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Santander bank added 4,500 tech staff last year

Santander added thousands of IT staff to its global operation last year, as part of its digital transformation

Spanish banking giant Santander has increased its IT workforce to 27,500 globally after adding 4,500 in 2023 to support its digital transformation, which has seen 95% of systems moved to the cloud.

New recruits include experts in cloud, cyber security, data, DevSecOps, artificial intelligence, software development, enterprise architecture and product management.

The recruitment campaign, which includes its UK business, currently has 400 open vacancies.

“The main goal of this programme is to attract and recruit the best technology talent to support Santander’s vision of becoming the best open financial services platform and accelerate its digital transformation,” the bank said in a statement.

Santander has exceeded previously announced recruitment targets for IT professionals. In June 2020, it announced plans to add 3,000 people to its global IT team as part of its €20bn four-year digital and technology transformation.

A key foundation to the bank’s digital transformation is moving all of its systems to the cloud. In May 2022, Santander revealed it had moved 80% to the cloud, and set 2023 as the target to have 100% of its infrastructure cloud-based. At the time, it said it had been moving 200 servers to the cloud every working day.

Using its Gravity platform, which migrates legacy systems to the cloud, Santander has so far moved over 95% of its infrastructure to the cloud.

“Santander hopes to have moved the majority of its core banking around the world to the Gravity platform by the end of 2024,” the bank said.

Santander’s Gravity, a bespoke in-house-developed software, allows parallel processing, with workloads on its existing mainframe and on the cloud. This enables real-time testing with no business downtime.

The bank said the move to cloud would “allow easier and faster access to data, more simplicity and faster time to market, making it possible to deliver new capabilities in hours, instead of days, and more frequent app updates”.

It said the use of real-time analytics would help it provide better products and services, while the high cost of running the core banking platform system would be reduced, including a 70% cut in energy costs.

Santander has used technology as a differentiator over the past 20 years. Its UK business was established in 2011 and built through the acquisition of Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester. These organisations were moved from their own core systems to Santander’s Partenon core banking platform.

Santander bought Abbey in 2004, and Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley in 2008. It expected to make £300m cost savings after integrating Abbey with Partenon. The bank’s strategy to migrate acquired customers to its Partenon core banking platform gains huge advantages by standardising operations and creating a single view of customers.

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