On shift in the DBS command centre

16 January 2024

“It was the dead of the night, but the bank’s command centre (the room you see behind me) was completely full – team leaders from other locations had also dialled in.

Everyone was laser focused on their tasks. The ticking of the clocks in front of us was a constant reminder that we had eight hours to complete this major update to our systems in this scheduled maintenance before the bulk of our customers started using our services in the morning.

My team was on standby, ready to alert various teams and relevant stakeholders in case of an incident. Thankfully, this update went smoothly!

I work in the Enterprise Incident Management team at DBS – we act as a bridge to bring different teams together to resolve unplanned tech issues.

Once we know what we’re dealing with, we notify and work with the appropriate teams on the game plan.

Our goal – to minimise impact to our operations and most importantly, our customers.

Naturally, incidents are unpredictable, and can happen anytime. My teammates and I rotate our “on-call” times – so that there’s always someone from the team on standby at all hours, to be activated on immediate notice.

We’re also on standby during our planned maintenance periods – usually in the wee hours of the night to minimise inconvenience to our customers.

We station ourselves in the bank’s command centre for enterprise IT systems, to monitor any anomalies in our services, gather observations and insights, and take preventative actions by alerting the relevant teams.

It took a while to adjust to the odd working hours, and there have been instances where I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night, and (to the dismay of my friends), left gatherings abruptly to respond to calls.

Making plans outside of work can be hard, so I’m extremely thankful to my friends and family, who’ve been completely understanding.

It’s with their support, and my personal interest in the job, that I’ve stayed in this same role for the past nine years since graduating from school.

It’s a demanding role, and I’m one of the longest-serving members in my team.

What keeps me going is the opportunity to keep learning. As cliché as this may sound, each incident – albeit unwanted – is a chance to learn something new, which ultimately leads to the strengthening of our systems.

You can hold a thousand drills for countless scenarios, but incidents play by their own rules – no one can accurately predict how events unfold.

Still, as the bank strives to fortify our technology resilience, my teammates and I actively review our incident management procedures to identify potential gaps, and regularly work with teams across the bank to make improvements.

It’s been heartening to witness how everyone has come together, galvanised by a common goal to bolster our resiliency of our digital offerings for our customers. What it comes down to – we're all just trying to make the bank better.

What’s next? Although work is hectic right now, I’m looking forward to pursuing further studies to pick up new skills.”

- Huang Hongming, Incident Management Team