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Latest information about 11th Annual Operational & Back Office Excellence in Banking Summit



Chief Operations Officer, GM

The Role of Operations in Agile / Current Trends and Challenges

All operations departments in the banks’ society face similar challenges. They have gone through functions centralisation, major automations, lean process redesign, local automations, re-engineering, RPA implementation and now we are on the edge where we have to choose our future path. The choice is more or less binary: shall we pass our remaining functions to IT support, when most of the processes will be automated or shall we change the operational function completely? Operation team in Sberbank has its own view on this dilemma — we should take on the new roles. As of now we see two major opportunities and we are working towards their achievement.

The first role is Operational Product Owner (PO), as we called it. Traditionally, banking operations’ teams are excluded from Agile practices in the organisations. However, we faced the product-driven demands for such roles in operations, especially in the business units, who are actively working in Agile structures. The role in Agile that we are talking about as the “most wanted” — is a role of a single point coordinator integrated in the operations teams. Commonly operations’ team is process-oriented and concentrated on settlement, payments, accounting, controls, custody, etc. At the same time operational coordinator — PO, who is also a member of one of those teams, combines knowledge from the mentioned operational areas by single product group and simultaneously can be process and product-oriented. Operational PO knows the nature of the operations in specific product, is experienced in the market requirements, he can work together with the business product owner on the tasks implying product implementation, amendments, redesign — everything that is often called “change”. After nomination of such roles in the operations’ team we managed to speed up the products set-up, simplify the communication and new products implementation process by greatly reducing number of participants as well as straight-forwarding the whole change process.

The second role is Operational Data Engineer. Currently, there are tremendous amounts of data accumulated in operations. We feel that our sophisticated knowledge of product settlement, payments, accounting and reporting practices shall be combined with data science in order to extract value from these “golden” data assets. In order to achieve this goal, we need at least two things in place: appropriate staff and instruments. While plans of achieving of the first component are rather simple — we are modifying recruitment requirements and developing special learning or “rebooting” programs, the second component demands special steps to be taken. We are going towards creating special instruments that operations employees own and develop themselves.

This is just a brief introduction of two roles in the operations area. The whole challenge of redefining operations role is still to be achieved. Nowadays banking services and products are changing rapidly. Probably we will find alternative or absolutely different roles and solutions. Let us discuss this together!


Lead Consultant
Danske Bank

STRIVE for perfection in service delivery

Daily Banking Services has been part of the continuous improvement journey in Danske Bank for a long period of time. The last three years has focused on developing continuous improvement into a way of management. The effort has been pivotal in delivering on strategic ambitions in DBS.

This article was originally published at

Peter has worked with development and implementation of operations management in service for +15 years with lean thinking as the guide throughout. Results have been published in Børsen Ledelseshåndbøger and Effektivitet and presentet at DI Produktivitetskonference and The Danish TWI Conference. Since 2015 he has helped to improve service delivery to customers in Danske Bank. He was co-developer of STRIVE and the TWI based approach to quality management.


Head of Operations
Erste Bank Hungary

Questions For Reka Schreiber

How can new technologies help modernise back office?

I believe back office is already moving from an input factory to a smaller team focused on introducing automation and change, managing a very low level of exceptions and maintaining constant monitoring.

What are the practical opportunities for AI, cognitive computing and machine learning in creating efficiencies and optimising back office processes and functions?

All the listed technological advances are means to reduce the every-day, repetitive functions in back office so that the highly skilled specialists can focus on implementing these solutions into more and more functions.

How to be a lean, agile and collaborative bank?

In a continuous manner. There is no stopping. As soon as operations steps on the road of being an enabler of change, collaboration with other units becomes inevitable and the norm. As soon as the organisation as such understands that old processes cannot and must not be replicated to new systems and solutions, and new processes cannot be designed alone, efficient process management methods become focal.

What can we expect from operations in banking in the near future?

As stated above, I believe the back office of the future will be smaller in scale (though not in cost) as it becomes the enabler and sometimes the driver for those technological changes that make the daily operations of a bank almost fully automated. Designing, implementing and monitoring said developments, ensuring that they fit into the already working solution set will require highly skilled, process-thinking and collaborative people.

Having spent 20+ years in banking, most of it in operations/customer experience and process management, she has personally experienced the changes back office has been going through. However, according to her, they are not at the end of that particular road.

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