RaboBank shows how IT can be in the driving seat of cultural change

RaboBank in Holland is changing the way people work and IT is at the heart of this transformation. At the Gartner Symposium in Cannes this week Pieter Kettering, a programme manager at the bank gave a presentation to CIOs, which illustrated how IT can drive major cultural changes in business.

Kettering’s presentation was tech-light. Instead he chose to cover the changes in the workplace that he has managed. The crux of the change is to empower employees, by allowing them to work flexibly, in order to improve customer service.This is more than just about giving people a laptop and allowing them to telework. It’s a organisatonal shift, with a new head office in Utrecht, planned around activity based workspaces and meeting areas, to encourage collaboration and offer staff the freedom to work in the way they consider most effective.

RaboBank has benfitted in a number of ways:

1. Reduced costs by saving on workstations
2. Fewer people
3. Lower ICT costs
4. Less absenteeism
5. Reduced employee turnover

It is also seeing improvements in:

1. Customer satisfactions
2. Performance
3. Employee satisfactions
4. Collaboration
5. Use of available knowledge
6. Attractive employer image
7. Sustainable business

For me, the presentation shows that IT is best placed to drive organisational change. The cultue at RaboBank is very much focussed on web 2.0. There is nothing special about the tecnology; nothing out of the ordinary. It is merely using software like Citrix, Microsoft SharePoint and OneNote, laptops and tablet device to provide people flexibility at work.Given that it is a bank, and security is obviously a prime concern, it is really encouraging to see how RaboBank has actually give its staff home access to the banking systems. Some applications must run in the head office like the one for tranferring money between banks – just in case someone decides to put a gun to your head, say Kettering – but in the main, people are offered flexible working and are rated on output and results. It requires a different approach to management. “Our management cannot be focused on control but on getting employees to support the customer better,” says Kettering.