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Enhancing customer experience is one of the most common imperatives to any bank to sustain and grow. What could be some of the key focus areas that banks can work on to directly impact customer experience?
The short answer: The more product focused the teams are, the faster and efficient they can help deliver to the market. Learn how Cognizant helped a large-size bank embark on this journey through a 25% increase in productivity, shorter release cycles and improved reliability all in a span of 18 months – together modernizing their delivery and transforming the team.

A typical banking industry in today’s world is driven by certain external and internal factors that needs the bank to think ahead, think transformatively and focus on multiple strategic initiatives. A few challenges that have always been looming over the banks are:

  • Changing business models – ever growing needs of a customer.
  • Technology evolution – advent of technology that constantly challenges the status quo.
  • Regulatory and compliance pressures – cyber threats and changing regulatory frameworks.
  • Changing customer demographics – customers that demand better experience and faster services.

While every bank has their own transformation journeys at all levels (from the CXOs to the lines of business, from the programs to the portfolios) – the nucleus of these transformation is to focus on the teams on the ground that develop and deliver the products.

As banks explore new ways to run modernization, achieve faster time to market and make customers happy, we commonly see them struggle with siloed teams, conflicting priorities, cumbersome processes, hierarchical decision making and not having a common vision. How do you create a new way of working to cater to the above-mentioned challenges and how do you train existing teams/talent to adopt to these new ways of working? These were some of the key focus areas that Cognizant partnered with the client in achieving significant modernization, which resulted in creating product centric autonomous teams.

Addressing product delivery performance

As mentioned earlier, the crux of a successful transformation is how the software delivery teams are organized. This is where enhancing agile ways of working became the priority. We first wanted to improve the software delivery process to achieve better time to market and shift focus towards delivering value to customers rather than delivering projects.

The teams were aligned to product families and roles, and responsibilities were realigned to cater to this change. The teams were given the accountability to not just develop the product but also own it post launch – adhering to the true principles of agility. This created a sense of ownership with the teams thus enabling better product focus, understanding customer needs, and eventually ensuring better customer experience. 

The teams also practiced XP practices focusing on data driven decision making through KPIs like DORA. This enabled the teams to be more agile with their development, with faster time to market and enhanced quality. This had a direct effect on the lead time of the product delivery from idea inception to implementation.

Talent transformation focus

While enhancing ways of working help in streamlining the process it needs to be complimented with a strong talent transformation program that focuses on providing the right training and mentoring to the existing and new team members. A traditional approach would be to leverage the Learning and Development programs available in the organization. In this instance, the teams were transforming while performing. Multiple batches of “Dojo Factories” were established to train and upskill the team members. The focus was more on upskilling them as a team rather than individuals.

​The customized talent transformation program is designed to accelerate the learning of technologies, DevSecOps practices, agile (scrum, XP & Kanban) and product engineering concepts. This meant that they were easily adaptable to product ways of working with focus on leveraging best of the XP practices. A real-life working environment ensured that these learnings were taken as a group and not siloed, creating a great sense of autonomy and purpose to the team members. It also elevated them to “highly skilled” agile teams that focused on faster delivery with better quality.

Further, we established governance and metrics to ensure top-down control while also empowering product teams to make fast decisions. For example, DORA metrics were chosen by the teams to track and measure improvement in the overall delivery. ​The teams were trained alongside the continuous delivery, lean management, product and process capabilities recommended from the book “Accelerate” by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren.

The result? Among other things, the bank experienced:

  • Productivity improvement: 25% for transformed product teams over period of 18 months.
  • Speed to market: Instead of 6 months from concept to cash, product teams deliver from requirement to release in 2 weeks on an average.
  • Reliability improvement: Reduced account, fraud and regulatory failure impact by 33 million USD per year.
  • Product performance: Uptime of the systems increased by 10% from 99% to 99.8%.

A sample dashboard of the impact of this program for a team:

table dashboard


A strong footprint in banking

We have now started a similar transformation journey for a European bank as well.

Why should a bank consider Cognizant as a partner then? Because we understand the landscape of banking. Originating from a Dun & Bradstreet in-house unit in the mid-90s, Cognizant was born and bred in the banking sphere. Today, we serve over 500 clients in global and regional banks, and among them 9 of the top 10 European financial institutions.

The domain expertise, our global presence and our strong footprint in banking business consulting, where we have implemented agility at all levels of the organizations, make us a reliable choice for banks that want to strengthen their competitiveness. Even in an industry that is heavily regulated with a burdensome tech legacy, it’s possible to become a unicorn at the team level.

To learn more, please visit our banking section.

Sorooba Rani Prashob

Transformation Lead, Cognizant

Sorooba Rani Prashob

Vasanth Venkatachari

Transformation Coach, Cognizant

Vasanth Venkatachari

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