Macquarie Bank is competing with ‘the last application that you used on your mobile’, says its digital architect.
“It might be LinkedIn, it might be Facebook,” said Rajay Rai, who leads a group of ‘technology ninjas’ at the bank, “that’s the experience that we’re competing against today.”
Key to the bank’s success, said Rai, is its speed in bringing new features to its customers, necessary if it is to compete with disruptors.
“You have to think about what these digital disruptors have,” he said at a Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Sydney on Tuesday.
“They have a vision and they have ideas. Even more than that they have capacity to execute. They have a sustained, tenacious capability for experimentation and learning. That’s what distinguishes them from us. But if you can execute as fast as them you'll be able to compete with those guys,” he said.
The bank was focused on providing a rich customer experience, Rai said, and was in the midst of a digital banking transformation: “We’re implementing technologies to out disrupt the disruptors.”
It has built a customer dashboard with natural language search, data analytics, machine learning and stream processing. It’s been able to do so by exposing its APIs to allow white label partners to build their own applications.
“Unlike the rest of the banks we don't fear cannibalisation so we have a lot of partnerships, we integrate with them with our APIs. It’s very important that we stick to the strategy that enables us to expose these assets quickly,” said Rai.
The bank has ‘embraced Agile’ and has a bimodal architecture enabling it to quickly create and segregate environments for development, so it can ‘move faster’.
Rai said his team of ‘ninjas’ put out daily releases in a lab environment and weekly updates in its beta (trialled by around 200 staff members) and production environments. It was also essential, Rai added, to break up services into ‘smaller pieces’ to maintain a fast pace of innovation.
“We used to build services that were monolithic around 2004. In 2011 we broke up the presentation layer and the business logic. Then moving onwards into 2014 we started breaking our services up into smaller pieces so we could go faster.
“It’s all about breaking them up into smaller pieces so you can collaborate more effectively and efficiently across teams.”
Macquarie Bank is currently consolidating its core banking systems with other divisions including cards, wealth and mortgages in anticipation of ‘real-time payments’, Rai explained.
“Soon there will be real-time payments where you should be able to make a payment from one bank to another by email or plain and simple mobile numbers,” he said. “So for that we are transforming our core banking capability so we can deliver that experience seamlessly.”
Macquarie Group's new CIO, former Barclays senior tech executive Justin Raoul Moffitt started working for the company in February.