ANZ can watch live NPS impact of internet banking outages

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ANZ can watch live NPS impact of internet banking outages
ANZ's Nayla Donati.

Reveals technology roadmap.

The ANZ team responsible for its internet banking platform is shown the live impact of outages - and, conversely, new feature introductions - on the bank’s net promoter score (NPS).

The team is officially known as the customer self-service tribe, and is itself part of the digital portfolio in ANZ’s Australian retail and commercial banking domain.

“We predominantly look after the internet banking platform,” release lead - chapter lead Nayla Donati told last month’s New Relic FutureStack19 conference in Sydney.

Donati said the bank is “investing quite heavily” in alerting and monitoring to try to recognise issues before they turn into full-blown outages.

“One of the most important measures of success for us is customer feedback,” Donati said.

“We measure our Net Promoter Score, and we've actually got a dashboard up in our team that's going all the time with live NPS scores, getting live feeds of customer data and what they want. 

“We take that quite seriously. We've got a Slack channel with an ANZ social media feed of what our customers are actually telling us. 

“So for us, our NPS score is the biggest indicator of how successful or unsuccessful we are and typically we find when there are unfortunately outages, our NPS score goes down and when we've got stable platforms, and we're providing some features that our customers [want], it goes up. 

“So there's a direct correlation between the stability of the [internet banking] platform - allowing people to have access to their money, make payments and pay the bills etc. - with a higher NPS score.”

Donati said that correlation meant the customer self-service tribe needed to better understand “what’s happening in our production system” to stay on top of issues and meet customer expectations.

“Alerting and monitoring is one of our number one technology priorities, and we're investing quite heavily in that,” she said.

“Our landscape is really quite complex. We're consistently working on infrastructure monitoring, application monitoring and synthetics [using New Relic technology] on some of the more important customer flows, so we can actually dig in and understand what's actually happening and know when things are about to go wrong before our customers do.

“The more we dig deeper, the more we actually realise we need to know. 

“It's a long journey for us and there's a lot of work to do in that space.”

Going Agile

Donati said the customer self-service tribe’s mission is to “provide great experiences for our customers and bankers to DIY and essentially self-serve.”

She said the bank’s ongoing Agile transformation, known as new ways of working (NWOW), had created a stronger engineering culture within the institution, including with internet banking.

“The changes in the customer self-service tribe have been immense,” Donati said.

“Two to three years ago, our internet banking platform was managed fully by a vendor.

“It was a ‘black box’. You'd write requirements documents, you'd flick it over the fence, and a number of months later you'd get some code [to put] into production. 

“With this Agile transformation and with the formation of cross-functional squads that are made up of both ANZ and vendor staff, it really has increased transparency, and opened up and demystified delivery in a sense.”

Internet banking tech roadmap

Donati said that the internet banking domain is undergoing a couple of “really big” changes.

“The first thing that we're doing is upgrading our underlying platform, so we're going through an application upgrade,” she said.

“The second thing that we're doing is we are transforming our architecture and transitioning from a monolithic application into becoming a headless services platform that can build and expose services to other channels within the bank and to people like open banking who need services.

“By moving into a headless services platform, it actually increases our agility, and it actually reduces bottlenecks, so we [can] build and expose services once and it can be used by multiple channels across the bank, which really leads to a better customer outcome. 

“So rather than different divisions of the bank building the same thing in slightly different ways, we start to get autonomy.”

Headless services is a construct commonly associated with Kubernetes environments, and this appears to be what Donati was referring to. 

ANZ is well and truly on that path, recently sponsoring Kubernetes expert Kelsey Hightower to come and review its engineering practices.

Donati said ANZ had a “huge agenda” for technology investment ongoing, including
“two to three years’ worth of work around re-platforming and changing our architecture”. 

From the customer self-service tribe’s perspective, “some of the stuff on our technology roadmap is really around how we move our CI [continuous improvement] pipeline into the cloud and containerising our platform to just increase our delivery speed to deliver new functions to customers,” she said.

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