Ros Yusoff: The new tech stack will enable us to have a full visibility of the end-to-end view across our system.

EVER since the pandemic, there has been a huge upsurge in the use of online applications to assist us in our daily lives, from purchasing items to bill payments and bank transactions.

With regard to the latter, there has been much progress as banks embrace technology to provide more services to its range of customers, including corporations and individuals.

They have even assisted small businesses to become more agile and better to weather the challenges they may face in the digital age. One of the many ways banks do this is by providing a range of services that can be accessed remotely.

For example, enabling customers to monitor their accounts and make smarter decisions in managing their savings, or by ensuring their investment portfolios can be managed conveniently anytime, anywhere.

This rapid growth in digital banking presents an opportunity for banks to enhance their touchpoints and to stay relevant in its consumers’ daily lives.

Customers today expect to have essentially a bank in their hand, pocket or bag at all times; one that they can bring with them anywhere, and that is personalised to meet their own needs.

CIMB’s approach

Investing in digitalisation has been a key priority in CIMB’s Forward23+ strategic plan to build technology resilience and develop new and advanced digital capabilities to increase efficiency and improve the overall customer experience.

In order to support an ever-growing number of concurrent users and transactions, the bank aims to continuously innovate to ensure its banking services are supported by the right platforms and technology infrastructure.

CIMB has recently upped its ante with a new app called CIMB OCTO, its next generation mobile banking app designed to deliver new features and personalisation through a collaborative approach.

CIMB’s group chief technology and data officer, Ros Yusoff joined the bank in August 2020.

She has been instrumental in the development and deployment of CIMB OCTO, taking great care to ensure the new app is aligned with CIMB’s customer-centric goals.

“The feedback we would obtain from our users over the coming months and years will truly shape how this mobile banking app evolves as we stay true to the promise of CIMB OCTO being a mobile banking solution that is personalised for the customer, by the customer,” she said.

Seamless interaction

CIMB OCTO is designed based on a microservices model – an architectural approach to software development that is composed of small independent services developed and operating separately.

This approach allows CIMB to quickly test, maintain and deploy new and meaningful features and functions to its customers.

In addition, the app was designed around the principles of standardisation, scalability and segregation.

Ros explained that standardisation ensures the functions offered within the app are correct and presented in a simple manner.

It also ensures that the codes developed are repeatable, while simplifying the operations for better user experience.

“Scalability has been one of the most important lessons learnt from the pandemic,” explained Ros.

“As customers started adopting digital transactions quickly, CIMB OCTO must be able to scale-up fast.”

While still leveraging its readily available technologies in the backend, CIMB found the ability to listen and serve its customers digitally at the speed as required.

This was fundamental in forming the technology solution that gave rise to CIMB OCTO.

Lastly, segregation involves identifying tech domains that can co-exist harmoniously, yet remain segregated for higher availability and security when flawless integration is required.

Enhanced capabilities

The new app is built by a new set of technologies grouped together, called a “tech stack” with an operational infrastructure that focuses on providing enhanced performance, stability and security.

“The new tech stack will enable us to have a full visibility with an end-to-end view across our system, from user traffic, service availability and network connectivity to any potential bottlenecks in the system to ensure that we are always ready to address any potential issue, or even anticipate any emerging ones proactively,” added Ros.

She added that the bank has in recent years built enhanced real-time monitoring capabilities to detect potential interruptions early. “This has become our key focus for the past two years.”

The bank has currently analysts monitoring the system on a 24/7 basis to ensure any potential issues can be detected and addressed promptly.

This has gradually improved our service availability, performance and stability of our banking apps.

Better security

Financial institutions such as banks store and process a high volume of data, and today they are expected to be at the cutting edge of cybersecurity protection.

CIMB is no exception, with its own zero-trust foundation security approach that uses a machine learning-based threat detection engine to protect CIMB OCTO, while providing smooth, uninterrupted service to its users.

The bank has also been upgrading its fraud management system on an on-going basis to better identify potential fraud and scam indicators.

This involves continuously fine-tuning its fraud detection rules and leveraging machine learning tools, such as artificial intelligence to best predict potential fraud scenarios, in order to safeguard customers from fraudulent activities.

Experience CIMB OCTO App now

Customers can already experience CIMB OCTO now, even as the bank continues to roll out new features in phases.

They are also encouraged to provide feedback before the app’s full release.

In the meantime, CIMB Clicks will continue to be available concurrently to complement CIMB OCTO, ensuring that customers will have the option and flexibility of accessing banking services as required on either digital platform.

The CIMB OCTO App is expected to be released with its full suite of features and solutions by the first half of 2023.

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