ING Bank says a six-year transition to DevOps and agile development methodologies is playing a critical part in the achievement of its 'Think Forward' digital transformation strategy.
Speaking to a conference of over 400 IT engineers at a DevOps conference in London, the Dutch bank's global CIO Ron van Kemenade says a big investment in new talent and an agile development environment is paying dividends as the bank adjusts to a mobile and online future.
"As ING’s customers, with their fast-evolving financial needs, are increasingly using mobile banking and mobile apps as the primary means to do their banking, ING’s Information Technology (IT) department has become the beating heart of the bank," he told the audience.
in 2010 ING started its transformation with the development of its mobile banking app, eventually extending the approach throughout its Dutch IT development & IT operations activities.
“We wanted to establish a culture and environment where building, testing and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently and more reliably. When beginning this journey we started with what matters most: people," van Kemenade says.
Putting the focus on engineering talent and creating multi-disciplinary teams where software developers partner with operations and business staff has led to more automated processes, a sharp reduction of handovers and a "collaborative performance culture", he adds.
In November 2014, ING announced plans to cut 1700 jobs and spend EUR200 million to simplify and upgrade its IT systems over the next three years. The transition has seen the bank launch a series of global hackathons, accelerator programmes and collaborative ventures with as many as 45 fintech startups.
Says van Kemenade: “There was a beginning to this journey, but there will be no end. An end would put a stop to the transformation, while in fact you always need to make sure you keep getting better for the customer”.
Speaking at the same event, Jonathan Smart, head of development services at Barclays, talked up an eighteen-month push by the bank to incorporate agile processes across the enterprise
Over the past year-and-a-half, the amount of “strategic spend” going into agile practices and processes has risen from four percent to more than 50%, says Smart, and the company now has over 800 teams involved.