons that changed perspective: A pilot hackathon was launched in October 2014 whereby start-up entrepreneurs and executive talent worked together to address a business challenge, develop an initial prototype, get feedback from customers, code a basic mobile app, get more customer feedback and then on day 3 pitch the solution to top DBS executives. This event gave an opportunity to executive talent to break free from the daily monotony and work in a rather unstructured pressured environment focused on devising technological solutions. It
5 gave a new perspective of being on the field and driving change first-hand to these participating executives. Another three hackathons were organized. These hackathons resulted in creation of 50 prototypes surrounding SME banking, digital banking and other supporting business functions. Two of these were turned live for India while 10 others were under review. Now the organization was facing the challenge of embedding the hackathon driven experience of executives in the real time working environment. Hackathons served as a means to drive the philosophy of the company that rested on digital transformation but in turn required substantial investment of time, effort and energy to build scalable and sustainable models. Hackathons may bring out solutions but testing feasibility and implementation was another ball game altogether.
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- Fall '19