Last update: 17/11/2021
This story begins in 2014 at Santander Group’s Centre of Global Excellence, which is intended to boost our digital transformation. These are all the advances we have made since then together with Agile, a methodology that came to revolutionise our way of working and put the focus on our customers.
The Agile methodology is one of the most innovative approaches we have at Santander, and one of the factors that has most contributed to our digital transformation. But it goes much further. Agile is a change in how we work and a drive to improve our entity’s ability to adapt to the constant changes in the market and in our customers.
How has it managed to transform us?
The launch of the Agile methodology has allowed us to have a powerful and innovative digital offering in which our customers find new customised business models to help resolve any problems or needs they may have. At the same time, it encourages more agile internal decision-making at the company, gives greater visibility to multidisciplinary teams, and helps change the way we work into an approach based on the trust and autonomy of our employees. In this way, we have improved processes and simplified our products by creating digital platforms.
And how have we applied Agile at Santander?
To tell the story about Agile at our entity we have to go back to 2014, when we created a Centre of Global Excellence, a place where we successfully brought together the work of all of our geographies and units in Agile transformation. Since then, this methodology has become a reality at Santander and at our various units: from HR to Technology, Operations and Costs. This transformation has been decentralised and each unit has been able to identify its purpose.
The agile way of working has bulked large in the covid-19 pandemic. In these exceptional times, we’ve kept the people and businesses we serve at the heart of what we do, giving them quick solutions according to their needs and interests. It wouldn't be possible without our employees, who've redoubled efforts to remain close to our customers, no matter the distance between us.
What is our Agile strategy?
Our transformation strategy has evolved in two fields at the same time: on the one hand, in the business teams, in IT automation and in the evolution of quality; and on the other, in the creation of vertical teams and in the best adaptability to business needs, among others.
Our internal strategy has developed a global Skill Model programme, in which all units/countries participate in defining the skills needed for the company of the future, while we develop a mapping of the necessary roles, and an educational pathway within our Agile Academy and Engineering Excellence, which has been in place since 2019 and which offers online, face-to-face and hybrid courses.
We have also held and supported two important benchmark events in the Agile community: the Agile Trends Festival to help people and businesses prosper using this methodology, even in the current conditions due to the covid-19 global pandemic, and Agile Days, when employees can meet “to create an organisation that better meets their business purpose,” as noted by Szymon Mercik, Global Head of Software Development and Agile Centre of Excellence.
Flavio Marietto, Global Leader of Agile Centre of Excellence, explains that “the challenge of our agile transformation is to prepare Santander for the current era of continuous change, in which we must have more flexibility and adaptability, associating the consistency of a traditional and structured company with speed, focus on our customers and the innovation of start-ups.”
And now we reap the rewards
Thanks to the path we have taken with Agile, we have improved processes, customer satisfaction levels, the level of commitment to our employees, and our capacity to innovate and be more flexible. We are also transforming our workspaces across all units to provide a more collaborative environment while also fostering innovation.
How have we achieved this? The evolution has been significant thanks to the adoption of Agile work frameworks that have enabled us to work with a more horizontal organisational structure, in order to facilitate decision-making, process simplicity and the level of innovation. As a result, we have combined our efforts and synergies, and we have improved our commitment to our teams. We will therefore continue progressing together with Agile.