For Yannick Huchard and Gary Roberts, the ING Group is refining its global strategy thanks to its strong engineering culture and agile governance.
What is the role of the enterprise architect? How does it differ from that of its IT counterpart?
In a context of omnipresent and constantly evolving digitalization, specific expertise on business transformation is necessary. The distinction is based on the framework itself: a business architect will develop a specialty in one or more trades; the IT architect will focus on ICT management. The corporate architect methodically paves the future of the organization, offers lasting strategic decisions focused on resilience to change and ensures that the execution conforms to the “by design” choices. They also define standards and best practices – most of which come from industry and common sense – to guide the firm in its strategies, particularly IT. The business architect then helps to develop products, services, processes and information systems, according to the emerging needs of society.
We favor strong collaboration and we thrive to reuse common tech solutions
How does the business architect intervene in the bank’s cloud approach?
Migrating a traditional infrastructure to a cloud provider seems natural, even essential in teleworking mode. Like many banks, we have a hybrid architecture with virtualized systems based on a hyper-converged infrastructure and integrated with our mainframe. A complete migration of banking IT remains complex and must be done incrementally in order to maintain operational security and resilience. The mission of the enterprise architect is to support the changes in the business and IT structures in place; to define the operational responsibilities; to describe the framework for the management and processing of data; to break down the security mechanisms and supervision; to carry out the financial study, while also establishing the “exit strategy.” It also involves discussing upstream and working hand-in-hand with the CSSF making it possible to develop qualified solutions. This is a win-win and lasting partnership.
How does the corporate architect help build the ING bank of tomorrow?
At the global level, our strength is based on an approach to building business and technological platforms “As a Service” as well as on a very strong engineering culture, of the “Engineering Journey” type, like the “Customer Journey.” We, therefore, work closely with other architects and squads from other countries, applying the principle of “Build once, consume everywhere.” As much as possible, we favor strong collaboration and we thrive to reuse common tech solutions. Of course, the agile practice advocates the autonomy of entities and that of employees. Adopting a “One Agile Way of Working” approach has made a large part of our execution and our work together on a large scale more fluid. Each architect is responsible for one or more banking areas. This distributed governance, with decision-making power and federated responsibility, ensures permanent communication both within the architecture team and with stakeholders. Thus, this constitutes the best operating model for our organization.