ANZ bank's roll out of Agile methodologies across its Australian business and technology divisions is well under way, with 3,000 employees now working in Agile teams, the bank's CEO Shayne Elliott revealed today.
The bank's own-brand of ‘scaled agile’ called New Ways of Working – distinct from the SAFe Scaled Agile Framework for large enterprises – was announced in May last year. In August an internal campaign to promote the concept kicked off at ANZ Melbourne Dockside headquarters.
The program has became "fully operational" within the bank's Australian division in the last few weeks, Elliott said in a presentation of ANZ's half year results.
Last month the initiative's chief Katherine Bray, ANZ’s managing director, products, said the program currently covers three corporate sites. Elliott said today he expected some 13,000 employees to have adopted the approach by the end of the year.
As part of the initial announcement, ANZ said the organisational style and associated methodologies, would help the bank respond more quickly to customer needs, create higher staff engagement and boost efficiency. The benefits were already becoming apparent Elliott said today.
“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,” he said.
ANZ's banking app is now the highest ranking on the Apple app-store in Australia. The new app has gained 937,000 active users since its February launch, growing at a rate of 15,000 users per day. The daily registrations were the "highest on record" for the bank, Elliott added.
The Agile ways of working had also helped deliver, in the mobile payments space, the addition of Fitbit Pay in Australia, Garmin Pay and eftpos on Apple Pay and Android Pay.
The launch of a voice biometrics capability, meanwhile, has contributed to five-fold growth in the value of payments using mobile devices from November 2017 to March 2018, the bank said. More than 18.5m mobile payment transactions had been completed in the half year; with total spend up more than 100 per cent to $594m.
The Agile approach will also thaw what ANZ group executive of digital banking Maile Carnegie called the “frozen middle” management layer who will “resist change like death”. Elliott has confirmed that jobs will be lost as a result of the transformation.
ANZ has utilised agile working practices for around five years. The approach has been used in technology and product teams to deliver around a fifth of technology and digital projects at the bank including, under Bray’s leadership, Apple Pay and a feature which automatically updates customers’ digital wallets with replacement card details if they report one lost or stolen.
Speaking to CIO Australia last year, Bray said the work in establishing the New Ways of Working would never truly be over.
“There is of course a risk that day one – everything’s done, high five in the corridor, move on, transformation over. Well that’s not the nature of this. There are many elements of this that will take time to mature and embed and that will continuously improve our efficiency over time. And that requires tenacity,” she said. “We’re clear where we are on the journey with an understanding that we will never be done.”
The bank last year began a formal process to appoint a systems integration partner "to assist in the scoping and design of our technology architecture" to support its new organisation-wide agile approach.
ANZ's Big Four rivals have also adopted Agile methodologies. Earlier today, Westpac Group CIO Dave Curran revealed between three and four thousand employees across the bank worked within Agile teams. NAB and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have also touted their Agile credentials, although have not revealed how many employees work using the approach.
ANZ announced a statutory profit after tax for the six months ended 31 March of $3.32 billion, up 14 per cent.
Current and continuing "difficult trading conditions", means the bank's decision to focus on "areas where we can deliver exceptional customer outcomes, solve real customer needs and generate a decent return for shareholders" was the right one, Elliott said.
"Our focused strategy of simplification and digital transformation remains appropriate," he added.
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