IT in Leeuwarden
René Wietsma - IT Engineering Chapter Lead
“At ING it’s like playing in the Champions League of engineering,” states René Wietsma confidently. René is a highly experienced businessman and engineer – his most recent role before joining ING was as Chief Technology Officer at AfterPay – but he is clearly impressed by ING’s pioneering nature.
René has been at ING since mid-2018, working in Leeuwarden as a Chapter Lead in the Assisted Channels Client Interaction tribe. “It’s a bit of a mouthful! But our goal is to ensure that the interaction with customers runs as smoothly and easily as possible, whether by email, telephone, WhatsApp or chat. We want the ING customer experience to be the same across all channels and are working to give the bank’s employees the right tools to achieve that.”
Two steps forwards, one back
“I come from an e-commerce background so I know a thing or two about customer interaction, but the customer focus at ING never ceases to amaze me. We always put the end customer first in everything we do. We sometimes take two steps forward and one back, but the culture within our tribe is one of ‘embrace your failures’ and learn from them to make the service we provide even better.”
“ING is leading the market in terms of technology and keeps a close eye on today’s new world where everything is being disrupted, including in fintech. ING spends a lot of time and money on applying the latest technologies in banking. For example, we’re working together with Google and other Silicon Valley companies to explore artificial intelligence techniques. At the same time we have the safety net of a corporation behind us, with all the perfectly organised ancillary support such as security, build pipelines and reliability. And in my view the bank excels in terms of training, knowledge sharing and personal development too. There are countless possibilities, and taking the initiative is not only appreciated but also actively encouraged.”
“Another advantage is that ING has a huge customer base and hence lots of data, unlike at most start-ups or scale-ups. So you can immediately get down to some serious business here! Our work has a broad impact and is technically challenging. After all, every (milli)second counts in the Contact Centre. As the Chapter Lead I interact with extremely competent and hence also constructively critical engineers. As well as being interested in what ING expects of them over the coming years, they also want to know ‘what’s in it for me’? I need to be able to explain ING’s strategy to them clearly and concisely. It helps that I spend 50% of my time working on the coding as a ‘regular’ engineer in one of the squads. So I speak ‘tech’, as it were, and thanks to my management experience I never lose sight of the people-process aspect. That combination keeps my work enjoyable and challenging.”
“If you are an engineer who is looking for structure, a clear line and vision and if you want to work with innovative tooling, then ING could be very interesting for you. And not unimportantly: in terms of employee benefits and flexibility, ING is one of the best employers I’ve ever come across in the Netherlands.”
René gained a degree in computer science from the University of Twente and did his graduation assignment on recommender systems. In his first job he developed online payment services. Following a management buy-out, he and a number of colleagues continued the activities independently under the name AfterPay. When the company was sold in 2015, René went it alone for a while. He devotes a lot of time to his gun dog and absolutely loves anything technical, from electronics to automotive and aviation technology.