ANZ shifts 3000 people into Agile teams

Aims for 13,000 by year’s end

ANZ group CEO Shayne Elliott says the bank has so far shifted more than 3000 employees in its Australian and technology divisions into teams that use Agile methodologies and aims to boost that figure to 13,000 by the end of the year.

The bank in May 2017 announced its ambition to push Agile approaches beyond its technology teams as part of its embrace of “new ways of working”. The Scaled Agile transformation program has been led by Kath Bray, ANZ’s managing director, products.

The program became “fully operational” in ANZ’s Australian division “a few weeks ago,” Elliott told a briefing on the bank’s half-year results.

“It’s early days but we are seeing tangible benefits,” the CEO said. He said one example has been ANZ managing to shift the rating of its mobile banking app from one out of five to 4.6 out of five “in a matter of weeks”. The app has gone from the lowest rank in the Australian app store to being the number one finance app, the CEO said.

The app is currently getting 25,000 new users every day, according to ANZ; of the 930,000 new users who have signed up over the last three months, 737,000 moved from the bank’s old app, while 200,000 are first-time users.

“This new app is also a great example of how we’re building  a superior digital experience for customers,” Elliott said.

“We were first to market with mobile banking apps in August 2010, but our traditional way  of decision-making saw us underinvest time and resources in that platform and we lost that leadership.

“Applying new ways of working and human-centred design principles, we’ve delivered a new app to market in February and now have the platform and the agility to release new features and functions monthly.”

The CEO said ANZ responded to digital disruption of the banking sector by establishing a digital banking function to focus on the digital experience for its retail and business customers.

Read more: Mexico central bank finds evidence of attack on payment systems

In 2016 ANZ appointed former Google managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Maile Carnegie, to the newly created position of group executive, digital banking. In June 2017 ANZ announced that eBay Europe chief operating officer, finance, Jennifer Scott, would join the bank as general manager digital transformation and performance, reporting to Carnegie.

“The digital division has built the function from scratch, recruiting world class experts in product design, customer experience and marketing to help re-engineer the bank and now we are in implementation phase,” Elliott said today.

“This is a complete overhaul of how we think about banking and it means increasing the use of technology to replace manual processes which will also improve the customer experience and reduce errors at the same time.

“It’s about using data better to better inform and ultimately improve the customer experience in a respectful, meaningful, safe and relevant manner.”

The bank in February announced a strategic investment in Australian startup Data Republic, which will help ANZ “better share and analyse data securely and prepare for the open banking environment,” Elliott said.

The federal government in 2017 announced a review into an open banking regime for Australia. The government is currently preparing to legislate a ‘Consumer Data Right’ that it says will help Australians more easily compare and shift between service providers, including in the banking sector.

ANZ announced a statutory profit after tax for the six months ended 31 March of $3.32 billion, up 14 per cent.

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