Digital transformation has reinvented customer expectations in many industries, and banking is no exception. At Bank of the West, the response has been a drive to transform their internal culture into one of intrapreneurship, to discover new ways of working and banking. Deciding to tap into the collective wisdom and initiative of their 10,000 employees, the Bank of the West innovation team created an open contest for the Leap Program. The winning team had crafted an idea that made incredible sense from both an employee perspective and an innovation perspective: a mentor connect program. First, it could help Bank of the West reduce the typical costs associated with employee turnover recruiting, replacing, retraining, and rehiring — plus the value of lost knowledge. In addition, implementing this program could help team members develop their skills, find career paths, and have mobility opportunities to grow or even change careers while staying within the bank. Not only would the program save money, but it had the potential to improve customer service by retaining employees who excelled, and reducing the number of employees on a learning curve.
It was a valuable idea, but the next step was critical to its overall success. How would the innovation team put it into action — fast? Short on both resources and time, it quickly became clear that they were going to need to bring in a partner, someone with experience in enabling innovation and intrapreneurship.
“We were excited and enthusiastic but weren’t exactly sure what to expect once our idea was selected. CI&T helped us as we became part of a blended team. They brought us along on the journey — coaching and working shoulder-to-shoulder with our team, including working within our shared space from Day 1.”
— Pranay Desai, Vice President
With so much on the line, Bank of the West called on a team of digital technology experts that they had worked with successfully in the past, CI&T. The team from CI&T actually came on board as an embedded partner, to help the Bank of the West team accelerate their vision, and create a functional MVP to launch the program internally, test it, learn from it, and then grow the participants in the mentorship program. Creating this kind of relationship-based partnership while delivering transformational expertise is exactly where CI&T excels.
Teams from both Bank of the West and CI&T were co-located at a site dedicated to the innovation group at the bank’s headquarters in San Francisco. Throughout the four-month process, CI&T introduced their approach of working differently: flexibly, with an emphasis on storytelling and product management. When challenges arose, the CI&T team took them in stride. Compliance concerns ruled out cloud-based sharing in CI&T’s usual environments, so the team embraced flexibility and offered solutions-based options that could be accomplished within Bank of the West’s comfort level and the project timeframe. CI&T also tailored the pace of the project to Bank of the West’s team, accelerating aspects that they easily adopted, and going more slowly in areas that proved more challenging.
“CI&T continues to be a go-to-partner for our innovation team based on their proven approach to rapid and outcome-focused product development. From a practical standpoint, they understand how to make Agile practices work within traditional and heavily regulated organizations. I’ve referred to them as our ‘fast-forward’ button before, and they’ve delivered once again with MentorConnect.”
— John Finley,
Head of Innovation and Customer Journeys
The reviews from Bank of the West regarding the process were 100% positive. More importantly, the program’s implementation has exceeded expectations. Bank of the West’s internal target was 300 users; they are now at 500 people on the platform and counting. The project team received funding to continue developing the program. And because of CI&T’s skill in knowledge transfer —from technology and coding to processes — Bank of the West’s own internal resources have been able to take ownership.
Success stories like this are born from the kind of high-level approach to partnering that CI&T embraces. As they have proven with countless partnerships, CI&T’s team members easily adapt to an organization’s personality, quickly understanding and respecting work styles, existing branding and internal culture. They are also highly adept at working collaboratively to overcome any barriers to success in a safe and secure way. Finally, CI&T’s goal for partner-clients is always for them to ultimately succeed independently. CI&T’s team members are exceptionally skilled at knowledge transfer, and share without hesitation or reservation. It’s an ego-free approach that helps guarantee partner success.