Money FM 89.3, a leading technology based radio station in Singapore invited Seng Hooi Soi from Aspire Systems to speak about the progress of the IT services based organization and shared some insights into the AI and ML framework which Aspire Systems was coming up with. He gives some insights into the current situation of the banking and fintech industry and also talks about the enormous potential that’s available in the market. With investments in the sector rising, he reiterates the need to be attentive to the customer’s requirements at all times. Here are some of the excerpts from the interview.

Could you briefly tell us about what Aspire Systems does? 

Aspire Systems is a global end to end technology services firm for independent service vendors (ISVs) and Fortune 1000 enterprises. We work with over 100 companies globally which includes leading banks and fintech companies in Singapore. Our core philosophy, “Attention Always” communicates our belief in individualized care and attention for our customers, employees and the society. Apart from our headquarters in Singapore, Aspire Systems also has an extensive presence across US, Mexico, UK, Poland, Benelux, Middle East and India.

How has the space in the industry changed since Aspire’s inception in the 90s and how has it kept up? 

Aspire’s inception in the 90s started with outsourcing product development where we were one of the few players in the market. As the digital transformation wave caught on, our services expanded in order to cater to strategic IT services right from agile engineering services like product engineering, quality engineering, DevOps and converged infrastructure services to other digital disruptions like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, digital banking and so on. Three years ago, due to the ever growing demand for technologies in the banking space, we launched our banking and financial services business vertical that only focuses on digital transformation for banks. We as a company constantly evolve to meet the IT needs for our customers.

Could you explain about the new framework, its use of AI, its working and implementation?

The only way for banks to survive today is by individualizing or personalizing their services. Aspire Systems’ artificial intelligence framework for banks aims at building machine learning based predictive models for specific banking outcomes. A few outcomes can include identification & prediction of various customer segments by deeper profiling and understanding of customers which can provide personalized recommendations for upselling and cross-selling of opportunities.

We take this one step further, where the framework can even allow banks to predict customer sentiments and reduce customer churn –  for example a bank may be able to predict customers who are unhappy with their services and can step up to provide tailor made investment services.

Overall, this new AI framework helps banks to create a data driven culture by establishing a hub based on customer intelligence. Loyalty obviously would be at its peak when banks decide to opt for this new framework.

Could you describe the gap present in the market that this new framework is trying to fill?

Currently there are many artificial intelligence products in the banking industry. The framework is not a product but is an underlying technology structure for banks and fintech companies to follow in order to make good use of their customers’ data. This framework is customizable based on different technology landscape that exists at banks and fintech companies.

The framework first starts by asking the right questions to ensure data correctness, consistency and completeness. This will address key gaps that will protect the integrity of the data through strong data quality by:

  • Bringing together all the data from different sources (that is different Systems of Records)
  • Applying data rules and master data management techniques to enrich the customer data
  • Following which Aspire Systems builds automated ML models to run with customer data
  • Data in the customer hub will be constantly monitored for correctness, completeness and consistency.

 How is Aspire Systems gearing up for these new technologies?

At Aspire, we are ramping up our digital services so that new technologies can be constantly added to our services portfolio. In fact, we recently set up our new Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence and Analytics for the banking industry.

Another thing that I would like to mention is about our partnerships with Temenos, Service Now and Automation Anywhere. We have managed to adopt new technologies and use partnerships as a platform to digitally transform businesses seamlessly.

How has Aspire Systems been able to continue its focus on “Attention Always”?

We drive home the message “Attention Always” to both our potential customer and to our employees. From a customer perspective, the customer is central to what we do; we will deliver on what we promise and get it right for them, given our strong technical capabilities coupled with the differentiated attention. Our objective as an organization is to build a great place for Singaporean people to love their work and to believe in growing their careers, driven by our philosophy “Attention Always”

What was 2018 like for Aspire Systems?

2018 was an exciting year for Aspire Systems in terms of expanding our geographical presence and our portfolio of services through vendor partnerships. One highlight was when Aspire Systems won the Temenos Regional Partner of the Year for the Asia Pacific Region as we always put digital transformation at the heart of banking operations. We have also expanded our presence in Mexico, Dubai and Poland this year. We’ve got big banks joining us this year in Singapore as well as in South East Asia. Most importantly, we were able to deliver promising results to our customers and as a result, cemented key relationships.

What are the aspirations of Aspire Systems in 2019?

With Aspire Systems’ new Artificial Intelligence framework, we hope to onboard and serve leading fintech brands and banks in Singapore and most parts of South East Asia. Since artificial intelligence is gaining specular momentum in the banking industry, we hope to help banks with artificial intelligence services this year.

What was noteworthy in 2018 with regard to the business environment?

A number of changes have happened to the business landscape. Open Banking has kick started a financial services revolution. Fintech has evolved as a result of this outcome. Singapore has truly become a hub for great fintech companies. These fintech companies have ushered in new business models to fundamentally transform the way banks engage with their customers with the help of products and delivery channels.

Apart from this, a number of digital disruptions like Artificial intelligence and machine learning have seen a fair degree of maturity in the Singaporean market. It would be interesting to watch how Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence can transform operational intelligence in the near future. 

How was 2018 for you and what would you like to see in 2019?

2018 helped me to understand where the banking industry was inclining towards in terms of technology. I look forward to closely working with banks in 2019 with our AI expertise.

Aspire Systems has been having an artificial intelligence solution in the pipeline, which would be coming to light in the early stages of 2019. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two vital aspects of fintech growth. Banks have started implementing artificial intelligence laden channels to extract customer data, feed it into the system and obtain quality customer intelligence from it. What 2019 beholds for fintech and for the banking industry remains to be seen. However there is some sort of surety that it is not going to be quiet.

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Ashish Ninan Cherian

Ashish Cherian is a marketing enthusiast who has an extreme interest in analytics and in studying customer behaviour. He wants to progress deeply in these areas and is keen on learning something new every day. He also loves to read, travel, and debate and is a huge foodie.
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