March 6, 2023
Since 2017, Andreea Remuș has been overseeing the digital banking implementation projects within Softelligence, managing a team of 21 colleagues. Prior to joining the company, she was one of the first specialists to be involved in digital banking projects at a national level.
While working at Softelligence, she coordinated the team that launched tbi bank’s expansion in Greece in less than 6 months. In her view, some of the most important aspects of a project’s success are building an authentic and reliable business partnership, as well as the ability to be resilient in difficult times.
In this interview, Andreea shares with us thoughts on the emerging trends in digital banking transformation, some advice for financial institutions on how to deliver a seamless digital customer journey, and some of the most valuable leadership lessons that have guided her career.
Prior to joining Softelligence, in 2017, I worked for 16 years in banks such as BRD, Bancpost, and Idea::Bank, dealing with innovation and digital banking projects, as well as one rebranding project.
I was responsible for coordinating projects with significant impact on business transformation, requiring digital upgrades and process simplifications. All of these have contributed to my personal development, as the knowledge I gained is the foundation of today’s demands.
I have witnessed the beginning of digital banking in Romania. Almost 12 years ago, banks started to build, step by step, their digital approach and define new products in this direction. When it comes to the financial industry, business transformation is not only about choosing the technology and starting the implementation. It is also about the ability to combine knowledge with technology to obtain innovative products or processes that meet customers’ needs and preferences and, at the same time, have a positive impact on the company’s objectives.
Under the guidance of Daniel Jinga – the Softelligence Consulting Director – I am leading the digital banking implementation projects within the company. Currently, I manage a team of 21 colleagues, with different roles, such as: developers, QA engineers, and consultants, but we also interact with different departments in our daily activities.
We are focusing on helping our clients reach their goals. We start with understanding their vision and defining the key objectives, then we identify the tailor-made solutions, products, or journeys to ensure we won’t simply reshape or enhance the current business flow. Our clients expect us to use our experience, knowledge, and capabilities to help them adopt sophisticated digital experiences in business processes.
Currently, the need for financial institutions to embrace new technology means to obtain product innovation and segmentation, but also to attract new sources of revenues via end-to-end journeys and digital onboarding. These aspects are empowering us to play an important role as main contributors to those achievements.
Nevertheless, besides understanding the business of our clients, we must be able to communicate and listen to them: what is the target, what are the business plans, and what are the first ideas. Taking things step by step and understanding all these angles, we are able to start building together the best solutions for the needs of the company.
In my opinion, every project has its intricacies and this one was, indeed, a challenge for us and our client. Behind this achievement was the fact that since the very beginning, and during the whole implementation of the project, we have worked together with the client as a single team, trusting each other and believing in our success.
Added to these were our expertise, discipline, focus on the main goal, being prepared to react fast to any crisis situation. The client’s ability to make fast decisions was another major ingredient of this achievement.
But the most important factor was the relationship between us and the client. Without a common understanding and a powerful connection, this project’s success couldn’t have been possible.
“From my perspective, one valuable takeaway that I gained while working on this project was resilience: even when things don’t go as planned, you shouldn’t give up. Try new approaches until you find the right solution. Another lesson learned, as a manager, is to always trust your team in finding the best solutions to anything that might occur.” Andreea Remuș, Senior Lead Consultant, Digital Banking
Before the pandemic, digital transformation was considered an opportunity to expand and grow, but nowadays it’s a necessity for businesses in all fields.
In the financial industry, digital transformation became the norm as the end-customer behavior has changed significantly in the past years: people want convenience and easy access to their banking services.
Therefore, when we start different projects, we are not looking just to digitalize the existing processes using technology, but we are looking at the impact on the result. Using our knowledge and capabilities, we find innovative solutions to satisfy our client’s requirements, while helping them improve their end-customer services.
Very often we start with a specific project for a client, but we end up in a long-term journey together, a journey of trust and transformation. When we define a solution or a product, we always have in mind the needs, and preferences of the end beneficiaries, so we focus on delivering the best solutions that fulfill their expectations.
For example, if a company designs a loan application customer journey and the customer has to fill in or go through too many steps, he will lose interest and choose another competitor capable of delivering the right solution.
“Sometimes small things are very important and make a difference, that’s why we always look at the result. It’s like when you are starting to cook something and you add all the ingredients, but if you don’t respect the order, the result might not go as well as expected.” Andreea Remuș, Senior Lead Consultant, Digital Banking
Considering the current behavior of the customers and the new European regulations, I believe that in 2023 the focus will be to identify the proper solution that will help the future business model be competitive and adaptable. So, apart from cloud migration and gradual growth in size and complexity of IT infrastructures, financial institutions will also focus on increasing the usage of data analytics that will help understand the gaps in the digital processes.
Another important trend is combining the usage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in implementing projects, having as the key prerequisite in validating data-driven systems for datasets.
Digitalization comes hand in hand with a security focus. We are operating in complex regulatory environments, and adapting to compliance requests with many security regulations and standards is crucial.
On the other hand, security automation and intelligence help with the identification of complex attacks, which – based on conventional machine learning – are hardly identifiable. Therefore, banks are also looking to meet those criteria, and each time they implement a process or product, they must take into account items and actions needed before starting implementation.
Before starting any implementation of a digital customer journey, a very important step is to design a unique identity that differentiates you from other financial institutions. When a journey is defined, it must predict customer needs by transforming business processes in order to achieve seamless interactions at each step of the customer journey.
It’s very important to use data analytics from the very beginning of the implementation, because it will contribute to delivering custom-tailored and proactive solutions. For example, when you launch a product, you can see where the gaps are and come up with a proper solution in a very short time by using data analytics.
I think creating great human connections within the team is very important. Working together like an extended family, caring for each other, and sharing the same values make us a team with a single identity, and not just a group of people working together.
“Open communication, the freedom of knowing that any colleague can share his thoughts and wishes, and the ability to empower people are other key factors with a great impact on the company’s results, making us proud of our work.” Andreea Remuș, Senior Lead Consultant, Digital Banking
I wish I had known that this type of career requires a lot of work. You need to be there, be strong, and be dedicated to your goals. To achieve them, my advice is to not be afraid to try, and don’t give up before you start.
However, in my opinion, there is no difference between women and men, because both have the same challenge. As Steve Jobs was saying, “we must learn to prioritize the intersection of technology and the humanities because that’s how the best ideas emerge”, so I wouldn’t separate the women’s from the men’s perspectives.
I believe that equity, diversity, and inclusion provide a firm foundation for growth. In environments where these standards are not met, people might not develop and achieve their true potential.
“Within Softelligence – since we all have common values – equity, diversity, and inclusion standards were adopted naturally. I noticed that teams can perform better, and diversity is more likely to lead to an innovative mindset, which is mandatory in this rapidly evolving industry.” Andreea Remuș, Senior Lead Consultant, Digital Banking
Here, people are encouraged, empowered, and respected. One positive impact of all of these is the retention rate among employees and great client satisfaction.
Firstly, I believe that managers should be involved, create personal connections, and trust their team. No matter the situation or the struggle, you should look at your colleagues, be aware of their challenges and find solutions together. Support them, be empathetic, and respect their decisions.
“The second lesson learned would be the ability to communicate and to be responsible end to end. I think that communication and clear messages will get the aimed results. Do not allow the unpredictable to take control – be responsible, react, and adapt.” Andreea Remuș, Senior Lead Consultant, Digital Banking
The third lesson is: don’t look for perfection and be aware of your weaknesses; in the end, these will make you stronger. This way, you will be more analytical and more focused on your purposes and achievements, which will push you to act and find a solution. For example, sometimes it’s better to have an imperfect product that can be improved than to have nothing and feel stuck.
I believe we should not be motivated by just one thing. I always look at my core values such as: love what I do; trust myself; be creative and inspire others; have faith in my team; never be afraid to fail and don’t give up before you start; and be 100% present and involved in what I do.
I have a 19-year-old daughter. I love spending time with her, with my family and friends. I also love flowers: usually every spring I start to rearrange and take care of our garden. Spending time in the garden is a way to connect with myself, which enables me to gain new perspectives, and come up with new ideas for my work projects.
Read further stories:
Daniel Jinga, Consulting Director
Edwin Gagokahn, Head of Software Development Softelligence
Mihaela Chirapleș, Bucharest Site Manager
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