Francesca Sorrentino (00:04)
You’re listening to the XBank podcast, a series of conversations, exploring the how digital banking transformation over the coming episodes. We’ll pick apart the concepts, look at the practical steps and analyze live examples, alongside industry movers and shakers. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get transformation done. And this is the podcast for you. I’m your host friends, Francesca Sorrentino client partner in financial services. In this episode, I’m joined by Nick Edwards, product owner, retail and digital service director at Lloyd’s banking group and my Fs colleague global vice president of strategy and consulting Matt Hopkins. This is the second chapter in our two-part discussion on customer journey transformation. And today we’ll be talking about scaling to enterprise-wide change and the new questions, challenges, and models this produces. So let’s start by introducing our guests. Nick, will you tell us a little bit about your role in Lloyd’s customer journey transformation? How’d you get started with CJT and what drew you to it?
Nick Edwards (01:14)
Yeah, thank you, Francesca. Good morning. Um, so I’ve been with Lloyds for 17 years, uh, and, uh, back in sort of 2015, I was the head of e-commerce so responsible for the performance of the online sales journeys. And often I’ll be sitting, looking at web funnels and conversion data working out the next thing I wanted to do to improve the performance of those journeys. And, um, I had to go and engage a separate change team somewhere else in the bank to enact those changes. And it just felt increasingly like shouldn’t we be together in one function, making changes to the journey based on the latest customer feedback. And lo and behold, that was the first trial we did. We started customer journey transformation in the online e-commerce space and, uh, that sign I went forward and joined the program.
Francesca Sorrentino (02:01)
And, uh, we should introduce Matt, even though he’s, he’s well known in the podcast sphere. Um, and I’m going to start by asking you to explain your mug that says Papa Saurus on it.
Matt Hopgood (02:12)
Yes. One of the many, uh, many gifts from, uh, from children, uh, you know, over the, uh, over the years, they’ll have a selection of various different, uh, celebrate tree artifacts of, uh, of my, uh, of my, uh, glorious Parenthood, all of which are, uh, over, over-exaggerated.
Francesca Sorrentino (02:32)
Um, so Matt, you know, given our conversation with Geraldine in the last podcast and, and your experience both with Lloyds and other customer journey transformations, you know, what do you think are some of the critical wins, uh, that we need to prove out the customer journey transformation model,
Matt Hopgood (02:49)
The reflection that I would take from the experience, the fabulous experience that I had at Lloyd’s and you know, where I’ve now seen customer journey programs implemented across other organizations
Matt Hopgood (03:00)
Over the last, um, you know, four or five years is that they provide such a wonderful foundation to prove some things in the organization that are absolutely critical, um, to be in place if you’re then going to scale across the enterprise. Um, and I think that that list for me would be things like, um, proven that agile isn’t just for development teams, um, and actually can live and become a mindset that ties all people across the organization to start thinking about, um, experimentation being value-focused and proving things in small loops, as fast as they can go. So thinking about value and velocity, rather than thinking about, you know, milestones and project plans. And so I think this idea that agile is a mindset, um, really starts in that customer journey world. And I think that’s a, it’s a huge enabler. I think the other thing that customer journeys do a terrific job of is beginning to establish the importance of product management.
Matt Hopgood (04:04)
And so actually creating backlogs of value and thinking about how they are prioritized not only against customer needs, but also against the commercial goals and aspirations of the organization. Again, rather than thinking about trade-offs between backlogs and backlogs that exist across, you know, parts of different functional parts or even parts of different journeys. And I think this idea about the rigor and the discipline that product management gives you is, um, is a really good foundation, um, to then move to, um, enterprise agile. Of course, modern engineering is at the heart of all of this as well, and accelerating that pace of change. And then the last one, um, is the, is that demonstration of servant leadership, which is, I think it’s, you can see that in customer journeys as, as though journey teams themselves suddenly have more autonomy, um, in the organization to think about what it is that they want to go after and tackle without having to necessarily go through all of the governance layers that the organization may have previously imposed. Yeah. Nick, is that your experience? Tell us a little bit about your early days in CJT.
Nick Edwards (05:10)
Yeah, I mean also some Matt said earlier, I mean, Matt arrived mid-2016. We’d already started just at the back end of 2015. So we had a career for months on our own as an organization to fill walls with post-it notes and trying to really understand what was going on into any of those journeys, not just in the digital journeys, but for a bank like Lloyd’s what was happening in the branch network, what was happening in telephone banking, what was coming in the post? You know, we really did try and understand end to end all channels, all products or brands. And by the time Matt and team arrived, we had a pretty good understanding of the big opportunities ahead of us, uh, that weren’t necessarily just in the digital space, actually, they sort of spanned the bank. And then we agree on the mindset piece.
Nick Edwards (05:51)
You know, there was a, a lot of colleague excitement about moving to agile, but we were so strong in our more typical waterfall project management skills and actually the training to get colleagues to understand agile methodology was relatively straightforward, but mindset change change in the mindset of project delivery to products, ownership, the concept of handing something over to the business at the end of a project. And that was it. That was the part that actually was much harder to change to think that actually the teams on the ground would run in perpetuity. These journeys, not finish the projects and hand them off to someone else. And that creates a whole new set of thinking about the trade offs. You need to make speed versus, um, delivery milestones and actually what you may choose to come back to at a later stage, because you can deliver value more quickly.
Matt Hopgood (06:43)
It’s really lovely moment early on in one of the account opening journeys NEC where, um, one of the, um, areas of value that had been identified was, um, the time spent in branch, um, opening a product. And when that specific segment of time had been analyzed, there’d been quite a lot of it had spent been spent in video watching videos around product disclosures to effectively, you know, cater for, um, conduct risk and to ensure that the customer got fair and right outcomes. And I remember these experiments being produced and they were amazing because they were things around moving from video to data visualization and sort of, uh, you know, interactive infographics. And I think what was, um, and I can’t even remember what was implemented, but I remember what was interesting at the time was that they were hypothesis to be tested rather than a specific problem to be solved. It wasn’t here is the issue, therefore, this is exactly what’s going to do to fix it. It was here’s an opportunity. How could we potentially improve it? Let’s try some things. And I thought that was a really, it was a good moment for me seeing some of that, some of that data visualization and infographics thinking, this is a really good example of an experiment led approach.
Nick Edwards (07:56)
And I think that that’s really where engineering started to find its voice for me, because in the years gone by engineering had been a function that you sent requirements to. I often didn’t meet the engineers, work on the journeys with sending a word document across and six months later it would come back some prototypes or wire frames to have a look at, but this was the first point where actually many of those problems are problems. Statements, engineers started to find their voice. They had potential solutions to those problems. They had experiments they could run, uh, and they knew, uh, potentially, um, you know, more, uh, adventurous ways or more exciting ways to solve some of its problems than perhaps some of us, uh, in the, in the product ownership space. And so I think that was really the first four. I was engineers for able to stand up and say, I’ve got a view on how we could do that. I’ve got an idea how we could experiment. And that was really this, this precursor to the engineers becoming a much more fundamental integral part of feature teams rather than an offshore function that many of us have never met before.
Francesca Sorrentino (08:57)
Yeah, I think that’s a great point. So, you know, what we’re hearing is really consistent with what we talked about with Geraldine, you know, the empowerment and comradery collaboration that happens in cross functional teams in customer journey transformation. And it sounds like you had some initial wins and customer journey transformation that made you say let’s pivot this. Let’s, let’s scale it across the organization. Nick, can you tell us a little bit about what it meant to evolve customer journey transformation, what it meant to scale it a little more broadly?
Nick Edwards (09:29)
Yeah, of course I can. So, uh, you know, in a, in an organization like Lloyd’s of change, doesn’t happen that quickly typically. Um, so our approach in the account opening onboarding space back then was to start slowly actually to start a couple of labs with new work, you know, work that was just being conceived. What would have been conceived on the roadmap to start it in the new ways of working, um, and to leave the existing change portfolio running in parallel for a while and not bite off more than we could chew. And that was certainly advantageous because it gave us a chance to experiment. It gives a chance to find our feet. It gave us a chance to work out all of the, uh, the quirks that, you know, you learn in the training and the book, but actually when you get into the real work, you find new problems that you hadn’t quite come across.
Nick Edwards (10:13)
So we started quite small or relatively smart, small part of the portfolio doing new work, but then over time, as we found more, more confidence, and we were proving the value of this way of working, we started to tip in a work that was on the legacy waterfall portfolio so that the feature teams and the labs became more all encompassing. And that really was the first two or three years of us moving the sort of accounts opening space to a fully functioning lab, agile structure. It wasn’t until two and a half years later that we decided to tip in the whole bank change portfolio. So at that point, once we’d been through all of the test and learn, we’d been for all of the, um, uh, the, the dry runs as it were, we felt confident enough to, to move the entire bank’s multi-billion pound portfolio into this way of working.
Francesca Sorrentino (11:02)
I can’t help, but picture like a very enormous teapot and lots of people sort of falling into this new way of working, but surely there’s friction, right? When you’re, you’re asking more of the bank, you know, to get tipped in, to get poured into this new way of working. Can you talk a little bit about that, Nick, and, you know, maybe Matt share your experience from other financial services organizations you’ve worked with.
Nick Edwards (11:27)
Yeah. I mean, you know, people generally are resistant to change and there were many colleagues that couldn’t see the benefit upfront of why moving to this new way of working was important. Why co-location of teams was important when we worked perfectly well for a period of time in, you know, working remotely. And, uh, I think, you know, we learnt as well that not all work lends itself well to this type of, so, you know, this sort of hypothesis that you move everything to agile, uh, it’s really good for certain types of work, but for some of the other more sort of programmatic, uh, regulatory programs in the bank, actually we retained waterfall and we were taking project teams. We had sort of cohort money as we moved into the scaling of it because we worked out that was the best way to be less dogmatic and more trying to work out what is the best method for this piece of change or this product to be as efficient and customer focused as possible,
Matt Hopgood (12:28)
Recognizing that you’ve got different change types, therefore you need different part of the organization to both think about change and deliver change in different ways is, is a huge, a huge unlock to, um, you know, diluting friction. Because I think that, you know, when I’ve seen, um, customer journey programs or even Valley stream programs start, they tend to start with quite a lot of fanfare. Um, and, uh, and quite a lot of promises and unwittingly, you can create a sort of a sense of, uh, this is the exciting new bit. And then, you know, if you’re not in it, everybody else is in the kind of the old legacy bit, which almost without anyone saying anything, um, specifically starts to feel like it’s an old way of working and a new way of working. And of course that’s not true. It’s just different ways of working and equally, uh, you know, there’s equal value in both.
Matt Hopgood (13:23)
And so it’s about how you sort of think about change and get the right part of the organization to tackle it rather than suggesting there’s a new entirely, um, you know, sort of new change approach, which needs to be adopted universally across the piece. And I think what’s also interesting in the friction is that, um, customer journeys are pretty consistent in the way that, um, they have been tackled and, um, and set up and the way that organizations have, um, created structures to look at them and deliver them. So it doesn’t matter whether you’ve looked at customer journey transformation, whether it’s in France or across your, or down in Australia or Asia PAC or in London, or even if they’re in the same postcode, that customer journey transformation approach is, is a pretty well, um, drill template now, um, where becomes really interesting is value streams, because actually when you begin to scale out above the customer journeys and start thinking about more of the organization to your tipping, more of that portfolio in Nick, and you start thinking about the broader value stream view, the way that organizations have started to organize around those is entirely diverse.
Matt Hopgood (14:30)
Um, you know, and then that, that therefore creates some interesting frictions, um, across, within organizations, but also across organizations, which, uh, which are much less, uh, you’re much less able to fall into similar patterns.
Nick Edwards (14:46)
Yeah, I’d agree with that. And, um, you know, we’ve very deliberately now started with customer journeys. May our customer journeys, everyone starts with helped me as a customer to do something, uh, which are sort of then collected into value streams. We’ve even tried to move away from some of the legacy bank language and put ourselves firmly in the customer’s shoes, which are, uh, customer journeys are then collected and aggregated into value streams. I think the other point, um, in the early days of, of transformation, that really didn’t Dawn on me until we got into the, the labs and the value stream ways of working, we was just the, the concepts of componentry and how many teams across the bank were grappling with very similar problems, but all in their own way. And I’ll give you a good example in the onboarding space was just the need to collaborate with customers, to collect documentation ID, et cetera, et cetera.
Nick Edwards (15:35)
And you know, you, so as you looked, as you brought the portfolios, you tipped in the portfolio using the language I use earlier, you find that many teams were spending money with different suppliers, different vendors, all trying to solve a problem that looked very similar. And the concept of creating components teams that would create solutions that were, yes, they were less bespoke, but they were functional and they worked and they could be adopted by multiple journeys at a much cheaper cost to serve or something. I think that really paid dividends. And as I say, there was many examples of that, but the one that probably resonates most is getting paperwork, documentation ID in and out of an organization is something that many banks have to grapple with and moving to a single component team that built that once and made it completely, uh, consumable by many teams was something. I think that we all started to see the value in very quickly,
Matt Hopgood (16:23)
Someone once said to me, and I thought it was a really interesting phrase. And, uh, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m not sure I understand that even today, but the argument was you have to centralize to decentralize. So you’ve got to recognize what are the pieces that you need to be universally applicable across all change that create those guardrails and create those components and create those, you know, we usable objects, whether they’re technology systems or whether they’re business processes or whether they’re policy or risk frameworks, what are they? And let’s understand them with absolute clarity so that they can exist in a way that allows their four journey teams and value stream teams to make decisions within guardrails using componentry. So they don’t have to keep coming back to a corporate center or enterprise design authority or going through endless enterprise architecture reviews, but very often the organization hasn’t got a lot of those guard rails in place. Hasn’t identified a lot of the policy frameworks or the systems, or even the reference data within its own business architecture to understand what the degree or the spread of those guardrails are. And so I do think there’s some investment often that needs to happen in these programs to kind of then set you up for accelerated delivery. Um, but that it becomes much harder, I think, for those teams to be autonomous.
Nick Edwards (17:40)
Yes, I agree. And for again, for medium to large organizations, the benefits of that later downstream, or you’re a much clearer view of sourcing, I’ve been able to a single vendor, uh, on advantageous commercials and making sure that the sort of version control is, um, is managed well so that we haven’t con you know, continually spending money with different vendors on different versions. We can sort of, you know, keep the guard rails, absolutely crystal clear for people to benefit from speed of change.
Francesca Sorrentino (18:07)
That’s such a wonderful example. I think of the value of an enterprise wide view. I think componentry is just a perfect place to accelerate the ability to respond to customer needs. And Nick, I want to go back to something that you said about the way you organized teams into help me do something. You know, I think customer journey transformation and scaling that into value streams is really about bringing the customer closer to the work, um, and being able to respond to customer needs more quickly, more fully, um, talk to us about how you bring the customer to the table, bring to life for us, what you do with your team that makes it feel like this is all in service of the customer.
Nick Edwards (18:52)
Well, I mean, I’m very lucky in, in many senses because I’ve got a fantastic, uh, analytics team, and this is again, bringing together what was run teams and change teams into a single function. So I’ve got a fantastic team who are able to glean analytics daily, understand what’s happening in funnels. And the same was happening in customer journeys, understand where customers are exiting online journeys, but turning up in the telephone bank or the branch network. They also have the ability to survey customers on the back of that and glean real depth of insight as to what’s happening in these journeys. And we’re very rich in Lloyd’s is that we’ve got a very customer centric, ethos of a join up between the channels, the branches, the call centers, the complaints teams, and the fact that everything is classified to a journey across the bank. So complaints as they come in are classified to a journey, allows us to understand and bring in a rich source of where are the friction points what’s causing problems for customers, or is there something broken in the system that we haven’t spotted in our analytics to enable us to prioritize it and get it fixed rapidly for customers?
Nick Edwards (19:51)
So, yeah, analytics, surveys, customer feedback, Kali feedback, but twinned, we have a very strong design function. So, you know, one of the investments we made early on was to create the chief design office in Lloyd’s banking group, where we do have research quant, qual, AB testing capability, multi-variant testing capability to compliment what we get, um, ad hoc from our surveys, our analytics and our colleague channels. So, you know, that’s an investment that you have to pay for. You have to invest in it in a feature team. You have to build those roles into teams, but they are important roles. If you want to design with the customer at heart, because it does cost money. It does take time, but it is an important point. If you want to drive very high levels of customer satisfaction.
Francesca Sorrentino (20:37)
I heard a story about you, Nick, uh, which is one of those walk, the walk examples of, of I think, great leadership and customer journey transformation. You often spend looking at the app store, um, and you know, your mobile app is just a Testament to the improvements that you’ve made. But do you want to talk about that as a practice?
Nick Edwards (20:57)
Yeah, I’ve always found in my career at Lloyd’s like trying to get direct feedback to cut out the middle people and just hear directly from customers is so refreshing because you often get what’s really going on and not what people want you to know is going on. So I find that the weekend I can just spend 20 minutes flipping the app store for that week, reading what customers are saying, spotting, are there any trends? And yeah, I’ve got a team that do it, but there’s nothing like reading the insights yourself. You feel much more connected to the customer. Also try and read some complaints every week that come in about various parts of my journeys to understand how different customers experience them. So I’m not, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I definitely try and keep myself close to real customer feedback by looking at all the available sources to manage. It’s a refreshing part of the job.
Francesca Sorrentino (21:41)
I love that story, Matt, over to you, voice of the customer, you know, w what have you seen work, uh, in the work you’ve done across clients to bring the customer closer to the table, closer to the work?
Matt Hopgood (21:52)
I think what’s really interesting is that the first job is exactly the one that you have to do as Nick has just described it. And so organizations have normally built their insight and analytics capability at the point of consumption. And what I mean by that is that the web analytics will sit with the digital team. The, you know, the, the complaints data around the contact center will sit in the contact center team. The market segmentation insight data sits with marketing. And then as you begin to think about journeys and value streams, what you’re trying to do is then weave together historically siloed pockets of insight and analytics around a much more customer centric view so that you get that rich picture of what the experience feels I can to end, rather than these sort of this faceted view of I’ve got some really good distribution metrics.
Matt Hopgood (22:43)
So I’ve got some really good marketing metrics, or I’ve got some really good product metrics, et cetera. So I think, you know, certainly job number one is absolutely trying to understand customer in how to thread together, your insight and your analytics to inform the change that you want to make. And then the experience of the change when it’s delivered into live job, number two, I think which can be done in parallel and something I’d definitely like to see more of is this sense of the customer actually feeling like they are also on the team sheet of the multi-skilled cross-functional team. So rather than them existing in the abstract, which has historically always been the case because of technology constraints and cost constraints is that primary research has tended to be quite expensive. And so, you know, it tends to come through proxy. And so there’s always been empathy maps or personas or segments or ways of trying to get that empathetic view realized within change and within run in ways that allowed you to do at scale across an organization.
Matt Hopgood (23:47)
But I do think that with modern tools, modern technology, modern techniques, it’s much more possible for actually actually to feel that the customer is a visible part of the team on the ground continuously. Um, and that as you look across your team sheet list, and you’re checking off your technical architect and your business architect and your product owner and your ops lead and your risk and your finance, you should be saying, and here’s the two or three cohorts that are also part of that cross-functional team. And they’re with us throughout that whole life cycle. So this idea of more participatory design, more inclusion, being more continuous, more longitudinal, I think we’re beginning to see some green shoots of that, but I think if you do that, and then you add it to all of those faceted data analytics and voice of the customer, voice of the colleague insights that already exist in the organization, then I think, you know, you, you unlock it.
Nick Edwards (24:46)
You mentioned empowerment earlier. I mean, I think one of the best examples of that, that I saw, and again, this happened completely organically ground up, no top down permission, no guard rails. As I was walking through the office in London, London wall a year or so ago. And I spotted a group of engineers and product owners huddled in the corner with an elderly lady who I’ve not seen before. And I knew she was, is going well, here’s the, here’s the great bit about, so this, this customer had a problem and a foamy internet banking help desk. They couldn’t solve the problem. And the, the, the benefit of value streams and journeys are they quickly get name recognition. You know, the teams in customer services know who to email directly. There’s not a dollar sign, email address. They email James the products over know, James spoke to the customer phone, couldn’t solve the problem, invited the customer to come into London, bring your device.
Nick Edwards (25:37)
And the engineer sat with the customer and worked out what was wrong with the config of that customer’s device or browser and got it fixed. And the customer was elated. But for me, that was just such a cultural litmus test. That product owners and engineers felt able to invite a customer into the office to come and explain the problem and bring it to life, get it fixed, and then work out with us and he read across. And that for me was just a moment of magic that, you know, you just want to replicate because often so many of our structures are command and control. That makes some of those things difficult to do. The final point on testing is like, Lloyd’s has got 12 million customers using its mobile app and by, by no imagination or the colleagues building that app fully representative of the customer base. So, you know, you really do have to make sure, and you have to ask constantly that the customers were testing the customers research in our, across the spectrum, because there are, there is no one customer, uh, there are lots of different types of customers. And I think as we go forward, you know, personalization, customization, giving customers control of how they want the service to look and feel is so important because it’s very hard to design a interface for
Nick Edwards (26:44)
12 million customers and get it right for everybody. Well, I think what we’ll see in the future, as we see more evidence of, um, machine learning, artificial intelligent and computational design is a lot of these personalization characteristics that we’re beginning to capture a lot of the design rules. Um, and the guardrails that we were talking about a minute ago will start becoming codified into the organization as code rather than us, you know, processes that’s in a master processes, et cetera, and then effectively what we’re really preparing for in, I don’t know whether it’s five years or 10 years, but what we’re really going to be preparing for is the death of the customer journey. The customer journey is won’t exist anymore. It will just be, you know, real time experiences delivered, you know, through adaptive systems. And I think that’s when we really begin to see, um, inclusion and diversity unlocked, because ultimately you could start seeing how, you know, the literacy, um, uh, the reading age of the copy could change, you know, dynamically, depending on what you know about the customer, the way that they understand financial products could change, depending on what you know about their financial literacy, all of these things are possible if they can be driven, you know, by systems that can scale to this.
Matt Hopgood (27:57)
Um, but at the moment, we’re still in a world of still looking at customer journeys and trying to make them as good as we can for as many people as we can, but we also need to be preparing for a world where they don’t exist.
Francesca Sorrentino (28:07)
Yeah. I think you made a really gorgeous point, Nick, around, you know, the diversity of the customer base and try and wherever we can to create diversity and empathy within our team constructs. And I think one of the most interesting evolutions that, that I’ve seen in that, and I know you’ve talked about, this is how some of the functions less often associated with customer journey transformation and innovative design have really sort of matured into a, you know, a value add strategic partner. Um, so Matt, if you could tell us a little bit about how you’ve seen risk and finance really contributing over mature customer journey, transformation teams. Yeah.
Matt Hopgood (28:52)
There’s some, you get some really good indicators of whether you’ve moved from looking at journeys as a mechanism of distribution and transformation, and whether you’re starting to think about enterprise change and customer value. And I think a couple of those indicators are, um, I guess a bit more like the visibility point I made about customers the other day, uh, a minute ago, sorry. Um, about, you know, having more visibility of the customers on those teams sheets is that when you begin to see that actually, you know, risk is there shoulder to shoulder from the get go and that as the ideas are being generated in those early stages of thinking about your experiments, that conversations around, you know, conduct risk appetite are actually shaping the way that the proposition is before you even start thinking about other aspects. Um, I think they become really, that’s a really good sort of green shoots that actually there’s a, there’s a kind of a collaborative approach to thinking about that change and then delivering it through the organization.
Matt Hopgood (29:55)
And I think the other second indicator for me, and this is a really simple one to measure is the diversity of the backlog, is that when you think about, you know, the value stream and however many, um, you know, product owners or chief product owners, you’ve got managing that value stream or those set of journeys, they’re loan, a set of backlogs, what is the diversity of change that sits within it? And I think that if you look at that backlog and you’ve got, you know, risks, change, pricing, change, product change, marketing, change, distribution, change, technology, change, data change, and you’re beginning to see a whole set of things, all focused around creating that customer value within, you know, the guardrails of commercial and risk appetite. Then I think you think, you know what, we’ve done a brilliant job of maturing the way that we think about this.
Matt Hopgood (30:41)
And then that change in and of itself is then delivered through, you know, a variety of different formats. And that’s where I think there’s the triage point that you made earlier, Nick, because then you look at that backlog and some of that backlog is done within the, within that transformation team. And some of the backlog could actually GSP given to a continuous improvement team at another part of the business. And some of the backlog might go to a more traditional waterfall approach if it’s actually about unlocking some of the, you know, the compliance value. But I think it’s a, it’s a, it’s that starting at source of value. And then recognizing, you know, that it’s both rich and diverse and then where’s the best place in the organization to unlock it.
Francesca Sorrentino (31:18)
Yep. Yep. Nick, have you seen that? The value that, you know, bringing risk and finance and some of those other shared services functions into the teams can really add to the diversity of the backlog and the richness of the customer experience delivering,
Nick Edwards (31:34)
But in a bank you can’t really have a, you can’t really call it an end to end feature team. If you don’t have risk and finance integrated, you know, an early lesson for us was that can’t be done at the sides. You have to show the same respect to those functions as you do to product design engineering and the like, so you had from day one, uh, I worked hard to, to build a chief risk officer role and a chief financial officer role into my value streams to make sure that we had that right at the center, you have good control of money. We could demonstrate to the bank that we were spending money responsibly because we have to, we’ve been empowered, but there is a responsibility to demonstrate that we are treating shareholders money wisely from a risk perspective, to make sure that we had a single risk officer that could play the hub and spoke into all of the other risk functions in the bank to make sure that we could move at pace, but move safely. Because actually, if you, if you make a mistake along the way, you’d lose trust and confidence and it will ultimately slow you down. So, I mean, I’ve been very lucky. Uh, we’ve got risk teams embedded right across the value stream. I’ve got very strong financial team who have moved from command and control. Are you approving work for
Nick Edwards (32:40)
Products, owners, and engineers to provide that insight and comparables saying, you know, Nick do realize in that team, you’ve got four product owners in that one, you’ve got two, you know, you probably want to have a look at value for money. Are we spending it in the right way? So it’s providing sort of as massively good guard rails and good comparables to make sure we’re constantly optimizing and fine tune in the spend so we can get as much change delivered for customers as possible from within what is always going to be a finite budget.
Francesca Sorrentino (33:06)
Yeah, it makes a ton of sense. And just, you know, more broadly when we think about casting teams, I mean, those sound like two really critical appointments, um, in terms of risk and finance. But when we think more broadly about high-performing teams who can deliver, you know, and, and deliver on the trust you’ve been given in this autonomous, you know, construct what’s changed for you. Talk to us a little bit about how you think about getting the right people into role.
Nick Edwards (33:37)
There. A couple of other teams that I think are fundamental now, so to get going, we have an enterprise transformation. You can’t start in a bank without risk and finance. That’s a precursor to be able to move. But I think as we’ve developed two other teams, um, marketing chief customer office and sourcing, and I’ll say why marketing? Because, you know, we talked about the mobile app earlier, 12 million customers. It’s a six inch screen. There’s a lot for customers to take in. You really do need your marketing and chief customer office teams, right at the center of change, understanding the roadmap, understanding the backlog so they can prepare sort of the marketing engines and the lead engines and the creative agencies to describe the product to a customer, to make sure the customer can comprehend what you’re offering them and from sourcing. Because, you know, it’s, it’s unusual these days that we build everything ourselves, we partner much more than we have, and we have to partner in a bank safely, you know, all of our controls and our cybersecurity controls need to be in line with the bank’s appetite. So having sourcing firmly and squarely in the team to help you work with partners safely, constructively is really important because I think gone are the days when you build everything a hundred percent yourself, you know, often that it’s, it’s a marketplace, it’s an ecosystem where often there’s, there’s smaller, younger, more FinTech players in the market who can help you sell products and problems much more quickly and productively.
Francesca Sorrentino (34:58)
Yeah, that makes so much sense. And you know, when you’re, when you’re working with such a diverse team like that, you know, obviously everybody brings their own hard skills to the table, but can you say a little bit more about what makes that collaboration work?
Nick Edwards (35:14)
I think for me, Francesca, it all comes down to curiosity. When teams used to sit in different parts of the country in different buildings, they rarely interacted. They rarely had a chance to ask why, why do we do that? Could we do it better? When you put colleagues from different functions together, working on customer journeys, they start to build relationships. They build rapport, they become curious. They have a, uh, uh, a focus on the
Nick Edwards (35:38)
End products. And it’s not unusual now to see a finance colleague with a view on how the customer journey could operate, or a colleague from engineering wanting to get involved in products and story development, and really encouraging these product owners, wanting to draw out and understand architecture. So, you know, for me, there’s a natural bleed. And then you’ve seen that over the years where colleagues who would never dreamed of a career in engineering have moved from products on a ship to engineering. I’ve got lab, product owners working in my value stream that were previously engineers. Who’d never thought about a career and what they perceive to be the business. So I think that curiosity leads to better product design, but it also leads to career paths, perhaps colleagues hadn’t envisaged some years ago.
Francesca Sorrentino (36:25)
I think that’s so true in a lot of what I’ve seen as well. And I think the pivot toward enduring teams, you know, who feel empowered to ask grandma to come to the office to check out our app goes really, is very compatible with what you talked about in curiosity, right? To continually improve. You need to ask questions, you need to ask why you need to get to the heart of it. So that makes a ton of sense to me. Now, I know you’re keenly interested in the role of product owner and how that’s evolved. Can you say a little bit about what you’re seeing and what you think the future of product ownership is? Yeah,
Matt Hopgood (37:05)
I think we’ve, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve covered a little bit in the last five or 10 minutes to talk about how pretty much all functional roles across the bank are changing and evolving as they come together and align in value streams and customer journeys. And they begin to sort of think about outcomes as their primary focus rather than, you know, functional performance. But I think one of the, one of the roles, which I think is transforming probably more materially than almost all the others, is that role of product manager, um, within an organization in as much that, um, and I’d be super fascinated for your perspective here as well. Nick is that I think that, um, a lot of finance organizations have product managers historically have two flavors. They have product owners in the product space, financial products space, where it’s much more around product marketing.
Matt Hopgood (37:58)
And they are thinking historically around sales volumes and margin management and PNL and regulatory compliance and, you know, whole life customer costs. And so they are typically following market strategies around, um, you know, sort of share with wallet, um, share with markets, et cetera. And then you’ve got a second type of product owner, which has emerged over the last few years in that distribution space where they own platforms, whether it’s a product owner in, um, of a journey or whether it’s the product owner of an app or the internet bank or a chat or whatever. Um, and they’re looking at sort of features and functions and thinking about how they can connect that value to their cohorts. And I think what we’re seeing, and I think super, super exciting is a kind of, a bit of a, a merging now of product owners coming together and actually saying that the primary focus is around the value that you create for cohorts of customers and what propositions do we need and its proposition in to that value rather than product financial product out, or even kind of, you know, sort of experience or sort of distribution channel out.
Matt Hopgood (39:06)
And I love this, I love this, this new sort of breed of product manager and product owner that are propositionally led and look more holistically at cost, how the bank creates that value for those customers, um, and is much more agnostic of how that value is created. And I think it’s a really, it’s a really exciting thing to see evolving over the last few years.
Francesca Sorrentino (39:31)
Let’s ask one more question before we go to some rapid fire questions. Um, Nick, can you imagine a world where, you know, the tipping reverse, you know, our giant teapot went back to more project and program management than, than transformation and you know, how do you know that that’s the right thing in, in the pandemic?
Nick Edwards (39:54)
I can’t imagine a world where we go back because it’s very unusual in life to go back to something that you did. I think what you do is you keep building on what you’ve got and make it better. No one method or tooling solution stays valid forever. So I think we’re in a place of constant evolution, innovation, uh, you know, a feature team today might need to be very different tomorrow depending on the problem at hand. So I think adaptability spontaneity is what’s important and making sure that you don’t become myopic in your solution and constantly look at what is the problem I’m trying to solve. How do I best solve
Francesca Sorrentino (40:35)
We wrap up? Um, I want to ask a few quick fire questions, words of wisdom for our listeners. Matt, I’ll start with you. If you could change one thing to make enterprise transformation easier, what would it be?
Matt Hopgood (40:48)
I think I would probably encourage anyone to start broader in respect to what they include in that initial end to end scope across their departments or their functions go as broad as you possibly can in that first, but start small and pilot it. So you understand exactly how those different functions change and need to inter operate to then unlock that value before you scale
Francesca Sorrentino (41:14)
Go broad, start small. Nick, how about you?
Nick Edwards (41:17)
I think be clear on what’s the value, um, you know, in financial services, it’s not like you’re selling fast moving goods, so it’s often hard to determine the exact value, but be clear on what you’re trying to do. Be clear on the measurement and make sure that you can assess at the end of a sprint, whether you’ve
Nick Edwards (41:34)
Met your objectives and you’re on track for the next set, or it can be very hard if you don’t know where you are to work out where you’re going,
Francesca Sorrentino (41:39)
Love it. One word to describe what it takes to succeed in enterprise transformation. Nick, I’ll start with you, Matt.
Matt Hopgood (41:49)
I can’t do one word it’s comfortable. So my one word would be hyphenated and it’s long game
Francesca Sorrentino (41:56)
That comes hyphen it’s one word long game. And finally describe a moment in your day to day work that gives you energy. That gives you life, Nick,
Nick Edwards (42:06)
Nothing more than standing in front of a screen and watching customer behavior change on the back of something that the team have done to, uh, to improve something. Seeing that in real time is, uh, it’s thrilling.
Francesca Sorrentino (42:19)
Was there a feature or something particular that sticks out to you?
Nick Edwards (42:23)
No, because these days it’s not like we wait six months for a project to finish. There’s there’s thousands of them every week.
Francesca Sorrentino (42:30)
Awesome. Matt, how about you at a moment in your day-to-day work?
Matt Hopgood (42:36)
I think he’s always, I think he’s always both heartening, um, and kind of humbling when you have all these conversations with folk and they express that, you know what, I love this and I don’t ever want to go back to them. We did this before and it happens with increasing frequency, um, which is, uh, which is always good Testament to the fact that, you know, things are, things are improving and moving in the right direction.
Francesca Sorrentino (43:02)
Yeah. I echo that people, some of the career evolutions, Nick, that you’ve described people feeling empowered to work in new functions with new mindsets, it feels like you’re just really appealing to the best nature of people. And, um, curiosity, as you said, is certainly an unlock to that. Anything Nick or Matt that you came here to say that you haven’t been able to say yet?
Nick Edwards (43:27)
No, I think, um, as we’ve said along, there is, there is a might use the term guard rails. There are certainly some guard rails out there. You know, I think you need to be tapped in all over the place to develop new guard rails all the time, yourself and not wait for someone else to deliver them for you. That we’ve constantly got to be curious ourselves about ways of working method. Um, and, um, it’s, uh, it never follows the book perfectly would be my final bit of advice. You will hit things along the way. Hence my word adaptability. I think you’ve got to constantly work at how you solve the next problem that isn’t quite in the textbook. Um, but it is solvable and using the power of a team to solve it is the most refreshing part.
Francesca Sorrentino (44:07)
All right. Thank you so much. Both of you. This has been rich and interesting and affirming. Um, I think it’s an exciting time for lots of financial services organizations to be thinking about, you know, what it takes to do transformational change. And as the pace of change continues to go quicker, the things to lean on are adaptability, curiosity, you multi-functional cross-functional teams. So thank you very much. Both of you for sharing your perspectives. Um, keep an eye out for more ex big podcast episodes in the coming months, we’ll be discussing the rise of AI, making the most of cloud and how to build a better neobank subscribe at our dedicated XBank website, xbank.publicissapient.com, where you can also learn about the how of digital banking transformation.