Michel Hamilton: A Profound Trailblazer at the Intersection of Disruptive Technologies and Banking Needs 

Michel Hamilton
Michel Hamilton

PT Bank Maybank Indonesia Tbk (Maybank Indonesia or the Bank) is one of the leading private banks in Indonesia that is also a part of Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) Group, the fourth-largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia. Previously named, PT Bank International Indonesia Tbk (BII), founded on 15 May 1959, obtained its license as a foreign exchange bank in 1988, and its shares were listed as a public company in the Jakarta Stock Exchange and Surabaya Stock Exchange (now merged as Indonesia Stock Exchange) in 1989.

As one of the digital banking pioneers in Indonesia, Maybank Indonesia has continuously developed its digital banking offering with milestones outlined below: 

  • In 1998, Maybank Indonesia was the first bank to launch an Internet Banking service in Indonesia 
  • In 1999, launched US Dollar ATM 
  • In 2003, Maybank launched Cash Deposit Machine
  • In 2011, the bank launched its first mobile banking and SMS banking app
  • In 2015, Maybank launched the M2U app as one of the first Omnichannel mobile and internet banking experiences
  • In 2017, it launched cardless ATM cash withdrawals to provide seamless mobile banking transactions
  • In 2019, Maybank launched a new revamped M2U app which provides a more comprehensive and relevant set of features for customer financial and daily needs, including the capability for online account opening. 
  • In 2020, it launched an online mutual fund transaction STP capability on M2U App to help customers in their financial management
  • In 2021, the bank added new features, such as the eKYC feature to support online account opening, cardless ATM withdrawal using QR code, and e-wallet card top-up capability via M2U App using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to secure further M2U’s positioning as the one-stop financial solution app

Maybank Indonesia has continued to enhance its digital solution to provide complete financial solutions focusing on customer experiences. Customer is always at the center of the bank’s strategy, and the team has always focused on addressing customer pain points accordingly when developing digital solutions. The company has built a robust ecosystem with more than 300 billers supported, over 600 virtual accounts partners, and more than 14 million merchants supporting all payment types such as debit, credit, and QR Pay. 

Those various development have provided customers with Omnichannel banking experience through ATM, internet, mobile, STP online account opening, and the latest API Management technology. With consistency to build excellence in serving all communities with quality product innovation, simple processes, and digital connectivity, Maybank Indonesia continues to strengthen its position as a BANK FOR ALL, now and in the future.

A Go-to Tech Expert Spearheading the Fintech Ecosystem 

Michel Hamilton is the Chief Strategy, Transformation & Digital Officer of Maybank Indonesia. He has over 19 years of working experience with deep exposure in the banking, insurance, telecommunication, and retail domain industry. His primary field of expertise is:

1. Corporate strategy and enterprise transformation delivery- defining the corporate strategic direction and driving the key transformation initiatives execution.

2. Enterprise digital business solution and innovator through cutting-edge technology adoption, delivering new business models and revenue streams specifically for financial services, plantation, heavy utilities, and the healthcare industry.

3. Data and analytics management consists of Advanced analytics for leveraging mathematical and statistic modelling to generate business insight through descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analysis

a. Information management for managing enterprise data through the traditional data warehouse and big data technology to generate business intelligence and MIS reporting

b. Data operating model and governance for defining and designing the data operating model, organization structure as well as data policy and procedure

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, and technology delivery transformation 

Michel has successfully developed and nurtured a high-performing team in numerous units with a high integrity culture throughout his career evolution. Being a people person, Michel is keen to engage with various stakeholders and identify the best approach to communicate among them. Additionally, he is also a season guest lecturer for a reputable university and a public speaker on certain occasions since 2016.

At Maybank Indonesia, as the CEO’s direct report, Michel is mandated to lead and be the agent of change in the bank to shape, transform, redefine, fine-tune and sharpen the bank-wide strategy and ensure the execution and benefit realization of the strategic transformation program. The strategy and transformation initiatives will be related to business strategy, digital transformation, data and analytics, and process excellence delivery. Michel works closely with all elements in the bank from all departments and divisions. He also aligns with the regional team to ensure a clear roadmap and coordination on all corporate strategy initiative execution. 

In 2020, Michel was assigned to grow the bank’s digital business in alignment with a local and regional strategy that put digital at the core of the bank’s strategy. Currently, he is leading more than 100 team members using CAPEX of IDR 75bn for digital enhancement to accelerate the digitalization agenda of the bank rapidly. Over the first year of the mandate, the digital business, transaction, volume and revenue have grown more than 35% YoY. In late 2021, Michel was also assigned to lead the digital non-retail solution, including transaction channel, Open API, digital trade, and digital supply chain financing solution.

Data Analytics and Customer Segmentation as a Trigger to Digital Business 

Michel opines that data analytics has become a crucial part of developing digital business. Today’s business success is how to get better in touch and very much connected with consumers approaching for various needs and aspirations. Yet, in a constantly evolving digital technology, knowing what consumers want has always been a challenge, given the ever-changing conditions in the social and cultural settings, environment, and technological development. To be at the forefront, a business must identify and recognize its relevance in the mass market by using an approach to customer segmentation. 

Businesses can use consumer segmentation to help identify the most effective and innovative product and service offerings. Michel states that nearly all industries need a tool to get the insights and make necessary adjustments or additions to their products and services to ensure customers’ requirements are fulfilled.

As one of the leading banks in Indonesia, Michel appreciates Maybank Indonesia for defining its customers by applying a customer-centric approach and adding digital advancement to create an avenue to understand better and, at the same time, meet its customer’s needs. 

A Paradigm Shift in Mindset and Tech Approach 

Michel describes that the main challenge in a transformation journey usually starts with shifting the paradigm and mindset of the incumbent executive, management, and operational level about the urgency and necessity of having a focus on continuous improvement and transformation. It’s always the case in a large-scale organization that they tend to be comfortable with their current performance without really realizing that there’s a grave threat if they do not try to change and can adapt or adopt to the rapid change of the world.

He adds that it requires a lot of patience, listening, communication, and consistency to be able to change and make everyone in the organization on board with the need for transformation. As the agent of change for the Bank, Michel reveals that he strives to ensure that the team can continuously show the real benefit and business value, even if it’s small, by having a pilot-based approach to every digital innovation that needs to be introduced. He presumes that it also embraces all units in the organization and includes the customer to be part of the journey and evolution of the change. 

A String of Invaluable Leadership Traits 

According to Michel, first and foremost, the basic knowledge of how financial institutions work is paramount. Secondly, knowledge of the fundamental and up-to-date digital technology and trend will help navigate the ever faster changing environment of the digital financial industry. Knowledge of data analytics is as necessary as comprehensive data analytics for the team to understand customers’ needs and pain points better. Hence, the company can deliver superior products and services to win against the competition. Lastly, as with any leader, soft skill sets such as leadership, communication, and relationship building, are crucial in managing and running superior teams to deliver the business target.

Delivering Personalized Solutions through ‘Enterprise Data’

In Maybank Indonesia, Michel states that the team is confident and believes that embarking on digital transformation is a critical step and key enabler to successfully embracing the future and understanding customers’ needs. The bank has been on a continuous journey to deliver the most relevant yet, personalized solution that makes banking activities more accessible, faster, simpler, convenient, and secure. Michel discloses that putting the customer at the core of the strategy and focusing on addressing the customer needs and pain points individually through a hyper-personalization approach are needed to develop digital banking service capabilities and solutions.

He highlights that Maybank defines its customer target according to their life stage, personas, and behaviour through big data analytics, better known as the micro-segmentation approach. This approach enables the bank to provide a tailored and relevant solution for each of the different personas. Michel states that they have defined key micro-segment targets as young families, young professionals, mid-lifers, silver age, and golden age. The team designs digital banking capabilities and product solutions differently based on the uniqueness of every one of those segments. One of the unique propositions is to provide a digital solution that serves all communities and societies with conventional and Islamic banking solutions available within the same digital platform. 

Real Empathy, Real Transformation, Real Results 

Michel puts forward that the key to delivering a successful enterprise-wide digital transformation is to ensure alignment among all stakeholders through consistent communication from top management and leaders in all units. Secondly, he remarks that understanding the pain point of the customers and internal stakeholders is crucial in designing and delivering the initiatives so that all stakeholders will well accept the initiatives. To understand the pain points, empathy is a key trait that transformation leaders must possess to ensure success in delivering the transformation agenda and initiatives.

Digitization at the Heart of Uplifting Customer Experience 

Michel indicates that his main goal is to ensure that digital capability will be the main component that can significantly uplift the customer experience and remain convenient for doing their daily activities and transactions with the organization they are dealing with. He believes that digitization is the primary core enabler that helps to aid customers so that they are able to carry out their daily activities in a simpler, convenient, and secure manner. The goal is to ensure that the bank can bring a one-stop lifestyle solution for customers via the digital solution that the team introduces.

In addition to that, he opines that it is also important that digitization can significantly simplify and improve the efficiencies/effectiveness of operations, where it will also help improve staff’s wellbeing, productivity, and work efficiency. This also includes reducing the operational risk via a higher accuracy on the work output via digital and improving the operational discipline and precision.

To a Prosperous Banking Future with Disruptive Technologies 

Michel foresees the following banking industry trends in 2022 and ahead:

  • With the accelerated digitalization of people’s daily life since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the demand to access financial services through digital channels has increased tremendously, and the growth will continue in 2022 
  • In Indonesia, from 2019 to 2021, mobile banking transaction volume has grown by a CAGR of 53% and internet banking by 39%
  • To cope with the more demanding customers and win the competition, banks must continue to adapt and offer relevant financial services that can be accessed digitally, anytime, anywhere, using customer-preferred devices
  • The latest emerging trend in digitalizing financial services is how banks can innovate quickly and at a scale and humanize or put back the human aspect in the digital services
  • Banks must reimagine how their businesses work and leverage the available new technology to innovate swiftly and at a scale. In addition, to grow and innovate at a scale, building a banking platform by leveraging API technology and partnership with third parties can be an attractive strategy.
  • While humanizing digital financial services, banks can utilize new technology such as AI, NLP, and big data to provide a proactive, personalized recommendation instead of delivering a standard one fit for all solutions
  • Banks can leverage those technologies to improve the customer experience and also increase efficiency and cost reduction
  • The extensive digitalization in the banking industry has also led to the birth of many digital-only or Neobanks which have led the traditional banks to up their digital play to remain relevant with increasingly digital-savvy customers, especially the Gen Z and Millenial segments

For Maybank Indonesia, he declares that the focus is to continue developing the enhancements of digital banking services to deliver a far more superior customer experience, particularly in the spectrum of financial planning through digital wealth, digital liabilities, digital lending, and digital payment. At the same time, more focus is on strengthening the digital platform to facilitate the customers in conducting banking transactions and assist customers in managing their finances virtually. 

Michel predicts that new and advanced technologies will continue to be explored and utilized to support the new use cases, such as digital signature, big data analytics, AI, NLP, IoT, and blockchain, to elevate the customer experience further using our digital financial solution.

Adding Digital Transformation to Strategic Agenda 

Digital transformation in various industries has been widespread in recent years, and the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation even faster, claims Michel. To cope with the change, he advises that leaders ensure that digital transformation is put on the strategic agenda. He asks emerging talents to become the agent of change and work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the agenda is appropriately executed. In addition, he preaches counsels leaders to always keep up-to-date with the latest digital development and trends, which is crucial to ensure the products and services offered are constantly competing to win the competition.

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