The Data Storyteller

Meet Brandon, a man who interprets data like a professor interprets Shakespeare.

We tell stories every day. It could be about that lovely holiday you took last month, or the uncle you met on the bus and struck up a conversation with. Brandon Ho tells stories too – but in a different way.

As an analytics translator in DBS, Brandon analyses data to find the stories waiting to be discovered. He shares these stories with his colleagues which, in turn, leads to informed decisions and business impact.

“I have a passion for data-driven decision making,” says Brandon. “Much analytic work stays at the theory level. I focus on business impact.”

Analytics should help us make decisions, such as, should we promote this app or something else? Or who should we target our promotions to?

Brandon is currently working on a project that looks at why customers call the bank, and how, before the call, the bank can address customer needs by offering digital alternatives – so customers do not have to go through the hassle of picking up a phone and calling in for help.

As project manager and data analytics translator, Brandon decides on the analytics priorities and strategy and looks at how machine learning and advanced analytics can be incorporated to help the team reach their goal of serving more customer needs through digital services.

Various experiments are still underway but in two months, the team already managed to convert a sizable proportion of customers who called the service hotline to using digital services.

Brandon, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, acknowledges he took an unconventional path that ended with him being at DBS.

He’s worked in Africa at a non-profit organisation that provides consulting support to small and medium enterprises, led the Philippines operations of a Swedish insurtech that designs micro-insurance products for the masses, and worked in another fintech in Singapore with a focus on external data.

Brandon travelling in Sri Lanka in 2016. Photo: Brandon

As an avid traveller, he’s visited or worked in over 50 countries in five continents – although his desire to explore the world has taken a backseat to watching his one-year-old daughter grow up.

“I have done fairly random things in my whole career,” he laughs. “Sometimes your journey changes, but somehow you find a way. Now I’m settled on working with data as that’s where my passion and strengths are.”

His words of advice for budding analytics professionals?

“Analysing data could sound nerdy but it gives you the power to back up your insight and recommendations. People may doubt your experience or decisions, but they can’t simply dismiss properly-done data analysis.

With my knowledge in analytics, I can go into any meeting and contribute - not relying on seniority or tens of years of experience, but on insight backed by data. To me, that’s really cool.”

“The bottom line is, data analytics can create impact. Impact is what all businesses should focus on.”