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SINGAPORE: On the Bank’s third-quarter results briefing on Monday, Nov 6, DBS Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Piyush Gupta, revealed that in 2023, four out of five major disruptions were due to bug or software issues. During the briefing on the bank’s third-quarter results, Mr. Gupta emphasized the need for effective change control and addressing bugs as technology systems become more complex. He noted, “The big issue to me is, how do you make sure that you get good change control because the reality is that as you use a lot of different systems and architecture, you will run into bugs,” The Straits Times reports.

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), previously mentioned underlying issues at the bank. Responding to queries about these issues, Mr Gupta stressed the need for deep engineering expertise, as some of the problems were deeply embedded and challenging to detect.

Many recent disruptions were linked to human errors or software bugs in the systems of the bank’s vendors, he said. Collaborating with vendors to resolve these issues is a time-consuming process. Hence, the bank is actively working to strengthen its engineering team’s capabilities, making bug troubleshooting more efficient. The bank aims to introduce a comprehensive set of measures to enhance service availability and expects to have a more robust recovery process by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

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One of the key measures involves implementing more rigorous and comprehensive processes to ensure the proper functioning of developed systems. DBS Bank has also allocated a special budget of $80 million to enhance system resiliency. Additionally, the bank intends to decouple its systems, enabling essential services to remain accessible even if specific channels face issues. For example, the bank’s payment service operates across multiple technology platforms, and decoupling its underlying infrastructure will enable customers to continue making payments through the bank’s other digital platforms in the event of a disruption.

Mr Gupta speculated that the surge in bugs may be related to the increased emphasis on software quality globally, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people work from home.

Consequently, DBS Bank has been barred by the country’s central bank from initiating new businesses or making non-essential IT changes for six months, with a focus on strengthening its digital banking services. During this period, it is also prohibited from reducing the number of branches and automated teller machines (ATMs).

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When questioned about the potential impact of these measures on the bank’s operations, Mr Gupta clarified that DBS Bank did not have any immediate plans for new ventures and had not reduced its branch or ATM network in recent years. He acknowledged that some new product features and services might need to be deferred temporarily, but he stressed the importance of building resiliency in the bank’s operations during its six-month consolidation period mandated by MAS. /TISG