Innosight selects DBS among global strategic transformation leaders

10 October 2019 3 min. read

Strategy consultancy Innosight has named DBS Bank among its global Transformation 20 list – a study of the world’s most transformative companies.

Innosight – a strategy and innovation consultancy under the umbrella of global professional services firm Huron – has adjudged Singapore’s DBS as an exemplar of strategic transformation, naming the bank among a list of twenty S&P 500 and Global 2000 businesses which have achieved the highest-impact business transformations over the past decade. Meanwhile, local telecommunications giant Singtel only narrowly missed the final cut.

To arrive at their final list – headed by Netflix, Adobe and Amazon – the analysts from Innosight and a team of independent judges looked at three key metrics; new growth – how successful the companies had been at creating new growth areas such as products, services, and markets; repositioning – how effectively they had adapted their traditional cores in the face of disruption; and financials; have they performed financially or achieved successful turnarounds.

“What businesses are doing here is fundamentally changing in form or substance,” the firm states, quoting the book Dual Transformation authored by Innosight Asia-Pacific Managing Director Scott Anthony together with co-founder Mark Johnson and advisor Clark Gilbert. “A piece, if not the essence, of the old remains, but what emerges is clearly different in material ways. It is a liquid becoming a gas. Lead turning into gold. A caterpillar becoming a butterfly.”Innosight selects DBS among global strategic transformation leadersFor DBS’ part, which has achieved revenue growth of almost 40 percent from 2013 to 2018, with revenues now closing in on the $10 billion mark, Innosight notes the bank’s transformation from a regional entity to a to a global digital platform company – last year named the ‘World’s Best Bank’ by Global Finance Magazine, the first from Asia to achieve the feat. Notably, nearly half of DBS’s customer base now digital, compared to one third in just 2015.

“One of the keys to that success was not just going digital but opening up a digital platform that others can play on, taking part of the playbook from companies like Apple, Adobe and Amazon,” states Innosite. “DBS launched the world’s largest API protocol, where financial and retail partners can invisibly integrate DBS’s capabilities into their systems. By late 2018, DBS demonstrated that digital customers are at least twice as profitable as traditional customers.”

According to Innosight, the success of the bank’s transformation has been built on a “culture-based vision of becoming a 27,000-person startup”, a notion backed by DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, who has been at the helm since 2009; “A few years ago, in running the company, we started to act less like a bank and more like a tech company. That startup culture has infused the entire organisation from top to bottom, front to back, enabling us to truly reimagine banking.”

Alongside a trio of fintech firms, DBS was the only inclusion from the traditional banking sector. Gupta continued; “We are delighted that DBS continues to be recognised as being among the world’s best for our digital transformation. Conventional wisdom is that it is difficult for a legacy company to transform at scale. Our own journey has shown otherwise, and what has worked for us is attacking the core; making transformation mainstream by changing culture company-wide.”

Other Asian companies named by Innosight – which has offices in the US, Switzerland and Singapore and last year hooked up Australian consultancy Inventium via a strategic partnership – included Chinese giants Tencent, Alibaba, Ping An among the top ten, along with AIA Group at 18th and Japan’s Fujifilm in 17th. When the growth consultancy last conducted the exercise in 2017, no Asian-headquartered companies made the abbreviated top ten.