DBS Transformation (C): The World’s Best Digital Bank

Case Solution

Sean Meehan, Pallivathukkal Cherian Abraham
IMD ()

This case series examines the two-stage transformation of DBS 2009 2017. In both phases, the bank places the customer at the center of its considerations about structuring, resources, and market play. In 2009, DBS was a poorly performing national bank with overseas branches, losing traction and lacking a compelling strategy. Under new leadership, Case A describes the first implementation of its restructuring strategy with the goal of creating a world-class and competitive multinational bank. DBS has to decide which foreign market to focus on and how to enter. It raises the question of the role of fintechs in shaping the future of banking and its likely impact on the bank’s strategy. Case B describes DBS’s Pureplay digital entry into the Indian market, its strategic restart now aiming to be as a 22,000-person start-up, triggered by its assessment of the Alibaba / Ant Finances fintech landscape. The case describes significant progress but asks if this is sufficient given the evolution of the industry. Case C describes the company’s progress through 2017 and underlines why Euromoney named DBS the best digital bank in the world. He asked if this progress was sufficient given the magnitude of the sectoral changes. Learning Objective: This case series allows students to examine the implementation of a customer-facing strategy in a disruptive industry. Specifically, students learn how to implement a customer-oriented strategy, how to improve the agility of an organization, how to incorporate an innovative culture.

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