With 95% of all customer interactions now passing through digital channels, National Australia Bank is adopting a DevOps approach to product delivery cycles to keep the technology moving inline with customer's rapidly changing needs.
Speaking at a conference in Sydney, NAB CIO David Boyle said that online delivery channels are throwing up fresh challenges for banks as "most of our customers don’t walk into branches these days".
"Approximately 70 per cent of our customer logons in digital are through mobile devices now," he said. "Our customers are raising the bar. They don’t expect quarterly or six month releases. New features have to be turning up day in and day out."
Boyle says NAB has adopted an agile Dev/Ops and 'on-platform' innovation approach to industrialise new product releases over mobile channels, pointing to the release of the bank's new Internet app as a prime example.
Christened E-301, the project set out to create a three-second login with zero downtime and a one-hour update cycles for new code releases. Prior to development, the bank sat down with 4000 customers, who earmarked 2700 items of functionality that they wanted to see built into the the new app.
"We went live last night and it’s all gone smoothly," says Boyle. "Today, we’ve already got some feedback from customers that say they would like to see a subtotal of all of their accounts at the bottom, so we’ll put that into the next release."
He says the team working on the project are charged with rolling out new features "every fortnight in perpetuity".
Similarly, the bank's new Personal Banking Origination Platform, which works to plug the digital and personal banking systems together, is also applying lessons learned from agile delivery to perform regular monthly releases to continuously evolve the application in line with changing customer needs.
"This is what I call the ‘ever green model of technology'", says Boyle. "Where all of the platforms in the organisation have this long-running persistent team and an agile, consistently delivering model, then the thing that fundamentally changes - and this is where the real strategy comes to life - is our environment actually gets simpler over time."
He says that for the first time in his career, the bank has actually finished the year with less technology than it started with. "We turned off more than we added in," he says. "What it was, was continuously building more agile platforms, encouraging demand to come on platform and then naturally, you start to see more decommissioning and adding on of new."