In this blog post, we discuss how Lloyds Banking Group were able to start their journey toward a cutting-edge Content Management solution based on IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation by partnering with the IBM Client Engineering team for a five-week MVP.
Faye Sutcliffe, FileNet Shaping Lead, Lloyds Banking Group: At Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) we’re passionate about providing the best possible experience to our 26 million customers. To support this aim, we’re undergoing a cloud transformation to make our IT systems more agile, responsive and resilient. One of the most strategic systems at Lloyds Banking Group is Content Management.
At LBG, content means any documents and artifacts created in our banking processes that must be retained—ranging from mortgage applications and insurance documents to CCTV video files and copies of ID documents. Appropriate stewardship of this content is crucial to fulfill internal and external regulatory obligations and ensure that we provide an exceptional customer experience.
Sandeep Srivastava, Lead FileNet Architect, Lloyds Banking Group: At LBG, we have been long-term users of IBM FileNet, deployed on-premises. FileNet is an Enterprise Content Management solution that enables us to manage hundreds of millions of documents across our 14 brands.
In recent years, our business has evolved, and several areas emerged where we believed a move to Content Management on hybrid cloud would help us. We were very interested in the ability to create new environments faster, have greater flexibility in the application of patches and upgrades, and dynamically scale our environments in response to demand.
Meeting IBM Client Engineering at “Let’s Create”
Faye: In March 2022, I met the IBM Client Engineering team (and other IBM clients) at the London York Road office for an event called Let’s Create. I saw first-hand how IBM is working in new ways to help customers like us—offering co-creation MVPs where our teams could work together and de-risk our decisions. After attending Let’s Create, I was confident that an MVP with Client Engineering would be the perfect way to support my team as we moved forward.
Exploring with IBM Value Engineering Workshops
Tim Quigly, Solution Architect, IBM Client Engineering: A key factor in an MVP’s success is making sure that we target the right areas and prove the most business value. It’s important to get the right information to create the right MVP; we also have to balance this need with the fact that customers have their day job—in this case, running Content Management for an entire bank.
To learn what we needed, we created a selection of workshops based on IBM’s Value Engineering method:
An in-person framing workshop at our Customer Innovation Center in London
Two in-depth ‘discovery’ sessions, conducted remotely
We got off to a great start with the face-to-face framing. Meeting the Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) team in person meant we really got to understand the areas where we could help the most. We also had the opportunity to show LBG some of the great experiences in our London Innovation Center, including ‘Spot’ the agile mobile robot and IBM’s Mayflower Autonomous Ship immersive experience.
In our discovery sessions, we delved into the current setup of LBG’s FileNet architecture. We quickly realised that a move to FileNet on IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation would allow LBG to dramatically reduce the time it took to onboard new projects onto FileNet and provide greater flexibility for applying maintenance and upgrades.
Sandeep: The workshops were really useful; they allowed us to get all the information down in one place and create a shared understanding with the Client Engineering team. Together, we were able to agree to a comprehensive scope for the MVP—10 user stories ranging from CI/CD with FileNet on the Cloud Pak for Business Automation to TLS security and auto-scaling. Thanks to this collaborative process, I was confident we had an MVP tailored to our specific needs.
Getting LBG hands-on with the Cloud Pak for Business Automation
Nick Morgan, Technology Engineer, IBM Client Engineering: To ensure that the LBG team got the most value from their time with us, we created a detailed plan for a five-week MVP. The central theme was “structured co-creation”—LBG engineers would join IBM engineers for two hours each day and work through structured exercises to complete the agreed user stories in an IBM-provided Red Hat OpenShift Environment on IBM Cloud. They would learn hands-on—with our support and guidance—then present back to their key stakeholders at the end of each sprint.
To support the hands-on learning, we conducted targeted educational sessions on containers, Kubernetes, OpenShift, Operators and OpenShift Pipelines. This meant that concepts were explained when the technology was being used, making it more relevant and easier to understand and remember.
Sam Chinellato, Technology Engineer, IBM Client Engineering: One of the most important user stories for LBG was the ability to automate FileNet administration with OpenShift Pipelines. LBG wanted to gain more control of the process to onboard new projects and be able to self-serve new environments.
To facilitate this, we devised a solution derived from GitOps concepts that utilised the Cloud Pak for Business Automation Content Operator and showed LBG how they could reduce project onboarding from four weeks to half a day.
Sandeep: The way the MVP build was structured worked very well for us. We started the build with a face-to-face kick-off in Edinburgh; this helped build rapport in the team and accelerated our remote working thereafter.
We then had two-hour virtual sessions each day, with a designated user story to work through. The ability to get hands-on with the technology on a daily basis meant that we learned a lot in a short amount of time. It was also really fun!
The educational sessions provided by IBM supported our hands-on learning. In addition to explaining important technical concepts, like the Cloud Pak for Business Automation Content Operator, we also had the opportunity to talk directly with the IBM FileNet development team. These conversations were incredibly useful and brought a lot of clarity to our path forward.
Faye: An innovative feature of the MVP was the weekly playbacks. instead of IBM presenting back the completed user stories, IBM coached and supported our team to do this. The approach was hugely beneficial; it solidified our learning and helped the team to advocate about our plans for the future.
The MVP culminated with a playback to the LBG senior management team. Once again, this was led by our engineers, meaning it brought the benefits of Cloud Pak to life in a way that was highly relevant and attuned to our LBG audience.
Empowering the Lloyds Core Platforms team to move forward
Faye: Prior to our MVP, we had some high-level ideas for moving Content Management to hybrid cloud, but didn’t have the in-depth technical knowledge we needed to chart our path forward. We were interested in technologies like containers and OpenShift, but lacked the knowledge and tangible experience to deploy, administer and operationalise these.
Partnering with Client Engineering for this MVP was the perfect first step for us. We built a strong foundation of knowledge that has positioned us perfectly for our cloud transformation journey. Our confidence has grown enormously because we got hands-on with the technology and saw that, with the IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation, we can deliver a cutting-edge and future-proof Content Management platform at LBG.
Working with Client Engineering was so positive that we jumped at the opportunity to showcase our MVP at the October 2022 Let’s Create event in London. Here, we were able to talk to other businesses and tell them about our experience. This was especially meaningful because our journey with Client Engineering began at the first IBM Let’s Create event in March.
In the LBG Content Management team, we’re now progressing with the next step on our journey—building a first implementation of FileNet on Cloud Pak for Business Automation within Lloyd’s Banking Group infrastructure in partnership with IBM Customer Success.