Agile transformation in the financial sector

Agile transformation is now playing an important role in many sectors of the economy, as projects are no longer limited to construction or information technology. Many industries are now working on projects and relying more and more on agile teams. 
But what about your industry? Are you already working in an agile way? The financial sector, among others, is at the forefront when it comes to embracing modern trends and acting innovatively. They are introducing new methods to adapt to the demands of the times.
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Challenges in the financial sector

Financial organisations manage vast amounts of data - from personal information to billions of daily transactions. Without an efficient management system, the consequences could be devastating. 
However, in addition to an efficient management system, it is also important to be flexible in the face of change, rather than stubbornly sticking to a plan. It is therefore important to share experience and knowledge so that the business can grow as a result.
This is where effective knowledge management comes in. It gathers and manages all the knowledge and experience in the organisation and makes it available to everyone. But that's not all, because another problem arises: optimising customer service.
This can be achieved through a service desk that simplifies the work of both the IT team and the customer service team. The service desk acts as a single point of contact between customers and service providers. It creates a smooth communication interface to ensure the best possible customer service. Staff have access to comprehensive information and can deal with all customer enquiries quickly and efficiently. 
This is a significant improvement in customer service, especially for companies with multiple locations.

Change in the financial sector

In the financial sector, agile transformation plays a critical role in meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing and complex environment. Agile processes in the financial sector are based on three pillars: transparency, robustness and customer focus.
Transparency is key as it enables a clear understanding of the status of projects, processes and finances. Through regular meetings such as Sprint Reviews and Daily Stand-ups, information is shared openly and obstacles are identified early. Transparency promotes better collaboration between teams and creates a common understanding of business goals.
Robustness refers to the resilience of agile processes in the financial sector to change and uncertainty. Financial markets and products can be volatile, so agile approaches must be able to adapt quickly to new circumstances and make the necessary adjustments to ensure long-term business success.
Customer focus ensures that the needs and requirements of customers are at the centre. Agile processes enable financial institutions to respond to customer feedback, develop new innovative products and continuously improve existing services. This increases customer satisfaction and strengthens competitiveness.
Transparency through knowledge management

As a financial services company, it is important to build an effective knowledge management system to enable agile transformation. This process starts in the IT department and enables all departments and employees to access technical documentation and information. This is where enterprise wikis come in. Wikis are websites whose content can be read and directly edited by the public in order to collect, document and share experience and knowledge collaboratively. Enterprise wikis, on the other hand, are only accessible via a company's intranet and can be customised to suit the company's needs. In this way, all employees have access to all knowledge via a single server. It is important to train employees in the use of the knowledge management system so that it can be used efficiently by all. The information must be well structured and easy to find.
It is also important that all employees actively contribute to the provision of information in the system, not just passively consume it. Only through this active participation can knowledge management be used effectively and comprehensively.
By implementing these agile methods and a well-functioning knowledge management system, financial organisations can optimise their business processes and further strengthen customer loyalty.
Customer satisfaction through the service desk

The next step in the agile transformation process for financial organisations is to implement a service desk with all the benefits already mentioned.
One point that has not yet been mentioned is the increased security of the IT infrastructure.  As only authorised service desk users have access to sensitive data, the confidentiality and availability of data is of paramount importance. In addition, regular customer support ensures that all data is correct and complete.  All changes must be traceable to ensure integrity. Data held by the service desk can be useful for decision making, but if the data is wrong and no one knows why, the consequences can be serious.
Robustness through incident management

In the agile transformation of financial organisations, the robustness of incident management is a critical factor. Incident management refers to the process of identifying, documenting, escalating and resolving IT incidents and problems that can impact business operations.
Similar to customer satisfaction in the service desk transformation and transparency in the knowledge management transformation, robustness is important in financial organisations' agile incident management transformation.
A robust incident management strategy and culture ensures that the organisation can respond quickly to incidents and manage them effectively to minimise downtime and maintain business continuity. This includes well-defined processes, clear responsibilities, smooth communication and the use of incident tracking and resolution tools.

Benefits of agile transformation in the financial sector

The pillars of agile transformation in the financial sector - transparency, robustness and customer satisfaction - are reflected in the benefits achieved in many ways. In the face of constant change in the financial sector, whether through technological innovation, regulatory adjustments or changing customer needs, agile approaches provide organisations with the ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances and implement innovative solutions in a timely manner.
In particular, the customer-focused benefits of agile transformation stand out. Through frequent customer feedback and iterative development, financial organisations can better tailor their products and services to the individual needs of their customers. This leads to a significant increase in customer satisfaction and thus to faster value creation for the company: Rapid adaptation of products and services is crucial in the competitive environment of the financial sector. Agile methods enable organisations to respond quickly to changes in market demand or new regulatory requirements, increasing their competitiveness and flexibility.
However, agile approaches are not just for working with clients, but also for internal team collaboration. They promote open exchange within the team, strengthen communication between employees and thus increase productivity and efficiency. A harmonious and collaborative team environment contributes significantly to the achievement of common goals.

Disadvantages of agile transformation in the financial sector

Even if the benefits of an agile transformation are compelling and the challenges associated with adopting an agile way of working are easy to overcome, there are still some issues that make a hybrid approach seem more sensible.
In particular, the issue of regular product innovation can be a major challenge for an organisation. If new products are launched all the time, employees need to be trained regularly to advise customers accordingly. This is time-consuming and can lead to employees not being trained in time. Therefore, getting to market quickly is not always the best solution.
Even though many companies are on their way to becoming agile, it is important to remember that it is also possible to work in a traditional way if you have a fixed goal in mind. This gives a lot of people involved planning security. This is especially true of external parties, who are more likely to commit to a contract if they have some degree of certainty.


There is no question that agile transformation has an important role to play, especially in the financial sector. However, when a company decides to adopt an agile approach, it needs to decide whether it is possible and therefore sensible to do so. After all, optimal implementation is not always possible, which would lead to unnecessary delays. Each company has to find the right path for itself.

Agile transformation in the financial sector - the IAPM logo
Author: IAPM internal
Keywords: Project management, Agile

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