Industry Sharing Series: NTUC Link

 

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On 14 March, the Faculty organised an industry sharing session with NTUC Link Pte Ltd. The invited speakers were Mr Alan YEO, Vice President of Human Resources and Dr ZHAO Jingyuan, Director of the Link Analytics Centre at NTUC Link. The speakers shared how NTUC Link is transforming its business by leveraging on data and digital technologies to enhance innovation in a world of accelerated change and rising digital competition.

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Mr Yeo shared on the differences between NTUC Link, a social enterprise, compared to commercial enterprises, and how social enterprises mitigate the potential excesses that may 
result from a commercially-focused business. The NTUC Group of Social Enterprises includes NTUC Link, FairPrice, NTUC Income, NTUC Health, NTUC LearningHub, First Campus NTUC, Foodfare, and more. As a social enterprise, NTUC Link focuses on giving back to society and stretching the value of members’ dollars through LinkPoints and discounts.  

Mr Yeo went on to discuss how NTUC Social Enterprises addresses the social needs of Singapore, such as cost of living, financial security and healthy living, especially for the elderly, as well as provision of childcare and education opportunities for all. 

He said, “In order to consistently do good, social enterprises need to do well to be scalable and sustainable, but without profit maximising.”

He then cited the example of Plus!, Singapore’s largest consumer rewards programme spearheaded by NTUC Link, which has two million members and more than 60 merchants with more than 1,200 outlets across Singapore. To date, Plus! has impacted the lives of 90% of households in Singapore.

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Mr Yeo encouraged participants to join the team at NTUC Link and introduced the U-Digitech Internship Programmewhich offers an array of opportunities in analytics, technology, design, digital marketing, products, and operations; as well as the U-Digitech Management Programme, NTUC Enterprise’s management associate programme.

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Dr Zhao, an NUS Statistics Ph.D. alumna, shared how the Link Analytics Centre (LAC) uses analytics as a differentiating capability for NTUC’s social enterprises and Link. By building models to interpret and predict consumer behaviour, NTUC Link can uncover growth opportunities for partners through more effective marketing, better product development and stronger customer engagement. 

Quoting Steve JOBS, she said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you can tell them what they need before they realise it themselves.”

Dr Zhao explained how insights translate into actions via three steps - customer metrics (customer loyalty and engagement), to customer segmentation (purchase preference and lifestyles), and finally to 1:1 personalisation (next best offer and next merchant to try). She shared that LAC also generates merchant insights that derive accurate, actionable and scalable solutions for merchant growth.

Dr Zhao introduced the recommender system which helps users to find items of interest and item providers to deliver purchases to the right users. She also shared how the system improves user engagement through the website. The system stands out as it continuously learns and evolves based on customer feedback.

ZHOU Quan, Final Year Masters student in Chemistry said, “The session gave me a clear overview of NTUC Social Enterprises’ work and how data impacts our daily lives and businesses. I find great interest in how data analysis and consultation services are provided for small merchants in Singapore.”