NatWest Group Engages IBM to Move Content Management to Hybrid Cloud

4 min read

Content management is a vital function at any business, and this is especially true in the highly regulated financial services industry.

Content — in the retail bank sense of the word — means any correspondence that must be delivered (physically or electronically) to customers, including account statements, product updates, terms and conditions, etc.

To provide customers with the level of service they expect, and to comply with regulatory requirements, all this content needs to be properly captured, stored and served to the correct applications and users. This is where Enterprise Content Management comes in.

The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) team at NatWest Group were longtime users of on-premises IBM FileNet content management software. In 2021, the ECM team decided to partner with IBM Client Engineering to learn how FileNet on IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation could provide the bank with a more scalable and cost-efficient platform, while also supporting self-service FileNet environments.

Beginning in the Summer of 2021, the NatWest ECM team joined IBM Client Engineering to take part in framing sessions based on the IBM Garage Methodology. The sessions helped the IBM team understand the context and challenges around content management at NatWest. From there, the teams moved on to two Discovery sessions, where they uncovered the in-depth configuration of the existing platform and existing deployment processes. After this, they scoped out an MVP that would give the ECM team the chance to get hands-on with IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation and the Red Hat OpenShift container platform. This allowed them to see how FileNet —when deployed with these technologies — would enable them to radically improve how they deliver content management services.

An MVP in just four weeks

The MVP was four weeks long and it centered around ‘structured co-creation.’ This meant that every day the NatWest ECM team joined the Client Engineering team for two hours and completed user stories by deploying and configuring IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation software. The structured co-creation approach helped the ECM team get value out of every session, while the two-hour sessions allowed the team to fit the MVP around their day jobs. Plus, the co-creation sessions were augmented with education on containers, Kubernetes and OpenShift, as well as a talk from the IBM Business Automation development team to reinforce what was being learned.

"The MVP was well organized, with a good balance of education sessions and more practical sessions where we got to drive. The IBM team created a good learning environment." — Sritanaya, ECM Team NatWest

The user stories for the MVP focused first on building the ECM team’s skills with OpenShift, then moved on to build a powerful CI/CD pipeline to deploy new FileNet environments and then administer these to support project requirements. This showed how self-service could be achieved for adding new components like Document Classes, transforming the team's delivery model for the better. 

A significant user story was the exploration of the autoscaling functionality in the IBM Cloud Pak. The NatWest team experienced first-hand how this feature could dynamically scale FileNet in response to workload peaks. The group also explored how to make sure the environments were fully secured using Transport Layer Security (TLS) and saw how certificate management could be managed in automated fashion, saving time from manual tasks:

"The ability to scale FileNet dynamically in the Cloud Pak is very useful, more cost effective and greener, as we no longer have to run large footprint infrastructure to cater for demand" — Darren, Content Management Lead at NatWest

In weekly playbacks to stakeholders, the ECM team presented what it had learned, with the support of the IBM team. It was a powerful and enjoyable way to review progress, and it helped to solidify the learning.

"The playback and retrospective meetings were great ideas. Driving playbacks by us truly helped us to understand and learn the required material " — Lukasz, Software Engineer at NatWest

During the MVP, the NatWest ECM team rapidly built their skills and knowledge, going from being new to containers, OpenShift and the IBM Cloud Pak, to being confident and having an advanced understanding of the capabilities available. As a result, the team are now evangelising about their future plans to other teams within NatWest and also advising on their platform requirements to the OpenShift team in the bank.

An ongoing collaboration

The experience of working with Client Engineering put the ECM team on the path to success, providing a structured approach to make sure that everything was covered while also allowing for the flexibility to iterate and pivot resulted in a highly positive experience.

"The entire process — from scoping/discovery exercises in July through to the MVP and closure — was extremely well planned. Our team always knew where we were in the engagement, and what the next steps would be. I feel that the MVP did actually deliver against our goals for it.... You were extremely flexible with us and accommodated many of our requests — allowing us to "drive" during the playbacks, designing extra assignment tasks to help us explore the platform ourselves and arranging extra time with us to go over things again where required." — Jony, Software Engineer at NatWest

Following this successful MVP with IBM Client Engineering, the ECM team at NatWest are now continuing on their journey with IBM Customer Success and IBM Automation Expert Labs, charting their path towards deploying a content management workload onto IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation and OpenShift.

Get started

Learn more about IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation and IBM FileNet.

To learn more about IBM Client Engineering, please contact your IBM representative.

Be the first to hear about news, product updates, and innovation from IBM Cloud