So you’re constantly looking to innovate?

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The same applies to our office. Last year, we were still working at traditional desks, which was a bit undynamic. Now we have open-plan offices and flexible workstations, not to mention a pool table, a foosball table and gaming consoles. But does that automatically make us innovative? No, of course not. But it does bring us together. It gives us opportunities to get to know each other: not just our own team but also people from other teams and that makes working here a lot more enjoyable. As a development engineer, I work with the Payment Team on payment applications such as IDEAL. We all write these applications in Java, but I also do front-end work. We often use direct feedback from users to improve the front-end, which provides extra satisfaction. I’m involved with the entire process end-to-end, which is an especially gratifying experience.

When I started working here a year ago, the bank was taking its first steps towards innovation. We’d just launched our automation drive to computerise our development process. Now we’re so far down the development road I barely recognise us! Mustafa Ibrahim development engineer

We’re investing in innovation

We’re making improvements increasingly quickly as the process is further automated. As a result, new releases are now starting to be issued on an ongoing basis. Not only are teams working faster and more efficiently, we’re also re-investing the time we save to make innovations and improvements for our clients. This gives us a feeling of real progress; what’s more, the managers are fully behind us. They really listen to our ideas and give us the scope to work on initiatives of our own.

Battle of the development teams

The innovation drive is further boosted by the various events we hold, such as the Beyond Banking Days and our hackathons. This year, we added a new event: eNTer the Movement, a battle between the development teams. These events are especially useful for encouraging the teams to challenge themselves. The Payments Team took up the challenge using the latest insights, apps and techniques. During the event, we had workshops, yoga sessions, beverages, snacks and even a DJ who got everyone into the groove. After two weeks of hard work, the only teams left in the competition were us and two others. The audience eventually decided that we were the overall winners: hooray!! The entire event was packed full of energy and enthusiasm for technology.

Getting to know each other, the city and the bank

Another enjoyable aspect of eNTer the Movement (and the many other innovation initiatives) is that it helps you find your way around. Not just within the bank, but also when it comes to finding things to do in your spare time. And that’s important, since teams are becoming increasingly multinational. For instance, the Payments Team brings together people from South Africa, India and the Netherlands. I myself am from Egypt. And like many of my colleagues, I didn’t know anyone when I arrived, or my way around the city. eNTer the Movement brings you into contact with a large number of people in a short space of time, which is very good for the international community in ABN AMRO. You soon find yourselves going out for a drink, exploring the city, working together on a case or enjoying a game of foosball or pool. So we’re becoming more and more international and are working in an ever smarter and more efficient way. We’ve changed beyond all recognition in just a year. Where do I think we’ll be next year? Even further along the road to innovation!


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