05 October 2020
By introducing a single common code base we transformed the speed and volume at which we provide digital facilities and features to customers in 16 markets, explains Charles Allen.
As Global Head of Mobile and Smart Channels I was deeply involved in the successful 2-year transformation of our online and mobile wealth and personal banking platforms that we recently completed.
It's only when you step back and reflect on what's happened, can you really start to comprehend the scale of the changes.
We launched 26 new public websites and 12 new mobile apps, as well as new online banking and security platforms for nearly two million HSBC wealth and personal banking customers in 16 markets globally. It's given our digital channels an easier log-on process, enhanced security, global features, an improved user experience and better response times.
Across the 16 markets we've released more than 300 new digital facilities and features to customers in 2020, compared to about 160 in the whole of 2019. Over just three weeks in May we introduced 77 new customer registration processes for different products as we completed the rollout of the common technical platform.
Overall, we've been able to deliver hundreds of new digital features to customers, ranging from instant account activation, 'move money' payments and transfer services, biometrics and e-statements. A 40-second log-on using a hard token has been reduced to one-tenth of that time, or however long a customer takes to key in a 6-digit code.
When we started the transformation in May 2018 a key deliverable was to put a secure and easy-to-use bank in our customers' pockets. The first step towards that was to shut down and replace legacy platforms with a technology stack capable of delivering digitally to our customers at the speed they expected.
In addition, by sharing a single code our new platforms can provide a common set of customer journeys. They differ slightly for each market in order to meet local requirements and regulations, however, they are all built on a single code base that we update through configuration.
That's very different from the traditional approach to tailoring business process functionality through writing customised code for your application, which inevitably becomes a challenge to update and maintain enterprise-wide.
Instead of a complicated, slow and expensive approach to business releases and updates, we can deliver them regularly and respond quickly to what's important to our customers and to our colleagues who service them.
This 'loose coupling'-type of structure also means that the cost of updating has fallen significantly. Formerly, changes had to be extensively tested before deployment. Now we can use APIs to expose functionality, allowing us to make changes to individual platforms independently and in a modular way.
Another significant driver for the transformation was to ensure we had a technology stack that was capable of delivering digitally to our customers at the speed they expected.
As an HSBC employee it has been hugely satisfying to provide simpler, safer and smarter banking for our customers.
Click here to see a visual representation of the transformation.