Rabobank is an international financial service provider active in banking, asset management, leasing, insurance and real estate. This cooperative bank has agricultural origins and is represented in 38 countries. Rabobank granted €298.6 billion in loans in the Netherlands in 2018. Globally, €97.8 billion were granted in loans in the food and agriculture industry in 2018. Rabobank employs 43,000 people worldwide.
Rabobank is a social bank that wants to substantially contribute to the well-being and welfare in the Netherlands and other countries and to solving the global food issue. It is their ambition to be the most customer-oriented bank in the Netherlands and to be the world’s leading food and agricultural bank. Rabobank wants to be the ‘nearby bank’, opts for excellent customer focus and strives for an A-level customer experience, both physically and digitally.
Lead times for financing requests were too long
Within Rabobank the Netherlands, the Rabobank Financing department, one of the largest lenders in the Netherlands, is in charge of granting loans. The system support at Rabobank Financing became more and more outdated and lead times in processing financing requests and mutations took too long. The request and issuing of loans always used to go through one of the 90 local offices, and there were insufficient online options. All of this had a negative impact on customer experience.
In order to innovate in a better and more customer-oriented way, reduce lead times and significantly improve customer experience, Rabobank launched a comprehensive modernization program. Part of this was the Rabobank Financing project. Organization-wide, Rabobank opted to use Pegasystems as its primary technology and as an innovation platform for helping to achieve the desired improvements. Initially, Rabobank had insufficient knowledge and experience with building and expanding on a new Pegasystems delivery organization in which both speed and quality could be achieved during the project within a positive business case.
When the program had been ongoing for a year and its implementation substantially delayed, the Rabobank program manager asked BPM Company to work with the internal Rabobank delivery managers to improve the whole delivery organization. The assignment was threefold:
- improve the delivery organization, more specifically the delivery reliability, the predictability and quality
- professionalize the stagnated PEGA Center of Excellence so that it can offer added value to the program
- implement the business case
At the start of the assignment, the delivery organization comprised 4 teams working on multiple business applications at once, and 1 team in charge of the Pega platform. Step by step, the delivery organization was professionalized by means of an extensive improvement program, in which work methods were standardized and professionalized. A focus was placed on drawing up designs before building. Furthermore, a firm course was set towards much better coordination between teams, including the axis of the overall data model. Together with Rabobank Financing, we selected higher-quality employees and provided them with extra and better training. Now, there is a focus on cohesion and overview, based on the Delivery Maturity Model (DMM) developed by BPM Company.
By drawing up a delivery improvement plan every six months and executing that plan in a concrete and hands-on manner, we have made major steps in delivery maturity. When the foundation was functioning properly, we worked more and more on reusing Pega components. This proved to be a distinctive factor of Pegasystems in this project too. Many organizations struggle with reusing software components. During the project, there was an increasing demand for new applications and the delivery organization greatly expanded. The growth was so rapid that multiple Pega near-shore facilities were set up for flexible scalability.
Upon completion of the assignment, the delivery organization had grown into 15 teams, including 4 functioning near-shore subteams. The predictability, reliability and quality of the teams has strongly improved. Reusing software solutions has become self-evident and is now anchored in the teams’ work method. The most important business case was achieved and the Pega Competence Center added value to the whole organization, by means including helping new Pega initiatives more broadly start up within Rabobank and by helping to avoid previous pitfalls.
Sooner or later, every new Pega client that starts building and expanding its delivery organization will encounter the same issues and challenges. It is important to solve these at the right time and in the right manner, and to keep looking ahead in order to prevent major problems in the future. Each stage of (the maturity of) the delivery organization comes with different priorities. Management should constantly focus on continued improvement of the delivery organization, with the use of the right expertise. If this is done properly, not only will Pega be built for change; the delivery organization will be too.