KBTG opens a new chapter with ‘Human-first x AI-first Transformation’

            KASIKORN Business-Technology Group (KBTG) has showcased its potential to become a top tech organization in Southeast Asia by adopting a transformative approach that accelerates organizational change. Having achieved all of its initial goals two years ahead of schedule, KBTG is now setting new targets to advance the organization to the global level during the next three years through 'Human-first x AI-first Transformation'. This initiative aims to support KASIKORNBANK's Strategy 3+1 in creating impactful IT solutions efficiently and sustainably.

          Mr. Ruangroj Poonpol, Group Chairman - KBTG, said, “In 2019, KBTG undertook a comprehensive organizational transformation, known as the '#OneKBTG Transformation', aiming to bolster our workforce, technology, and innovative capabilities. We then set our sights on becoming a top technology organization in Southeast Asia by 2025. Remarkably, KBTG achieved all of its goals in 2023, two years ahead of schedule". In detail:

          - Brilliant Basic & Operational Excellence: KBank's IT systems have maintained the highest level of stability in Thailand for four consecutive years. Service availability has reached 99.99 percent even though the systems have supported a staggering 23.9 trillion Baht in financial transactions, accounting for 35 percent or more than one-third of the country's total. The systems also support K PLUS users – now topping 21.7 million.

          - Architecture & Infrastructure Modernization: KBTG set up a data center with lower power usage effectiveness (PUE), implementation of a hybrid cloud system, and reduction of the number of severe incidents by 60 percent, incident resolution time by 33 percent, and system downtime by 66 percent.

           - Agile Transformation & Automation: Given the transformation of end-to-end work processes, the level of operational efficiency and quality surged by 2.25 times, as evidenced by the number of IT projects delivered to KBank that reached 190.

          - Regional Expansion: Operational bases have been expanded in five important cities in four countries, namely Bangkok in Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam, Shenzhen in China, and Jakarta in Indonesia. Another notable achievement is the 'Best IT Companies 2024' award presented to KBTG Vietnam by ITviec, a leading job portal of Vietnam.

          - Innovations: Notable initiatives included MAKE by KBank and the KhunThong social chatbot, as well as several new businesses from KX, such as Kubix and Coral. Most recently, KBTG launched 'MeowJot' – an application for automatic expense recording from funds transfer slips. M.A.D. (Machine Learning, AI and Data) has been fully adopted through the application of AI in the organization. Innovations are also involved with new product creation, joint research with a world-class research laboratory, and investment in deep-tech startups and funds via KXVC.

          - People Transformation: As of the end of 2023, a total of more than 2,500 KBTG employees worked under the permanent policy of 'Work from Anywhere'. Moreover, four KBTG executives were recognized in global forums.

          Over the next three years, KBTG intends to boost its AI-based potential, while maintaining humans at the center, or a 'Human-first x AI-first Transformation', to generate benefits for customers and other stakeholders in an efficient and sustainable manner. Its plan consists of the following key components: 1) elevating IT and technology potential to global standards; 2) becoming an AI-first tech organization by innovating AI-driven products and services, and redesigning the organization; 3) propelling production capacity with M.A.D. to attain 100,000 man-days and double operational speed within three years; 4) promoting the 'AI for All' concept through provision of knowledge, understanding and capabilities related to AI for KBTG staff members and the general public; 5) transforming to a fully regional technology organization; and 6) turning KBTG into the “field of dreams" for top talents who aspire to a promising future on the technology career path.

          Ms. Voranuch Dejakaisaya, Executive Chairman, KBTG, added, “KBTG aims to become a leading technology organization in the region and is ready to advance KBank's Strategy 3+1. This involves utilizing robust and cutting-edge innovations and technologies to deliver IT excellence, reinforced by the K PLUS application, which boasts a service availability of up to 99.99 percent, securing its longstanding leadership in mobile banking".

          In 2024, KBTG remains steadfast in its commitment to continuous growth and stability through strategic IT investments with a budget of 8-9 billion baht. The focus lies in rearchitecting end-to-end credit systems, upgrading wealth management platforms, AI, credit cards, and infrastructure as a service. The target is to support Strategy 3+1 through KBTG's innovations in four key areas: 1) delivering value through investment in IT delivery, aimed at improving quality and generating new revenue through S-Curve businesses; 2) enhancing operation and cost efficiency in areas of budgeting, operational process, quality, and risk management; 3) boosting technology capabilities through leveraging the full potential of data, AI, cloud, and other technologies while also revamping lending architecture to support KBank; and 4) uplifting people capabilities by allocating resources to skill enhancement, fostering leadership, and reinforcing values and culture under the ONE KBTG ethos.

           In the realm of regional growth, both K-Tech and KBTG Vietnam have consistently developed new technologies for the Bank. These include lending and data platforms in China and the K PLUS Vietnam application. Regarding KBank's recent investment in PT Bank Maspion Indonesia Tbk, KBTG has played a crucial role in elevating the IT platform, infrastructure, security, and oversight for Bank Maspion, and is aimed at ensuring efficient and effective service delivery in Indonesia.

          Dr. Thadpong Pongthawornkamol, Managing Director, KBTG, said, “AI is becoming a general-purpose technology. It might not be apparent at first glance, but it is undoubtedly omnipresent. KBTG is one of the pioneers in the AI landscape both in Thailand and across the region". The company has created an AI ecosystem in various domains, as follows:

           Technology: KBTG Labs has joined forces with MIT Media Lab in conducting co-research works since 2022, while designing cutting-edge and user-friendly technologies such as facial recognition and facial liveness detection. Due to its achievement in facial liveness technology development, KBTG is currently the sole organization in Asia and the third globally to receive the highest level (Level 2) certification from iBeta international standard testing. Additionally, KBTG has launched FinLearn – a new AI-powered platform to enhance learning systems with responsive feedback.

          Commercialization: The introduction of technologies researched and developed by KBTG Labs to the market will be overseen by KX, a venture builder under KBTG. The focus is to promote application of these technologies among customers and partners. A key advantage is that the development team is based in Thailand, allowing for immediate support and troubleshooting. KBTG has thus far launched two AI platforms and services, namely:

           - AINU: AI solution using advanced verification technologies. Three key features include optical character recognition (OCR) – data extraction from images, liveness detection through facial scan, and facial recognition for identity verification.

          - Car AI: AI technology for automated vehicle damage inspection and assessment from photographs, especially for the insurance business, used car trade, and other related purposes.

          In​vestment: KXVC has invested in AI startups and partnered with AI Fund led by Andrew Ng, founder of DeepLearning.AI. The company aims to scout for new AI technologies worldwide to enhance business capabilities, shorten the time to market for technology development, and collaborate with new partners to upscale its AI business and serve as a gateway between Southeast Asia and other regions in a sustainable manner.