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Agile is the mantra at Rabobank

The bank has already transformed itself into an Agile organization and innovations are just the usual way of operations:

Rabobank – Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A. in full – is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services group based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The group comprises 89 local Dutch Rabobanks, Rabobank Nederland, which is the central organization, and several specialized subsidiaries.

Rabobank professes that its ideology is to work for creating a better world, mainly by helping customers to achieve good financial health and growth, and by making a significant contribution to the solution of the global food problem. The bank gives high priority for digitization and innovation. And it accords high value for cooperation.

DIGITIZATION FOR CONVENIENCE

The basic idea of digitization for the bank is to enable its customers to manage their financial affairs anytime, anywhere and right away, using a single app. More than 50% of the bank’s private customers and more than 80% of its business customers are active users of online channels. The bank offers in its app, Rabo Assist, services such as IBAN-Name Check, iDEAL QR, Payment Request and the unblocking of credit and debit cards. The app also makes it possible to do voice-activated banking, and facilities such as Touch ID/Fingerprint and FaceID. One unique offering is Peaks, a robo investment tool for millennials, which is described as an online housekeeping account book. Peaks allows the bank’s customers to get a better insight into their finances and help them to become financially self-sufficient. It also has an investment app that allows the customers to round up their bank debits, with the difference being automatically added to investment savings.

The bank has collaborated with Microsoft and MKB-Nederland in organizing Workplace Digitization to help entrepreneurs grow and modernise. There is also the Rabo Entrepreneurs Academy, which offers practical courses for entrepreneurs to better manage their business. Much of the bank’s innovations take place in the food and agricultural sector through various innovation companies, platforms such as Foodbytes! and Terra, and the Rabobank Frontier Ventures Investment Fund.

CORE COMPETENCIES

The bank’s strategy is to direct investment to its core competencies like product development and customer service while non-core functions are often outsourced, which is done using its integration platform. The bank has standardized its partner connections and automated onboarding process using IBM Sterling Commerce. IBM is also partner for the bank’s retail banking unit for practically all functionalities. IBM’s solutions are also helping it to onboard new partners rapidly, with the assurance that its critical connections are available round the clock.

AGILE WAY OF WORKING

The bank has successfully transformed itself into an Agile way of working. The transformation started some 10 years ago and the bank has seen that Agile brings in transparency, and transparency increases control. Being in control has helped it to advance and innovate faster. The Agile way of working has also helped it to make its business and IT teams work as one team and in cohesion, create better quality apps, achieve increased responsiveness, shorter timelines for innovations, more control over processes and enhancements and empowerment for employees. The bank, in implementing Agile way of working, collaborated with Xebia, a consulting firm and IT services group in the Netherlands.

Rabobank is also a leader in using AI. It has completed some 100 projects that involves AI. It makes use of Dataiku, the world’s advanced enterprise AI platform. The platform supports the bank’s Intelligence Lab in deploying AI projects across the organization for hundreds of users. It is now being used to broaden the adoption of AI across various departments such as marketing, sales, finance, risk management and audit. One specific AI-based system is the RATE System, which gives customers insight into their transactions and ensures financial transparency. It combines business logic with statistical models and neural networks, all published in an API, so that transactions occur in near real-time.

3 OBJECTIVES

Rabobank has always insisted that its digital strategy has 3 objectives – to become a data-driven digital bank, to innovate within and beyond banking, and to construct an agile organization and future-proof its technology. To accomplish the first objective, it has chosen the smartphone. At the bank, more than 70% of customers use the digital platform and almost two-thirds of new customers are digitally onboarded. As regards the second objective, the bank innovates in line with its mission of ‘growing a better world together’. Its robo investment tool Peaks is an example. And with regard to the third objective, the bank has already moved to a sphere where it is described as an Agile organization. It has set up a digital hub, testing the agile method of working together in small teams with greater responsibility and decisioning power to move fast.

For the bank now, the mobile phone, the internet and the social media are run-of-the-mill technologies to offer banking services. The innovations now happen in realms like blockchain technology, nascent quantum computers or privacy-enabling technology.

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(This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.)

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