FinTech, Treasury

DBS Prism Review: The great Technology enabler or a threat?

October 23, 2017

DBS Prism Review

When DBS first approach me through David Blair (not the ex UK Prime Minister but the well known Corporate Treasury Consultant) last Oct/Nov in 2016 about volunteering as an alpha phase tester for a Tech project for a Bank, I was (in all honesty) very skeptical. The image of being an Alpha Phase tester and Bank led Tech Project does not seem to gel in my world. I struggle to understand how would Bankers be happy to bankroll a Tech Project (read potential money burner) and get its clients to alpha test it? (bankers are asking for more critical opinions from its clients?)

Sportingly, I agreed. And man, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made! (..meeting up with another Banker, i meant..sorry folks) The guys from DBS came to my office, beamed their alpha stage product and showed me something that literally rocked my chair. I was stunned, stupefied and simply impressed.

Stunned – the product (not yet named Prism) was mind blowing. It allows the corporate treasurer to get information on country regulations and central bank rules almost in an instant. The user interface was still scratchy but it showed great promise of becoming a fuss free and almost idiot proof intuitive flow. How on earth did a Banker come up with such an idea? I thought such things only happened in the likes of a Google or Facebook (no offense the good folks in DBS Prism development team)

Stupefied – when I learnt that Piyush Gupta (DBS CEO) had given his clear support for this product (if it was to be ever made live) to be free and accessible to all users in the world. Whether you are a DBS client or not, you are allowed to use it, and for FREE! Yes, your eyes are working perfect, brain as well, DBS does not charge a single cent for using this mind blowing product! Since when did the Banks decided to embark on a social project? In any case, on behalf of the Corporate Treasury community, thank you very much DBS!

Simply Impressed – do not just take my words verbatim, try it out yourself. I’m not paid for writing this glowing review of DBS Prism. (In case you guys are wondering) I implore you to test it out, and let me know of your thoughts.

Technology: An Enabler or a Threat?

As a panelist on DBS Prism launch in Singapore, I joined 2 other fellow corporate treasurers (Damian Glendinning from Lenovo and Michael Sack from GN) together with Mr Abdul Raof Latiff from DBS to discuss about Technology and Corporate Treasury.

Some of our panelists were at the Eurofinance Barcelona and we are aware of the raving reviews that DBS Prism had garnered. And we are unanimously positive of how this innovative product will help Corporate Treasurers in our work. It is just another good example of how Technology can serve as an excellent enabler for us.

However, the question on our audience’s minds was unmistakably and unavoidably revolving around the threat of Technology and how should Corporate Treasurers and Bankers react?  Are we all prepared and are we capable and well positioned to face this challenge posed by the robots?

My opinion is clear and simple.

We should not run away from it, there is simply no hiding from Technology. It has permeated through almost every facet of our professional career and personal life. Instead of fearing it, we should learn how to use it, harness the powers of Technology and bring our game up to another level.

Echoing the views of Damian, I agree that Technology is just an enabler, a tool for Corporate Treasurers or any other Finance professionals. With this tool, we should be able to move faster, work better but that does not mean that we lose track of the fundamentals.

For example, the DBS Prism will cut down the time needed for any Corporate Treasurer to perform basic checks on possible cross border Cash Management solutions. However it does not take away the ultimate responsibilities of the Treasurer in understanding why certain regulations are in place and how exactly should we structure our solution for our organisation!

Speed is of Essence! And Speed is what Technology enables.

Have no fear, my fellow comrades and friends. I truly believe that we as human beings are more capable than machines, and we will rise up to the challenges that Technology brings. And more importantly, we will master it, utilise it and enabling us to further excel and perform better than ever before.

What do you reckon?


about author

Seng Ti is currently heading a Treasury & Finance team in a MNC and is active in the Corporate Treasury scene. He enjoys reading and discussing about current affairs, politics, life, wine and lives a normal life with his wife and 2 young kids.