Banking is a highly competitive market. Fintech challengers are changing customer perceptions while at the same time long-standing incumbents struggle to innovate. Banks are no longer judged solely on their performance. The instant service consumers have come to expect from digital giants such as Amazon or Google has changed expectations and the criteria by which all businesses are assessed—banks included.
Some things don’t change: bank customers still have the highest expectations for security in their finances, personal data, and bank processes. Keeping customers happy in all these areas while staying ahead of the rapidly advancing digital world requires a combination of innovation, prudence, and compliance.
No bank is taking this new reality more seriously than NatWest Group (NatWest), operating in the UK, Ireland, and beyond. Across its banking brands, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Coutts, NatWest considers customer relationships a critical success factor—above even transactions. NatWest’s mission is to champion potential: breaking down barriers and building financial confidence so the 19 million people, families, and businesses who are NatWest customers can thrive. In a tightly regulated environment, NatWest faced challenges in navigating multiple layers of internal scrutiny and approvals. A policy change could take up to three to four weeks to complete under the previous governance process. And with all the required change and risk assessment, the time from idea to value could take three to four months.
The NatWest team found opportunities to automate 46% of data in their governance processes. Using Appian’s data fabric, NatWest created a unified data model that integrated 14 disjointed processes, aligning with the company’s "One Bank" vision. This consistent architecture enables employees to enter data once and reuse it throughout the change cycle, enhancing risk control with higher levels of automation.
Leveraging the Appian Platform, Natwest has reduced multiple assessment cycle times using patterns of governance, one example being product governance which has fallen from 4.5 days to less than 20 minutes marking a key milestone in their ‘moonshot’ goal of reducing cycle time from 73 days to 73 minutes’. NatWest achieved rapid time to value with 90-day incremental launches to internal users and new code delivery every two weeks. Qualitative benefits include an improved employee experience, reduced frustration through automated change governance, and enhanced record retention. By replacing manual and time-intensive processes, the bank has accelerated the idea-to-value flow, ensuring transparent governance for better customer outcomes.
Appian became the central hub, the workflow management system... and underpinning that is a data fabric. It gives us the ability to create a single front door.”