Banking Franchise Focuses on Service, Not Servers

By Eileen Feretic Print this article Print
Bryan Collins, BBVA

BBVA Compass is determined to provide the best possible customer experience, and the IT organization partners with the business to achieve that objective.

With a tagline of "AnywhereBanking," BBVA Compass must deliver on its promise to be responsive to its customers' needs. The U.S. banking franchise, which has 688 branches throughout the U.S. Sunbelt region, has three major business units: Commercial Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management.

To continue growing its business, the financial institution is determined to provide the best possible customer experience, and the IT organization partners with the business to achieve that objective.

"We're working to bridge the gap between service availability and reliability to better serve our customers," says Bryan Collins, BBVA's vice president, Network Operations & Support. "We measure the customer experience by transactions, so we can tell immediately when there's a problem that is having an impact on a customer.

"If it's a technology problem, then IT handles it. If it's a business problem, IT and the appropriate  business unit work together to resolve the issue. We work with many different teams throughout the organization."

Collins explains that availability involves the performance of individual tech components, while reliability  focuses on the customer experience. "Even if tech teams are 99.9 percent available, that doesn't mean the customer has had a good experience," he points out. "We knew we had to take a business-service perspective, not a technology-device perspective."

BBVA is in the process of making that shift, but it's a multiyear evolution that requires an organizational transformation—a cultural change in the way employees work.

"Culture is a big challenge—even harder than the technology challenge—because our employees must develop new ways of thinking about the IT infrastructure and the business," Collins says. "To make that happen, IT and the business units need to work together to solve the problems that affect our customers."

Another key stakeholder in this evolutionary change is top management. "This kind of wide-scale transformation must have executive buy-in," he stresses. In fact, executive buy-in is the first step in the transformation process. That's followed by vision and strategy, which then leads to implementation and measurement.

According to Collins, it's been more than a year and a half since the transformation to a service-centric organization began. He reports that CA Technologies' CA Service Assurance solutions and Business Service Reliability framework helped BBVA take a proactive approach to quickly identifying, isolating and resolving issues with the infrastructure. That involved developing a reliability strategy and integrating the company's availability model with its service-centric model.

"That approach has improved our mean-time-to-repair, which has improved the customer experience," Collins explains. "It has helped us transform the IT organization into one that understands customer needs and focuses on business service. We've made lot of progress, but it's an ongoing program. We will continue to refine and enhance our efforts to better serve our customers."

This article was originally published on 2014-01-15

Eileen Feretic is the Editor in Chief of Baseline.

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