The user experience has been dramatically improved, and new services and functions can be added and managed much more simply. The new digital bank was developed and put online by a consortium with Boondoggle and Five Degrees, under the leadership of Schuberg Philis, and all in just over a year.
Marinka van der Meer, CEO of Argenta, describes the company as "a modest niche company in the Netherlands, with ambitions. We position ourselves as a stable, reliable bank for people who make their decisions based on common sense and their own financial choices. There is a market demand for our services, as can be seen from our 300,000 customers and 750 intermediaries. In total, they have given us a mortgage portfolio of 16.5 billion euros, and 2.5 billion euros in deposits."
"Argenta Nederland is now one of the most modern digital banks, in terms of both customer service and automation," according to Pim Berger, Managing Director at Schuberg Philis. "The consortium's strength lies in providing fully integrated business and IT services. Argenta's customers have the best possible user experience, because Argenta has a complete picture of each of their customers and a state-of-the-art platform to serve them.
To set up a digital bank in such a short period is a unique achievement. This success story flows from strong synergy between the strategy that Argenta Belgium determined two years ago, our own expansion in services and personnel, and the highly effective partnership we have developed with Boondoggle and Five Degrees. Boondoggle built the front-end, with all the marketing tools needed to launch marketing strategies in the best possible way. Five Degrees supplies Matrix Midoffice, the banking services platform that keeps track of all customer details and business processes. The core banking part is structured around Matrix Accounts, also from Five Degrees. Schuberg Philis has final responsibility for the functionality, and we ensure that all the partners make best use of their strengths. We orchestrate operational IT, integrate, test and implement all applications and interfaces, and we host them in our Mission Critical Cloud. Now that the bank has gone live we take responsibility for the day-today functioning of the whole digital bank.
"Argenta Nederland is a modest niche company in the Netherlands, with ambitions."
One interesting aspect of this partnership is the geographical distribution of the partners. Boondoggle is in Leuven, in a distinctive old building, the former Stella Artois brewery. Five Degrees has its head office in Iceland, where the core banking system is maintained. Many of their developers are in Serbia, where the systems are customized. Schuberg Philis engineers have been in Iceland to do a full software review. Now we are at the project level, our team members from Five Degrees and Boondoggle are often with us in Schiphol-Rijk, and naturally also with Argenta in Breda. Scrum teams can work virtually up to a certain point, but face-to-face meetings remain important.
Remco Tonkes and Marcel van Ruijven from Schuberg Philis were involved from the very beginning, first as independent external parties, and now as colleagues. Tonkes brought with him a wealth of experience in banking. “At first it wasn’t easy for the engineers to get used to having a functional specialist in their midst,” he says. Pim Berger, Managing Director of Schuberg Philis, rates Tonkes’ contribution highly: “Given our ambition to provide a broader scope of IT services, we really needed him to give us credibility when speaking with the business.”
Van Ruijven came from the telecom market: “That has meant that technology and business are always inseparably linked for me.” So he immediately realized how versatile the project would be. “Formally speaking, the project began in October 2015, but we began in the summer, with workshops to explore all the possibilities. For example, the ‘onboarding’ process, which is about how one becomes a customer. We had to write the requirements for this, and that was when Remco entered the project.”
Tonkes: “Argenta wanted to go in one step from a traditional system based on account numbers to a system where everything is organized around the customer. Such a velocity can only be achieved with a suitable application landscape. Schuberg Philis is an expert in automating recurring IT-processes. With each new release, we know within two hours that all the basic functionalities are working. That has been a stupendous change for Argenta. Previously, they had four releases per year; now it’s one every week.”
In September 2016, the new site Agenta.nl went live. The migration weekend, when the data was transferred to the new application landscape, went really well except for one issue. All the tests indicated that the customers would be brought onboard without a hitch. But the team had under-estimated how effectively the marketing had worked: customers were registering en masse, putting the system under so much pressure that the onboarding had to be slowed down. That was a lesson we will remember when the mortgage products are integrated, which is planned for the summer of 2017.
We are increasingly seeking to offer end-to-end solutions to other customers as well. Pim Berger: “We can take this role more often. If we take care of the whole stack together, the system is much more manageable. In the past, if other parties delivered less than required, we had to make it all work regardless. Now we have everything more under control ourselves.” Van Ruijven: “Many people thought we would never manage this just over a year. Now it’s an importantlaunching pad for new projects.”
"Many people thought we would never manage this in just over a year. Now it’s an important launching pad for new projects.”
HOW BOONDOGGLE LINKS THE CUSTOMER TO THE SITE
Within our consortium, Boondoggle is responsible for the digital user experience and the integration of the marketing tools. Consumer needs were inventoried in a co-creative process with Argenta, using stakeholders and customer journey mapping, and then correlated with Argenta's brand values and product range. The result of this exercise was translated into an optimal digital proposition and user experience, which was the basis for the user interface design, the technical architecture blueprint, and the agile approach to the development process. Implementation was based on a combination of state-of-the-art experience management tools. Boondoggle CEO Pieter Lambrechts looks back proudly at the result and the smooth coordination of work with the partners: "The banking platform that we now have is the perfect basis for Argenta to thrive as a digital player in the Dutch market in the years ahead."