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A Holistic View and Participation in a Major Online Re-Platforming

Journal 33: Technical Finance

Zaka Mian, Nick Levy

As one of the U.K.’s leading financial services groups, Lloyds Banking Group is now well advanced with implementing a redesigned platform for our Internet banking offering to retail and business customers, across three high profile brands (Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, and Halifax). It would be an understatement to describe the challenges as “not small.” Maintaining business-as-usual for the Group’s millions of online customers while the upgrade is carried out was likened by one team member to “servicing the engines of a 747 while it’s in the air.”

To meet the project’s many challenges, we selected a number of specialist suppliers. We then adopted an innovative program structure. This was based on multiple workstreams which combined business and IT activity, rather than putting one or the other in the driving seat. The development of a “Release Zero” enabled us to carry out an architecture “dry run.” This ensured reliable service delivery, well in advance of going live.

The successful implementation of the new platform would see the Group taking a major step towards the realization of our digital strategy.

Background
Since we launched our online banking platform in 1997, Lloyds TSB has become one of the most popular online banks in the U.K., with over 3.5 million active users. Halifax Online went live in 1999. After the merger with Bank of Scotland in 2001, the same platform provided Internet banking services for the latter’s customers.

As an early adopter, we needed to re-engage with innovation
The Group’s long experience providing Internet banking services has proven to be a key factor in building a strong and loyal online customer base for all our brands. However, the pace of change in online banking is relentless. We were determined to ensure that our experience translated into ongoing and future market leadership. With online offers in the sector becoming more widespread and more sophisticated, our “early mover” platform had reached the stage where major overhaul was appropriate. Anything approaching obsolescence – and the resulting potential for competitive disadvantage – was not an outcome we could contemplate.

Our goal was technology and infrastructure to fully and sustainably support innovative services to Lloyds TSB customers. Additionally, for our 3.5 million active Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers, there should be no disconnect between desired quality of customer experience (something we have always taken pride in) and delivery.

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