How agility has transformed data and analytics at ANZ
- 09 March, 2018 07:08
Two years ago, the data and analytics team was seen as a backwater cost centre within ANZ, a silo to be trimmed when needed that was offering little observable value to anyone. On top of this, the employee NPS score with the team was measured at minus 48, a dire position for any business that relies on its people to deliver customer experience.
ANZ data and analytics tribe lead, Sam Kline, said it was clear ANZ had to make big, fundamental changes to the team and the way in which it operated if any kind of improvement was going to be achieved.
“The data and analytics team were trying to be everything to everyone, and therefore we were nothing to no one. We had functional expertise, but we operated in really big silos, which weren’t connected,” Kline said at the recent ADMA Data Day.
“Of course, we were in data and analytics, and that’s the new black, but we were not doing what the business wanted and what the business needed. We had to do something to turn this around, and it had to be big."
Kline explained the team was a mess of competing priorities. No one really understood what they should be working on and how what they did connected to customer outcomes. They also didn’t work as a cohesive unit.
The team made the decision to become agile and use an agile way of working. "We formed the team into a series of squads, which were cross-functional, meaning rather than operating independently, there are all skills and expertise represented in each squad,” Kline said.
“We also forced ourselves to create one list of demands and to rank those demands. And we found this to be inherently powerful, when you have a group of people who need to be protected to work on the most important priorities, to know what those priorities are.
“It was a bit rocky to start with, however, we started to understand how powerful this way of working was, and from there we could extend our scale. We also started to run agile, connected squads overseas, where previously they worked quite independently."
What started with six or seven squads grew to nine or 10, plus two overseas. "The team overseas had been an opaque team we kind of knew did stuff, but it wasn’t really connected to us because we didn’t ask them to do stuff in the right way. All of a sudden, however, their cross-skilled teams are with us on the daily rituals and are really well connected," Kline said.
“Now, we have about 19 squads all running in parallel with each other, all delivering far better outcomes that we’d ever been able to deliver before, all because there was now a clarity, there is a clear purpose; they were protected from everything else happening in the business and they were able to work on the important things."
An internal Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey before changing to this agile way of working was a dire -48. "But the process of going through and understanding how your people are feeling really shocks you into change," Kline commented.
“A few months later we polled again, and we’d jumped up 13 points to -35. This was around the time when we were just getting the agile squads going, but it started to give us hope that we were not going to exist in this space forever.
“Four or five months later we were at -6, a real jump. This is when we started to roll out our offshore teams and started to get a really good vibe going between the tribes. The score was still negative, which hurt, but we were starting to get a little bit of respect in ourselves and from our stakeholders."
Rather than data and analytics being an afterthought at the end of the process, the team was starting to be right up the front of that process. And by August 2017, the NPS had jumped up to +20.
"That’s a 68 points in just over 12 months, which was a phenomenal turnaround in how the teams felt about themselves, but also in the quality of what we were delivering and how we were delivering it," Kline said.
After seeing what a success the new agile way of working was using tribes and squads, ANZ chief executive, Shayne Elliott, announced all of the banking giant would move to a more agile way of working, a process that is currently underway.
“We have embarked on a fundamental and radical change to turn a big bureaucratic institution into an agile institution, because we recognised what got us here will not get us there,” Kline said.
“Part of it was Shayne seeing some European banks before and after they’d made a change to agility, and what a dramatic shift there was in terms of being a place to work and in the ability to adjust to market conditions. There are big shifts in industries right now, and banking is prime for disruption.”
Kline said being able to connect with what people are working on on a daily basis and connecting it all the way up to a purpose is vital.
“Of course, customers are at the heart of this change at ANZ. Tribes are collections of people who have a set mission, it is a fundamental way of grouping people to deliver outcomes," he continued. "Part of our new way of working has been how to reorganise around the customer. We’ve done this in three key streams: Customer experience, customer engagement, and customer operations. It is no longer about credit cards or mortgages, it is reorienting and redesigning our purpose."
Key to the shift has been embedding the data and analytics skillsets into the squads to deliver outcomes, rather than the separate teams of the past. This ensures they are closely connected into the business outcomes, the customer outcomes, and helping those squads in those tribes bring the purpose to life, Kline said.
"It has the added advantage of bringing a data-driven lens to everything we are doing," he said. “These tribes and squads are very deliberately designed. From a data and analytics point of view, I feel like this design has meant rather than being a cost centre that needs to be thinned, we are out and recruiting people again. We’ve gone from being a backwater to a fundamental part of the new design."