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The Challenge Behind Digital Banking Transformation with The Managing Director at Russia’s Second Largest Bank, Dmitriy Krivitskiy

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Are your products and services giving immense value to customers? Do users understand your product idea before deciding to buy from you or try your services?

Remarkably few suppliers in the banking sector are able to answer these questions. One of them is Dmitriy Krivitskiy, Managing Director at the second-largest bank in Russia.

In this interview, he elaborates why is crucial to understand your customer journey, what they really care about, and pay attention to engineering and architecture to create exclusive value for customers.

Dmitriy Krivitskiy Career Development

Dmitriy started his career as a developer and engineer before transitioning to CTO roles at multiple tech companies. His first foray into customer experience came when he co-founded CityAds, a data-led performance marketing technology platform. It was here that he began to really grasp the interplay between customer satisfaction and revenue.

Dmitriy is currently the Managing Director at one of Russia’s leading banks. His role requires him to be hands-on in multiple areas of the business: retail, marketing, architecture, and people management.

He refers to himself as the company’s “Mr. Wolf”, after Harvey Keitel’s iconic fixer character in Pulp Fiction. Got a problem you need sorting out? Call Dmitriy — he’ll handle it.


Can you tell us a little more about your work?

I’m currently responsible for overseeing the digital transformation of all retail businesses. I make sure that everything relating to IT runs smoothly. We’re in the process of creating more effective software development processes and integrating them into our product design flows.

We have to overhaul lots of legacy systems — it’s like this with most traditional banks. We need to create processes with more frequent deployments using a CI/CD model that’s owned by the IT department but impacts the overall retail customer experience. I’m currently focusing a lot on engagement.

Modern consumers don’t want to spend time understanding your product, they just want to open the app and start using it straight away. We’ve actually drawn lots of inspiration from the gaming world — they are great at creating intuitive in-game onboarding flows.


Do you see marketing, product, and engineering starting to merge?

Definitely. IT is now at the core of every aspect of the business, no matter the industry. Take Amazon, for example. They’re in retail, sure, but they’re so successful because they’re essentially a tech company. Their platform and IT-centric approach are what propelled them to where they are now.

In finance, you can see IT becoming more and more important by the day — and the Coronavirus has accelerated this process even further. All payments and transfers are now moving online. IT (faster transactions, better user experiences, better design) is a true competitive advantage.

Banking products are all fairly similar, so differentiating yourselves through customer experience, convenience, and reliability is key. 


Is it easier to digitize, update or rebuild completely from scratch? 

There are some things that you actually can’t rebuild from scratch (as strange as that might sound). Think about the old adage, ‘divide and conquer. You need to start transforming systems one at a time.

You can’t just tear the entire thing down in one fell swoop. Create reliable asynchronous integrations and rebuild the legacy system by system. You can’t stop running the business and you definitely can’t afford to wait for weeks, months, or even years for a rebuild to be complete.

However, there is another approach I suppose. You can always create a new startup and bring it to market with a completely novel IT infrastructure and products. This could realistically work, but this startup obviously wouldn’t have the same reputation that the business has worked so long and hard to build.

Does technical innovation always disrupt the business in some way, shape, or form?


I think that it does — though I wouldn’t say that this is always a bad thing. Large-scale changes are never easy (especially for traditional banks). You need to spend plenty of time educating internal teams because the app itself is only the tip of the iceberg.

Behind the scenes, you’re changing people’s jobs, which then has a large knock-on effect on the entire organization. People tend to dislike and even resist change however well-intentioned.

Imagine your business currently has a mobile app that has a huge audience. You know that you can create a better version, but this process will take time. As you begin to create the new app, you realize that it provides a far better user experience than the old one.

So, you need to figure out how you can migrate your audience across. This isn’t just an IT problem, it truly affects all areas of your business: your users, your support team, your marketing team, etc.

You need to consider the product as a whole. Technical, design, PR, marketing, it all needs to come together. The key is to find the right balance between marketing products and engineering at the right time. If you manage this harmony right, you can become very successful.

Dmitriy Krivitskiy, Banking Managing Director

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