DBS Bank has encountered significant challenges in its journey to adopt artificial intelligence (AI), realizing that success goes beyond developing training models. The chief analytics officer of DBS, Sameer Gupta, highlighted that data had been a significant hurdle in this process. In 2018, the Singapore bank embarked on its mission to integrate AI across various domains, including analytics capabilities, data culture, upskilling, and data enablement.
The bank focused on establishing a robust infrastructure to facilitate AI adoption, involving setting up a data platform, data management structure, and data governance. The bank introduced the PURE framework for assessing all data use cases. The framework stands for purposeful, unsurprising, respectful, and explainable, guiding responsible data use.
The data platform, ADA, emerged as a centralized source for DBS to ensure data governance, quality, security, and discoverability. More than 95% of relevant data for DBS’ AI-driven operations are now discoverable on the ADA platform. This powerful platform hosts over 5.3 petabytes of data, encompassing a variety of datasets, including videos and structured data.
However, reaching this stage was challenging, as Gupta disclosed. Organizing and making the data discoverable demanded significant manual effort and human expertise. Extracting metadata required labor-intensive hours, and tools for automating such tasks were scarce. The bank used various applications, each housing data vital for their AI projects.
Despite the hurdles, DBS successfully runs over 300 AI and machine learning projects, contributing to an SG$150 million ($112.53 million) revenue increase and SG$30 million ($22.51 million) in risk avoidance through improved credit monitoring. These projects span multiple functions, including HR, legal, and fraud detection.
DBS is set to amplify its economic value and cost avoidance through AI, aiming to achieve SG$350 million ($262.56 million) this year and aspiring to reach SG$ 1 billion ($750.17 million) within the next three years. As Singapore’s largest bank, DBS employs around 1,000 data engineers, data scientists, and data engineers.