Standard Chartered: Building the digital growth engine of the bank 14 September 2021

In this interview from the report " Standard Chartered: a digitally-powered pioneer", Pedro Sousa Cardoso, Global Head, Digital Commerce at Standard Chartered Bank looks back at the bank's digital transformation and shares his vision for the bank of the future.
What is your vision for Standard Chartered Bank in 2030?

In the last decade, to be successful a bank needed to have a mobile first strategy. But moving forward, it is not enough to just have a strong mobile presence. With the pace at which change is happening, we have to transform ourselves into a “Digital Augmented Bank” - augmenting through data, analytics, and AI our customer experiences, internal platform, processes, and skillsets.

Our future success will be measured by the trust and loyalty we build with our customers and our staff. I am confident that as we adopt more data and digital practices and transform to be future ready, Standard Chartered will establish itself as a leading digital tech company in addition to being the world’s best digital bank, able to go toe to toe with many of today’s technology giants.

Standard Chartered runs the retail banking business across ~30 markets across SEA, China, India, Africa and Middle East. What are the key components of your digital strategy that ensures success at this scale?

To scale successfully we have been thinking through and executing on key levers across both the technology and the organization side with customer centricity at the core.

On the tech front, it is impractical and costly to have a different digital platform for each market. We had already started on a journey of platform standardization across markets and we are accelerating this in today’s post-Covid world. Our approach is to have common digital capabilities that are “as similar as much as possible and different as only necessary.” We have a modular architecture that allows us to deploy custom packages for each market. This ensures that we are maximizing the scale advantages that digital provides.

Additionally, we also need a modernized architecture that allows us to compete with the super- apps in the market now. We aim to deliver a customer experience that is not only better than other banks, but one that is better than any digital native tech firm. To this end, our digital tech stack is continuously benchmarked with the best apps in the market to ensure we are delivering the best banking experience for our customers.

From an organizational standpoint, we are organized in an agile manner that promotes cross- collaboration and accelerates speed of delivery. Also, everyone across the business, digital, and technology teams have a shared set of OKRs that cut across both financial and digital metrics.
Because our successes are intertwined and we are working towards a common set of goals, it helps us work together at pace and at scale to deliver our goals.

How is Standard Chartered leveraging data and analytics to build an augmented banking experience for its customers?

An augmented banking experience for our customers means that each of our customers will get a 5-star rated, hyper-personalized, contextual engagement with Standard Chartered when and where they need it regardless of the banking channel, journey, or product. To do this successfully, at least 3 key pieces need to come together.

First is building a strong data foundation. We are creating unified customer profiles across all customer interactions (offline & online), bringing together core digital analytics data, external data from social and advertising platforms as well as partner data through 2nd party. This unified data platform gives us a strong foundation which we can use to build augmented experiences.

Second is to stitch together the experiences through an integrated AI-enabled client engagement stack. We need to bring the best client engagement/activation tools together to deliver relevant conversations. We are building a seamless integrated experience for our customers with the best in class tools that deliver digital analytics, segmentation, cross-channel engagement and next best actions.

Finally, we are activating the actionable advanced analytics in the client engagement stack. Our analytics teams work hand in hand with the client engagement teams to improve customer outcomes and learn from each customer engagement. We are automating the cycle of data sharing, insights generation, activation, testing and iteration to create a virtuous feedback loop that will continually enhance our customer engagement and experiences.

With customer attention being continuously split across multiple platforms and channels today, how is Standard Chartered providing a consistent omnichannel experience?

We are doing this by focusing on two fronts i) Ensuring that we have the best in class digital channels with complete digital journeys across services and products and ii) Integrating different digital and non-digital channels to provide a seamless experience as the customer moves across channels.

Digital will continue to be the primary mode of most customer interactions. Hence, we are focused on building a full range of digital self-servicing journeys within the mobile/web apps reducing the need for customers to move to offline or staff-assisted channels. AI-driven augmented features such as virtual chatbots are a key lever of this pillar to strengthen digital self-servicing.

We are also putting in place an omnichannel interaction platform that helps us to build a 360-degree customer view of customer preferences and interactions cross channels with real time exchange of status and information. This helps us to orchestrate our engagements to ensure that the relevant engagement is contextual and in the preferred channel of the customer without being repetitive. This omnichannel platform is also a powerful tool for our customer service agents to deliver a consistent, personalized experience for our customers.

How is the organization structured to deliver this transformation? And what are your key learnings from running this transformation so far?

To bring the new propositions and innovations to the market at the speed we wanted, it was clear to us that we had to adopt new ways of working. The entire organization is changing to agile ways of working with two objectives i) to be customer centric and ii) empower the staff.

We are organized into a number of squads that are autonomous, cross-disciplinary, self-organized teams with end to end responsibility for their client related goals. We started with 3 squads in 2019 and by end of FY 2021, we will have 240+ squads and 2,000+ colleagues working in agile mode. Some of the key Tribes we have are Digital Platforms & Daily Banking, Data and Client engagement, Omnichannel, Onboarding, Open Banking and Partnerships, which are complemented by product tribes on retail and wealth products.

Together with agile, we also have a fixed capacity model. This means that the investment budget is released in phases based on progress each quarter giving us the flexibility to adapt to changing market needs while controlling costs.

Key Learnings:

1. Simplifying our internal processes addresses frustration and makes it easier for colleagues to solve problems and innovate
2. Culture change is difficult; asking colleagues to work, think, and act differently is challenging and takes time
3. Fixed capacity is a major adjustment and requires high levels of collaboration across the Bank

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