The Agile Approach: Five Benefits for Financial Services

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Among the success factors for digital transformation, none is more important than agility, and this firmly applies to financial services. On a global basis, Infosys has helped numerous financial services firms adopt agile approaches for greater value realization. Our experience shows that agility has five underlying principles.

  • Understand the bigger picture – Digital transformation can and should be represented as a roadmap of milestones, features to be released incrementally, or a chart of targeted outcomes. Understanding this bigger picture helps agile teams identify precisely what steps they must take to achieve the desired results. Built with multi-skilled personnel, agile teams collaborate well with business units to uncover challenges, brainstorm solutions, and execute them. A potential use case includes financial services firms driving front-to-back digital transformation in various customer journeys (e.g., lending, customer onboarding). This involves moving from a traditional organizational model featuring functional departments such as Sales, Fulfilment, Product Management, Marketing, IT, Operations, and more to a completely agile Spotify “Squads, Tribes, Chapters” like model. In another example, a leading U.S. insurance company successfully used agile to enhance business-IT collaboration on a large digital transformation program, reducing time-to-market for new features by nearly 80%.
  • Shift from a project-based to a product-driven mindset – Agile is more than an IT concept for improving project delivery. Agile represents a new, enterprise-wide mode of thinking that encompasses customer-centricity, business-driven IT, and outcome-oriented change, while demanding business value from every project. A leading broker/dealer leveraged agile for modernizing a legacy platform to a distributed transaction posting system, which helped handle market volatility while more than doubling transactions per second.
  • Translate agile digital to clear outcomes – Digital capabilities should drive clear outcomes, and agile helps. Feature prioritization based on business value facilitates an outcome-driven mind set, while shorter and more frequent release cycles provide continuous visibility to the business, making it easier to pivot based on evolving requirements. Agile does deliver impressive outcomes. For example, a U.S. bank that shifted to agile for faster business results achieved a 25% increase in revenue from digital channels by expanding market coverage – new and national markets – offering more value-added services, such as pre-approved or proactive offers, and curating new services beyond banking (e.g., lifestyle services).
  • Get on-demand DevOps-based delivery – Agility is about creating a continuous lifecycle of product development and delivery. With its combination of iterative delivery and continuous feedback from business, new capabilities and high-quality products or services can be delivered on demand. A well-defined technology and tooling ecosystem are required to accelerate this cycle utilizing DevOps. A leading Australian bank that adopted DevOps for a strategic digital initiative for retail banking found that it amplified the business feedback loop by 20X and accelerated release cycles, resulting in faster time to market and rapid response to changing market needs. 
  • Innovate continuously and responsibly – While agile helps organizations foster a culture of experimentation and innovation, this culture must be nurtured across the enterprise and not be relegated to a single “innovation team.” Initiatives such as hackathons, ideathons, or immersive learning experiences based on the principles of failing fast with a focus on cross-functional collaboration help firms remain ahead of the innovation curve.

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