Deloitte’s Jiak See shares her thoughts on responding to customer expectations with technology and data

In today’s business environment, Jiak See explains the power of harnessing technology and analytics in building a more resilient business model.

Jiak See is the Financial Advisory Leader for Asia Pacific at Deloitte. With almost 30 years of experience in corporate finance, auditing and business, financial and accounting advisory services, she has a lot of expertise in multiple fields that span across industries such as F&B, retail, logistics, insurance, property, manufacturing and hotels. 

Her extensive career in finance includes end-to-end mergers and acquisitions — from strategy, deal execution, financing to post-merger integration. With both years and experience in the industry at her disposal, Jiak See’s stands by a work philosophy that involves building long-term trusting relationships with her clients and colleagues. 

Jiak See is a member of the Deloitte Global Financial Advisory Executive Committee and Deloitte Asia Pacific Executive Committee. Some of her other affiliations include developing talent and giving back to the community by serving as a board member of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) and Yellow Ribbon Fund. She also leads Deloitte's Women in Leadership program for Global Financial Advisory.

As a judge in this year’s SBR National Business Awards and International Business Awards 2022, Singapore Business Review spoke with Jiak about transformations within Singapore’s businesses and how data serves a dual purpose in managing the workforce and delivering better customer experiences. 

In your view, how are Singapore businesses transforming to respond to customers evolving demands?

Businesses have been rethinking their strategies as they continue to operate in an environment that is repeatedly disrupted by new technologies, business models and the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapidly increasing use of the Internet and smartphones have resulted in consumers becoming used to a world in which they have access to products, services and experiences anytime and on-demand.

We have seen businesses exercising flexibility to quickly pivot their operating model to satisfy their customers and protect market share. Most business and IT leaders have embarked on digital transformation efforts, seeking to use the cloud for workloads like development, testing or application deployments. They recognise that having the ability to quickly iterate and optimise customer experiences and proactively manage engagement are key to building and retaining a competitive edge in a market.

Tell us about your work as the Financial Advisory Leader in Deloitte and why did you take on this role?

As the Leader of Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Financial Advisory (FA), I lead over 5,000 professionals across 19 geographies in the Asia Pacific region. I am also an Executive Member of our Global FA Council. Leveraging close to 30 years of experience, I advise clients on mergers and acquisitions—from strategy and deal execution to financing and post-merger integration—and across a spectrum of industries. I have established a trusted, coherent and effective group of seasoned leaders across multiple cultures, all sharing the same vision – to deliver world-class services and results. My passion is to help others grow and be successful as leaders themselves. Having the opportunity to make a lasting impact on our practice, our people and our clients’ businesses is the ultimate motivation and reason I took on this role. Leading this business in AP and planting the seed for our next generation keeps me inspired and fulfilled every day.

Data is at a premium in today’s business environment. How can businesses leverage analytics to grow?

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left many businesses searching for new and innovative ways to ensure business continuity. Many businesses have started to use business intelligence and data analytics to make informed decisions for better customer experience and managing the workforce. This transformation is induced by a paradigm shift both in consumer behaviour and business operations. Businesses are taking a data-driven approach and are integrating data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science to optimise their processes and prepare themselves for future circumstances. 

For better customer experience

Data analytics helps businesses draw insights about customers' buying patterns, pricing, preferences, and other relevant data points. These data insights help businesses in strategic decision-making about marketing, pricing, and delivering products and services. In addition, businesses can use sentiment analysis to gauge how customers will respond to their and competitors’ products.

For managing the workforce

The remote working culture is here to stay for long and businesses need to manage the workforce optimally.

Business intelligence and data analysis help identify processes and other bottlenecks to take necessary measures to ensure that there are no delays or communication gaps in them. Businesses can effectively use data analytics to determine the workflow for a specific time frame and arrange the workforce required to complete the operations smoothly. Data analytics can also be used to gauge the performance of teams operating remotely.

As a leader in the finance industry, what is your legacy to the next generation of leaders?

Having spent over 25 years leading teams to advise clients across Asia, plus leading leaders as the Asia financial advisory head, I always believed in making an impact on our people and our clients. I believe in leading with passion and authenticity, inspiring those around me to better connect, collaborate and contribute to our business and our communities. I hope that when I pass the baton to future leaders, they have the confidence to take our business to the next level through this culture of compassion and integrity.

As a judge in the SBR International Business Awards & National Business Awards, what are your criteria for selecting the winners?

Uniqueness & Innovation - Did the project introduce new or cutting-edge innovation?

Effectiveness & Impact - Did the project achieve its objectives and targets? What measures have been used to assess its success? What was the impact on your company and industry? If the project is a solution provided for a client, what is the overall feedback of your client?

Dynamism - Is the project flexible to changes and progressive opportunities?

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