By FintechOS · March 29, 2022
7 minute read

The road to digital transformation

SocGen Transformation

BRD Groupe Société Générale shares the secrets of a radical and successful upgrade

Big banks are complex organizations, often with thousands of applications running across a vast array of products and services. Needless to say, transformation is hard. A common analogy we’ve heard is that it’s like turning around an oil tanker.

BRD Groupe Société Générale, with almost 100 years of history and a full-service product suite, is definitely a big bank. As the Romanian branch of SocGen, it is trusted by customers to deliver services without downtime or glitches. Upgrades must be seamless.

Which is why BRD’s recent delivery of a radical and transformative upgrade program is a game-changer. FintechOS spoke to two of the architects to discover how it was done.

Maja Mikic, executive director of digital transformation at BRD Groupe Société Générale, made clear the ambition behind the project.

“The face of the bank totally changed,” said Maja. “The reputation of the bank was boosted, and we are seeing the positive reactions in the face of customers.”

She reveals that the mission was two-fold: the first step was to transform the way customers interacted with the bank. While physical visits to branches remain possible, BRD wanted to offer an entirely digital interface, with the best possible customer journey. It was important that the journey was both fast and transparent.

The second goal was to transform the internal workings of the bank.  BRD wanted zero bureaucracy and waste, with data harnessed for better insights, and processes automated as much as possible.

The results

“For the customer, a key number is the duration of the customer journey to get to a loan. I’m very happy to say that we have achieved 15 minutes from first contact with the platform.

“Even more exceptional is how long it takes to open an account. In fact, it takes 15 to 20 minutes, and that’s with all the customer checks. We need to do identification at a distance, and make sure the application is okay. This can involve a video call lasting 20 minutes, which is I think something rather exceptional for a bank,” Maja said.

How was this achieved?

Maja explained not only was the project challenging, involving multiple partners, but it took place remotely, owing to the pandemic.

“Most of the team members and myself couldn’t see each other until the project was delivered. That, fortunately, did not prevent us from collaborating extremely well.  The choice of partners helped,” Maja said.

“We had a couple of partners, the first of which was FintechOS. We’re happy to say the final result is not only great from the product point of view, but from the human relations point of view. We have built a partnership that on all sides we really want to keep.”

To illustrate the size of the digital transformation project, Maja offered numbers. The BRD project involved:

  • 1000 sessions
  • 100 colleagues taking part
  • 350,000 lines of code
  • 20 customer documents updated
  • 350 user stories
  • 80 UX screens designed
  • 20 systems and apps integrated
  • 4 vendors involved
  • 8 NPC committees
  • 10 norms and instructions updated
  • 2 teams enabling Safety & Complexity
  • 6 training sessions for call center operatives

Maja noted that a flatter communications structure will be prioritized in the future. “The more shallow the channel of communication, the more direct it is. Developers want to listen to the live words of the business request. We are already improving this aspect of direct communication.”

She said this includes the partners: “I spoke with a FintechOS developer yesterday, and we had a perfectly good understanding. We want our business to become a bit more technical and knowledgeable about the IT ecosystem, and we want developers to exit their shells and understand the final purpose of their coding and development contribution. That’s probably the best thing we can improve on in the future.”

Next to share insights was Florin Boldescu, chief digital officer of BRD Groupe Société Générale.

When FintechOS’ Andrei Gaman asked Boldescu why FintechOS was chosen for the digital transformation work, he was quick with this reply.

“Three reasons,” said Boldescu. “Let me give you some context. We needed to accelerate digital transformation in the front end, payments, ecommerce – everything which could put us in a position to serve our customers and compete in this market. The second is to build a data-driven organization. Because even if you build a front end, cool apps, and so on, you still need to look at the data. You could use artificial intelligence, focus on service performance or operational performance, and other use cases, with the data.

“The third direction is the new way of working. As Maja mentioned, the way we work with FintechOS is to bring you inside the organization’s culture of innovation. In this scenario, our partnership works very well. It helped BRD accelerate.

“A key reason the partnership works so well is the way FintechOS no-code/low-code platform allows product owners to make changes themselves, both to the UX, and also to the financial model. The idea is to empower executives on the front lines to control their own destiny. It helps banks develop a “maker culture”.

“I’m glad we are part of a maker culture again,” said Boldescu. “From the beginning of mankind we have been building things. It’s part of our nature, to create, to innovate, to discover the world. If you bring no-code/low-code inside your organization, you create a new generation of builders. It’s what we call citizen developers. Business people use a drag and drop environment to create products.”

He said these tools transform the way the bank works.

“It is really important for business people not only to pass the relevant customer needs to the people in IT, to make a product and push it to market, but also to have the ownership of that platform and be able to make what the customer wants. At times from scratch.”

This method means products are refined. The customer journey is improved again and again. “You use technology to reduce friction,” Boldescu added.  “Overall, the ambition of the bank is enhanced. Staff feel they can achieve anything.”

“We live in a really cool time!” enthused Boldescu. “From a technological point of view to shoot for the moon is the best thing we can do right now.”

I’m glad we are part of a maker culture again,” says Florin Boldescu, chief digital officer of BRD Groupe Société Générale. “From the beginning of mankind we have been building things. It’s part of our nature, to create, to innovate, to discover the world. If you bring no-code/low-code inside your organisation you create a new generation of builders. It’s what we call citizen developers. Business people use a drag and drop environment to create products.

Florin Boldescu,  Chief Digital Officer of BRD Groupe Société Générale

How can we help

Interested in learning how our experience with BRD – Groupe Société Générale can help you implement your own radical digital transformation program?  Let our team of experts show you the possibilities of FintechOS’ digital banking platform. Book a demo now.

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Photo: Left – Andrei Gaman, VP of Sales Banking, EuropeFintechOS; Right – Maja Mikic, Executive Director for Digital transformation, BRD Groupe Société Générale

*Photo taken during FintechOS Leap event, November 2021

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