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Transforming the DNA of IT

By Frank LaQuinta, Head of Global Application Delivery, UBS

Frank LaQuinta, Head of Global Application Delivery, UBS

In 2014, UBS's Group Technology (GT) organization embarked on a wide ranging technology transformation. The key drivers and challenges came from balancing the demand for regulatory and strategic change, alongside cost optimization and risk remediation while delivering increased productivity, efficiency and client service. Additionally, as an enabler of growth, GT needed to work in partnership with the business to secure competitive advantage through technological innovation while attracting and retaining key talent to make the transformation a reality.

In order to realize these goals, UBS needed to create a functional architecture that would turn GT into a truly service-centric delivery organization. Through a comprehensive architecture design process, and the creation of roles and responsibilities to support it, Group Technology Application Delivery (GT AD) was established in April of 2015. Shortly after creation, GT AD mobilized its own transformation team, went about designing the structure, consolidating resources, aligning capabilities, and building a "from scratch" organization with a vision that supported UBS's priorities. The GT AD organization strives to deliver value to our business partners by enabling business capabilities through co-designed technology solutions that are innovative, efficient and scalable.

Forming GT AD was an innovative solution—not only for UBS but for the wider Capital Markets and Wealth Management industries and unlocked our productivity potential. Breaking down the traditional structures and becoming a global entity allowed us to create single, more streamlined processes for enablers such as software development lifecycles (from 50+ current processes into 1), resource management, project management and centers of excellence. It allowed us to focus on optimizing employee resource allocation— fundamentally allowing our talent greater growth and mobility across the entire bank -not just in their respective business function—while giving them dedicated resource management and career coaching. And most importantly, it allowed us to be focused on our client and business partners to deliver more effective, higher quality solutions to meet their needs.

We communicated and launched the operating model in phases throughout 2015 driving synergies across the following disciplines:

• created an operating design and the governance to implement it;

• created standard processes and tools; ways to measure our productivity and quality;

• created centers of excellence, and

• created short and long term workforce and sourcing strategies – the right resource, in the right location for the right price

No major transformation comes easy. We needed experienced leadership, change champions, a clear and transparent way to identify bespoke processes that required standardization and clear, consistent communication every step of the way. The outcome and benefit of this execution presented the following exciting opportunities:

• Creation of enterprise and platform services, a dedicated group of expertise that provides a single strategy for the firm across UI/UX, data, workflow, mobile and call center technologies.

• Consolidation of our order management functions; combining them across business verticals that unlocks knowledge sharing and gains long-term efficiencies and standardization.

• Alignment of all our QA & Testing resources from individual business divisions into one global group where we utilize best practices and streamline our approaches to provide consistency, greater production stability and more effective outcomes for our client and business partners.

• Creation of new ways to manage our talent—effectively designing the ability to optimize across projects, lines of business and regions in conjunction with a focus on long term technical and career development.

Our leadership embarked on an intense communication and change management campaign building excitement and engaging our talent. Transparent, clear communications, along with new channels and techniques, allowed the organization to not only understand the unprecedented change of implementing an entirely new organization structure but also helped our talent learn their roles and responsibilities.

The process was an evolution which required face-to-face conversations and wide ranging buy-in. How was this change affecting our leaders, talent, technology and the overall firm? How do we move from concept to design to making it the DNA of the GT organization? The clear answer was to showcase the value to the overall firm and provide innovative and exciting opportunities:

•Creating and implementing tools and processes to capture the benefits of managing our talent in a new way— from onboarding, to productivity, to skills development—putting the right people on the right projects and unlocking the full potential of our workforce.

• Meeting the challenges and commitments from the regulatory and financial world—creating a robust operating plan that allows us to deliver to expectations of the bank and our clients.

• Developing multiple, innovative employee engagement forums to bring our new world to life—where we develop new and different resource/ talent management skills, create departmental identities and support the formation of employee communities.

• Embedding our single, standardized software development life cycle creating improved execution and repeatable project outcomes.

• Implementing new estimating and earned value models to capture efficiencies and outcomes from the transformation.

All of this change comes with substantial benefit and 2016 will deliver greater shareholder value through improved operational excellence. We'll see gains in our productivity, deliver greater production stability, have more resource leverage and further effectively manage our risk. Highlighting our accomplishments, building our employee engagement and delivering our operating plan will ultimately allow us to achieve our vision and deliver greater value to our clients, the bank and the markets.

UBS, the wider Capital Markets and Wealth Management industries will see that value through the delivery of more effective, higher quality solutions to meet their needs as a direct result of our ability to unlock our productivity potential. We are excited about the future because this is only the beginning.