ING is always working to improve its banking applications for mobile and desktop devices. That’s why Chapter Leads Haritha and Wojciech from the Omnichannel Tribe joined forces on the One Web / One App project. Haritha works for ING Netherlands and Wojciech for ING Belgium, and to get ING’s new banking apps up and running they had to cross the borders virtually every day.
You’re working together on the One Web / One App project. What’s that about?
Omnichannel develops and manages ING’s banking apps for mobile devices and desktops. Up to now ING has been running different banking applications in every country. But that’s about to change. When it does, our customers will experience the best possible customer journey. The great thing is that by having just one app for Belgium and the Netherlands, it will ‘connect you to freedom’. And that’s also our motto!
What do you mean by freedom?
Freedom letting our customers be free to do their banking anywhere, anytime they want, in whatever way will fit them perfectly. But our current thinking doesn’t only apply to customers. It’s also about the right environment we want to create for all our employees. We believe everyone should be free to work in the ways that suit them – to free them up to build the career of their dreams.
What does your team in Omnichannel look like?
We have about 410 engineers working in Omnichannel at ING Belgium and ING Netherlands. They are grouped into 50 chapters and are working for around 80 squads.
Both countries work closely on most projects. However, we also work with other countries and external parties. How we do this depends on the needs of each project. On One Web / One App for example, we work closely with engineers from Spain and India.
So, you can see how we always make sure we have the right people working on the right jobs. The important thing is that we want to roll the app out as a combined app for both countries, so both parties have been involved right from the start.
Is that an efficient way of working?
Yes, it is. Initially, our teams will go through a lot of train travel, to get to know each other properly, and make sure everyone is on the same page. Then they’ll all be able to work from their home countries, and keep in touch simply through video calls. That’s just as efficient as everyone working in the same building. And since our ultimate goal is to launch our applications globally, it’s a great thing to have people from all over the world working on them.
What’s your biggest milestone in this project so far?
A while ago, we launched a pilot version of our new banking app. This was just for our colleagues and their families to test out. This was a huge step towards getting the application ready for the market, because we were able to monitor the feedback we were getting, which helped us refine the app. We’re now confident it’s working well – which is exactly what we all want.
What technologies do your engineers use to create the apps?
Back end engineers work with Java 8 (but we are exploring Java 11 and further versions too). We use Spring Boot framework, and follow test driven development. We also started to implement functional programming paradigms. Additionally, we use Linux and shell scripting.
On the front-end, we work with Polymer and Web Components. We like to give our engineers the freedom and encouragement to explore new technologies that ING may be able to implement in the future.
What are the next steps for the One Web / One App project?
Now we have an internal pilot project running, the next step is to release the pilot externally to let our customers test it, to give their feedback. These steps are crucial because we want the app to work smoothly on launch, so it satisfies our customers’ needs.
When that’s all done, our existing Belgian banking app will be the first to be replaced. Then we’ll be launching it in the Netherlands and hopefully, (in the not too distant future), it will be up and running for ING customers all over the world.
Haritha was born in India, but after falling in love with Amsterdam, she moved to the Netherlands. She joined ING in April 2019 and she loves her job as an IT Chapter Lead, and particularly enjoys the great vibe at the office and the nice mix we have here between engineering and management. Outside of work, she loves playing basketball. Her most therapeutic hobby is painting with oil and she aims to finish a new painting every quarter.
After finishing his master’s degree in engineering in Poland, Wojciech decided he wanted to work and live in Belgium. He’s been working at ING for 5 years and just recently, and is proud of the fact that only a few months ago he became IT Chapter Lead. Apart from his work, he’s passionate about making life better for the LGBT community. He’s one of the heads of GALA, ING’s LGBT network, where he organises events and makes sure ING stays ahead when it comes to inclusiveness for employees. When he’s not at ING, he loves to explore the world with his boyfriend (always with an outlook of sustainability).