Voranuch Dejakaisaya, Chief Information & Operations Officer, Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), Thailand

Women in GovTech Special Report 2019.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation. With over seven decades as a financial intermediary, our organisation, Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), has not only played an important role as a financial institution for the real sector, but equally important, financial inclusion of small business enterprises as well as the underbanked segments has also been one of our key missions. This has resulted in both employment creation, and an uplift of socio-economic development and well-being of millions of our customers. Over the past year, innovative financial technology has been employed in support of both corporate and retail customers’ transactions resulting in enhancement of transaction security and efficiency. Among others, blockchain technology has been introduced to facilitate corporate customers’ international remittance transactions, thus helping to accommodate regional trade and financing. On the retail side, our award winning Krungsri Mobile Application (KMA) has not only demonstrated our employment of new technology to accommodate the shifting of customers’ preferences, but also further advanced our financial inclusion advocacy. The shift from traditional financial transaction channels of branches and ATMs to the mobile phone channel has resulted in the inclusion of previously underbanked or underserved segments. The recent statistics showed that the financial transactions conducted via KMA have remarkably increased by 770% since 2017. What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2019? 2019 was an exciting year for me and the Thai banking industry, which was also coincided with the challenges faced by the banking sector on various facets - among others, the disruption from both FinTech and non-bank players as well as the unprecedented speed of digital adoption in the Thai society. For me, it is an opportune time to create a new paradigm to enhance services for our customers. 2019 thus centred around new digital banking platforms. Various payment platforms were initiated and rolled out, among others, the Thai government’s PromptPay and QR payment; our cross-border remittance platform; the eco platform leveraging API technology, including AI or chatbot for customer services; credit underwriting; and the pilot programme for collateral appraisal. What is the best thing you have experienced in your career? As a technology leader, apart from challenges of the new generation of technologies, very often, one must manage multiple projects such as platform migration and integration on tight deadlines. And, in my case, I also got involved in various merger and acquisition projects, which often involve a diverse variety of stakeholders with different backgrounds and functionalities. I strongly believe that people and teamwork are the most important assets and key ingredients for the organisation’s success. And, leading and managing talents in a cross-cultural context, while ensuring the project successful outcomes and earning the right respects, have been one of my best experiences in my technology and operations career. If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2019, what would it be? Agility makes the impossible, possible. With the right mindset and agility, organisations can evolve to thrive in an environment that demands constant change. A new way of working, a new paradigm, and winning solutions can and will emerge as the result. What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2020? Given its imitation of the working of human brain in processing data and creating patterns for use in decision making, deep learning is an artificial intelligence function that I would like to see being adopted for more use cases of banking applications in 2020. What are your priorities for 2020? Open banking architectures are scheduled to be comprehensively rolled out throughout our banking organisation in 2020. This architecture will include, among others, mobile banking to service customers for the most optimal service level, IT security and data privacy systems, as well as making the best use of AI and machine learning for both customer analytics and service experience enhancements. What is one challenge you would like to take on in 2020? To enhance our organisation’s agility with a flexible and innovative infrastructure to scale, and the capability to meet both market conditions and opportunities, the exploration of migrating our new core banking infrastructure to the cloud will be one of the challenges that I would like to take on in 2020. What has been your fondest memory from the past year? Being a woman and a recipient for the Asian Banker’s ‘Chief Information and Technology Officer of the Year’ made me very proud. This award not only demonstrates that I, as a female individual, can achieve this top recognition in the area where innovative technology defines future success, but also serves, I hope, as an inspiration for women across all career fields. They too can be granted equal and full voice, opportunities, participation, and leadership everywhere and in every aspect they can contribute to.