Malaysia’s BFSI industry needs to embrace digitalisation to remain innovative and competitive

The e-commerce boom and increased internet usage has accelerated digitalisation in every industry in 2020. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), internet banking and mobile banking penetration reached 111.5 percent and 61 percent respectively by November last year.

As data can be processed to generate in-depth insights for business decisions, this opens both incentive and opportunity for organisations to transform. And with this, comes the need to prioritise and protect their customers’ data and privacy to continuous ensure their trust.

“When consumers have increased awareness and expectations regarding data privacy and policy, they are no longer nearly as uninformed. They expect their data to be treated with appropriate transparency, diligence and respect, which is Modern Data Privacy,” Moti Uttam, Hitachi Vantara tells BusinessToday.

In the BFSI industry, modern businesses are leveraging secondary data for competitive advantage with professional data management. Quick self-service access to data will drive value and make it easy to repurpose backup data for analytics and reporting.

Moreover, there is a need to conduct data protection that aligns with cyber security goals to secure data retention.  BFSIs need to embrace compliance and are compelled to do so legally.

Uttam says the BFSI industry in Malaysia has a lot to improve concerning digitalisation, which has a correlation with the modern data privacy strategy. According to Reportlinker: “Malaysian Data Center Services Market Forecast to 2026” published in July 2020, the BFSI industry generates the highest demand for data centre services, followed by the federal government of Malaysia. These BFSI leaders now have no choice but to become savvier and more informed.

“Apart from business critical, IT, Technology and Personal Data Protection Act, the importance and value of data also need to be given significant attention in the effort to bridge the gap.”

The Managing Director also says the industry is realising the power and capability of technology to deploy a unified approach. Malaysia has allocated RM1.8 billion to execute the initiatives of the newly launched Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) 2020-2021.

“This initiative marks a good way to improve the country’s cyber security management within the next five years. With ransomware attacks on the rise, a strict regulatory environment and nimble, competitive upstarts entering the market, protecting, and extracting value from most strategic asset is crucial,” Uttam says.

“In unlocking the benefits of data analytics and modern data privacy, BFSIs will be able to drive a more competitive edge and better decision-making, create tangible reputational gain, build greater and closer customer engagement and loyalty, as well as create faster and easier marketing traction. However, these require the right philosophies, right cultures, right attitude, and behaviours,” he adds.

And for a financial institution to be compatible with others to retain customers, Uttam says the key is to build trust. He says the BFSI industry should gain commercial trust, which includes transparency, accountability, and governance.

Data, security, and privacy, he says, are becoming more relevant and important in this digital era. “BFSI leaders need to drive competition in retaining customers for business continuity and agility. Customers will stick with the financial institution who wins their trust by ensuring data is never stolen.

They need to ensure customer data is stored and processed in a secure and compliant manner with stringent SOPs. Data loss remains an ever-present risk to the BFSI industry,” Uttam says.

Uttam also shares on the benefits of consumerisation and democratisation of the data pool. He tells BusinessToday that the costs of failing to comply with stringent regulatory requirements can add up quickly, including legal, litigation and settlement fees.

The Managing Director also urges BFSI leaders to speed up the process to run reports and gain deeper insights, increase flexibility, and enable consumers to take part in an active role in data analysis to drive a data-driven culture.

The key benefits of consumerisation and democratisation of the data pool, Uttam says, includes to provide rapid and actionable insight into organisational data with content analytics, boost workforce productivity and reduces business risk and creates an environment of self-support among users.

“Hitachi Vantara has helped the BFSI industry in Malaysia remain innovative, competitive and compliant. An example is a local bank that has begun the journey of moving their backup archives from tape to object storage, also known as the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP).

This ensures all their data, and in this case the archived data, is available instantaneously for analytics for many use cases, including fraud prevention. Some banks have leveraged on Hitachi Vantara’s Global-Active Storage capabilities (called Global Active Device) to ensure 100% data availability. This allows them to make the best use of their data across multiple applications,” he tells BusinessToday.

In terms of utilising data effectively in the industry, Uttam says the adoption of emerging technologies will gain greater transparency and auditability of data. “The need for indexed well-managed, cost-effective and robust storage is insatiable. Banking decision makers, compliance teams and auditors all need quick and easy access to relevant data,” he says.

Additionally, Uttam also says BFSI leaders need to know the information they are depending on is timely, reliable, and accurate. The ability to detect and share information on anomalies or issues – such as cyberattacks or suspected fraud – will not only improve the accuracy of reporting for compliance purposes, but also build new lines of business and enhance customer relationships.

Lastly, he says, data sourced from email, banking transactions, and insurance records can be diversified and analysed into graphs or visuals to provide more in-depth insights. “BFSI leaders will depend on the insights for faster decision making, risk prediction and prevention,” he says.

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