Accelerating virtual transformation method developing a super engineering tradition

It is no surprise that the rapid acceleration of technology and the growing inventory of tools at our disposal means software engineers need to start rethinking the way we harness existing and emerging resources to develop the next cutting-edge infrastructure that transforms financial services. 

To transform with success and grow, collaboration is key. Collaboration not only accelerates the adoption and dissemination of new technologies, it also fosters the culture of innovation required where new, complex engineering solutions are needed to address unique problems. 

This culture-building was demonstrated at our recent Accelerate Conference where we brought together 400 of our top software engineers and Chief Information Officers for an intensive three-day collaboration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for our ‘Accelerate Global Engineering Conference’. Our end goal is to leverage emerging technologies to address customer pain points; transforming the way data can be enabled enterprise-wide; and accelerating our engineering to simplify, standardize and digitize our processes to become fit for growth. 

Building on this momentum is critical in helping us become a client-focused, data-driven digital bank. Equally important is ensuring we have a diverse workforce engaged to contribute new ideas, innovation and creativity which can lead to greater productivity and business performance.

Creating a great engineering culture 

Building an engaged team should be a priority for every leader. Happy employees are productive, collaborative, and willing to work through challenges. Software engineers are no different and need the right tools, inspiration, and autonomy to deliver impact. 

First, many organizations still struggle to equip their software engineers with the right, up-to-date tools. In many instances, engineers are given the same computers as call center employees while senior managers get the latest and most powerful. At times broken processes are applied to the very cohort of experts that are charged with automating and eliminating them. Software engineers need more powerful CPUs for complex algorithm optimizations, or the additional RAM to host VMs locally, or the GPUs for machine learning, or access to production data to build models.

Upskilling and reskilling engineers should also be a priority to ensure they reap the benefits of new technologies like AI and Machine Learning with agility. At Standard Chartered, our Axess Academies help us ensure the skills of our software engineering workforce are continually upgraded and recalibrated to match the ever-changing demands of the market. For instance, we have over 130 classroom technology courses across the entire stack of technologies used in the bank, from full stack development to GenAI and Cloud Computing. New courses are added every quarter and existing ones are upgraded to reflect industry trends and changes.

Second, many organizations struggle to inspire their engineers primarily because the leaders in charge of this cohort generally do not ‘get’ software engineering. From top down as a bank, we believe that applying our technology in the right way is critical to accelerating our transformation. This enables us to standardize end-to-end, transform digitally while simplifying our business faster and permanently reducing structural costs.

Finally, autonomy is key for software engineers. Autonomy unshackles software engineering teams to ideate and deliver for the business on their terms while fostering a work culture that fulfills employee needs for meaning and personal growth. I would contend that digital disruption and Fintechs are not only about amassing more technology, or even newer technology, but about giving software engineers the space to deliver their agendas and being pivotal in delivering solutions.

With 3 trillion lines of code written every day and around 93 billion lines of code being added every year, and with things only set to increase, it is important software engineers play an instrumental role in the process of determining and shaping the development of new technologies, processes, and outcomes.

With over 10,000 software engineers, we continually build a bank that offers diverse experiences and opportunities for everyone to work on compelling and impactful projects. As our Accelerate Conference highlighted, we can do more to elevate our engineering community by increasing knowledge sharing, breaking down silos and raising the standards of technical excellence. By doing so, we empower the current, as well as the next, generation of software engineers with future-focused skills and experiences to be effective catalysts for digital transformation. 

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