DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

VTB underwent rapid digitalisation in 2020. Thanks to actions and initiatives taken in the second half of 2019 and the well-coordinated work of the entire team, VTB was able not only to respond to the unprecedented challenges of the past year but also to bolster its leadership position in the market as a whole. In accordance with the Development Strategy adopted in April 2019, VTB Group set itself rather ambitious goals for the period up to 2022 and outlined key development areas. All of them are connected in one way or another with the technological transformation.

In accordance with the Development Strategy for 2019–2022, the following key priorities for the Bank’s technological development have been identified:

  • a reliable and flexible platform;
  • a new production model and new competencies;
  • internal efficiency.

To fulfil our established goals and objectives, 12 digital transformation programmes got under way starting at the end of 2019 and continuing throughout 2020. By the end of 2020, we had achieved the following important results in terms of the Bank’s technological development:

  • the number of VTB Online users increased by 1.6 million (to 10 million) during the year; the share of VTB Online sales in the Retail Business increased from 15% to 25% in 2020;
  • the share of mortgage applications submitted through digital channels increased threefold (from 5% to 15%), and the share of loans issued without a visit to a Bank office increased from 10% to 25%;
  • there was a fourfold reduction (to four days) in the time needed to develop a pre-approved offer for key products through the new retail credit conveyor, and the average limit for pre-approved loans and credit cards increased by 18%;
  • express loans and express guarantees for small and medium-sized businesses were introduced based on the technologies used for the credit conveyor;
  • there was a 24-fold reduction (to 20 minutes) in the time needed for an individual entrepreneur to open a current account thanks to the optimisation of verification on the part of the back office;
  • the productivity of remote banking services for legal entities in terms of payment orders for customers and the provision of statements increased more than tenfold thanks to the implementation of the platform and the reduced complexity of the processes involved;
  • the time needed to review applications for a number of large-business products was reduced to 85 minutes thanks to the creation of a technological basis for the digitalisation of our loans business;
  • the use of artificial intelligence in 2020 enabled us to earn RUB 1.2 billion (137 models are in use in the business processes of all global business lines). Data analytics platforms (a graph platform, a geo-platform, and a model development and application platform) were introduced. For example, the geo-platform enables the Bank to make a variety of forecasts and receive data analysis for various objects, connections and parameters in the form of interconnected information blocks (graphs). With its help, it is possible, for example, to calculate with a sufficiently high degree of precision the prospects for the development of a land plot, the optimal cost per square metre of real estate and the level of demand. A platform for natural language processing (NLP) became available in our VTB Online mobile application at the end of February 2021; the platform is needed for the introduction of smart chatbots and voice assistants.
Our goal is to create convenient and affordable products and services for our customers through digitalisation, as well as to greatly improve the Bank’s internal efficiency and create additional competitive advantages.

Building technology platforms

We achieved the results described above thanks to intense work on the creation of technology platforms. The following projects were implemented in 2020 as part of our efforts to build technology platforms:

  • the first microservice platform in Russia for complex automation of all channels of communication with customers was developed; the following services were introduced on the platform:
    • a new mobile bank for the Retail Business, which was included in ratings of the top five mobile financial applications;
    • the first products for MSB customers in the context of remote banking services (opening and maintaining accounts, cash transactions, currency control, deposits and others);
  • a platform for open application programming interfaces (open APIs) was introduced for integration with the Bank’s partners in developing the partner network;
  • a qualitative leap was made in terms of the reliability and availability of systems – system availability increased to 99.87%, including scheduled maintenance work; the number of crashes was reduced by more than half, and the time needed to correct them was also reduced by more than half;
  • in the context of the unification and simplification of the IT landscape, all Bank branches were migrated to a single centralised banking IT system (Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Khabarovsk, Yekaterinburg, Moscow and Samara);
  • data processing centres (DPCs) are undergoing a large-scale, comprehensive upgrade programme.

New management model and production process

Successful work on the Bank’s technological development is based on a new model of programme and project management and a new production process, thanks to which:

  • a platform for automating the development and introduction of technology products was created, and the working rhythm between the business lines and IT in cross-functional teams was synchronised with deliveries of changes every two weeks;
  • the time to bring new technological products to market was reduced by 87.5% (from 240 to 30 days);
  • a new organisational model for VTB Bank was developed in accordance with the target IT architecture;
  • through effective procurement management, we managed to secure significant additional discounts, which made it possible to meet excess business needs and also to take into account the changes associated with the spread of COVID-19 without increasing the budget.

As a result of the acceleration of the Bank’s technological transformation and the successful implementation of technological programmes in 2020, the reliability of the Bank’s IT systems increased considerably (from 96.74% to 99.87%), and the number of IT system crashes was reduced by more than half, and the time needed to recover from crashes decreased by 58%. At the same time, the total number of changes in our IT systems increased over this period by 57%, and the time-to-market indicator (time for displaying changes) decreased by 87.5%.

In addition, the Bank developed and strengthened the architectural function that controls all IT systems, namely:

  • the Bank developed its target application architecture for the period to 2022;
  • a decommissioning plan was approved for 100 untargeted IT systems;
  • the entire IT landscape was brought under full architectural control with a focus on omnichannel and credit conveyors;
  • the platform architecture was developed;
  • the controllability and transparency of architectural processes were improved;
  • a qualitatively new process for making architectural decisions at all levels (strategic, stream and team) was built; proactive monitoring of the achievement of the target architecture was introduced.

The key elements of the new production operations for developing technology products were successfully implemented. More than 170 streams were generated with assigned responsibility for business and technological results. About 1,250 cross-functional teams were created in streams, employing more than 12 thousand participants working according to the agile methodology. An effective monitoring and reporting system was created with more than 100 dashboard metrics (available online to monitor the work of streams and teams). A target platform for the automated development and testing of technological products (DevSecOps) was introduced. As a result, a single operational rhythm was created for all of VTB Bank, which ensures synchronisation in achieving the Bank’s strategic goals.

Data management development strategy

In the context of the implementation of the data management strategy, the following results were achieved:

  • reducing the cost of ownership by approximately RUB 0.4 billion per year thanks to the introduction of a new platform for archiving information in the main data warehouses;
  • the performance of data warehouses doubled thanks to their migration to state-of-the-art platforms;
  • online analysis of business performance was enabled through the introduction of an operational data warehouse for 20 of the Bank’s key systems;
  • about 100 aggregated data marts were developed for use by the Bank’s global business lines and by global functional lines in the data platform.

The use of data models in VTB Bank’s business processes made it possible to achieve the following results:

  • RUB 346 million in income was received in 2020 thanks to the use of data models; over a period of three years, the expected total income will be about RUB 10 billion;
  • some 137 models were developed and applied in the Bank’s business processes (99 of which are joint models with the Retail Business; 23 – with the Medium and Small Business; and 15 – with the Corporate-Investment Business);
  • the centralised platforms for the execution and management of data models were put into commercial operation;
  • the process of purchasing and loading external data sources into Bank systems was centralised.
STRATEGIC AREAS NO. PROGRAMME RESULTS
Reliable and flexible platform 1 Omnichannel approach
  • 14 services put into operation on the omnichannel platform
  • the total number of changes in the Retail Business increased by 24%
2 Credit conveyor for retail clients
  • fourfold reduction in the time needed for the development of pre-approved offers
  • the average limit for pre-approved consumer loans and credit cards increased by 18%
  • 85 minutes – review time (T2D) for express guarantee transactions (MSB)
3 Credit conveyor for corporate clients
4 Unification of IT platforms migration of all branches to a single centralised banking IT system completed
5 Reliability
  • increased actual availability from 96.40% to 99.87%
  • reduced the number of crashes by 63%, with a twofold reduction in response time
Internal efficiency 6 OpsNEXT
  • a new-generation operating model and geomapping model developed
  • rapid initiatives saved RUB 520+ million in 2020 alone
7 Paperless Bank
  • RUB 750 million in savings achieved by reducing the cost of paper, printing and records
  • more than 1.5 thousand contracts and 2.8 thousand primary documents with counterparties signed in the electronic document management system
  • four new projects launched for the transition to paperless document flow
8 Introduction of ERP 2.0 unified personnel management system introduced in the SAP HANA in-memory database; fivefold reduction in the time needed for payroll processing
New production model and new competencies 9 New model for IT production
  • new model for the management and organisation of production was introduced based on cross-functional teams (1,200+ teams)
  • Time to market reduced by 87.5%, from 240 days to 30 days
  • 100+ dashboard metrics available online to monitor the work of streams and teams
  • basic infrastructure for development created, including the DevSecOps pipeline (a single production platform: from business setting to code development and implementation of changes)
10 Advanced analytics lab
  • on the basis of artificial intelligence, the Bank earned RUB 1.2 billion and implemented 137 models
  • a graph platform, a geo-platform and a platform for the development and application of models implemented
  • cumulative savings as a result of the programme increased to RUB 10 billion
11 Data platform modernisation
  • reduction in the cost of owning data storage systems of approximately RUB 0.4 billion per year achieved
  • storage performance doubled
  • online analysis of business performance introduced for 20 of the Bank’s key systems
12 Transition to the use of internal ratings for calculating credit risk (based on the internal ratings of borrowers)
  • MVPA minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with minimal but sufficient functionality to satisfy the product’s first consumers. The main objective of the MVP stage is to get feedback from consumers for further product development. of web applications for automation and centralisation of reserve calculations created
  • total amount of the Bank’s risk-weighted assets (RWA) reduced thanks to refinements made to the RWA calculator

Accelerator

VTB’s accelerator is the single contact point for interaction between the Bank’s divisions and technology startups. It helps the Bank find innovative solutions to technological and business problems and offers end-to-end service (from searching for and reviewing solutions to implementing pilot projects within VTB).

In 2020, the accelerator team evaluated more than 350 startups, launched 24 pilot projects together with 13 departments from all global and functional business lines, and developed and approved the rapid piloting of technological solutions.

About 700 innovative companies from 12 countries applied to take part in the accelerator in 2020; more than half of them passed the initial selection procedure and were able to offer their solutions to the Bank’s business units. At the end of 2020, VTB announced the launch of pilot testing of 10 more technological solutions with startups. They include a payment technology using face recognition, a service for payments to self-employed individuals through the Faster Payments System, a technology for the use of mobile electronic signatures for documents, HR services and others.

In 2020, the Internet Initiatives Development Fund presented a study on the implementation of open innovations within corporations, which reported that, according to a survey of more than 200 Russian startups, VTB’s accelerator was the most recognised corporate accelerator brand in the Russian market.

Patents

It should be noted that the Bank continues to file patents for its intellectual solutions on a regular basis. In 2020, the Bank received four patents:

  • Method and system for validating complex data structures in an integrated microservice architecture with the visual display of results: this provides a way to verify the integrity and reliability of electronic data when working with customer data in the remote banking system. What makes this method unique is the breakdown of the process of verifying and controlling data into three independent parts:
    1. data;
    2. metadata;
    3. logic (verification rules).
  • Automated system for the selection of combined loan offers: this solution reveals a number of advantages of the system and algorithms used for calculating loan offers in the credit conveyor. A combined personal product is selected for the customer that consists not only of banking products but also of non-banking products, such as insurance.
  • Two patents for a set of pages for the graphical user interface for the My Smart City mobile application: as a design solution, the interface pages were patented – the interface is a state-of-the-art digital channel for integrated communication between the City, its residents and the Bank’s payment services.

An international application was filed in relation to an invention called the Decentralised Payment Service System. The system enables users to launch fast and instant payments, cross-border payments, loyalty programmes, etc.

VTB awards for IT achievements in 2020


The results of the Bank’s technological transformation received recognition in the form of IT ratings and prestigious awards:



Finalta

first place in terms of the number of functional upgrades made to mobile banking;



The Banker

Bank of the Year (thanks to the results of the Bank’s digital transformation);



Markswebb

  • fifth place (+12) in the rating of Internet banking for individuals;
  • 10th place (first time included) in the rating of the best mobile banks for individual entrepreneurs;


Usability Lab

third place in the ranking of the convenience of mobile applications for individuals;



NAFI

eighth place in terms of the Consumer Loyalty Index (NPS).

NAFI

Global CIO Awards (presented by the community of IT leaders – the most up-to-date and important rollouts in the industry) were received in the following categories:

  • RWA Calculator: the Bank introduced a system for calculating regulatory indicators – capital adequacy ratios;
  • project for the introduction of a data management system: creation of an efficient universal platform for navigating through the Bank’s data and monitoring its quality, as well as ensuring the reliability, consistency and relevance of data;
  • robotisation, experience implementing business-critical RPA solutions: in 2020, internal business customers entrusted RPA with the robotisation of high-priority, business-critical processes;
  • migration of the report preparation system from Oracle SuperCluster to the Russian solution Arenadata DB: the first project at a bank for import substitution of a key system involved in the process of preparing reports for the regulator.