Who's Who? Visiting IT

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Keytrade Bank


You need an impeccable IT department to be a 100% digital bank. It goes without saying that our IT is crucial for the smooth running of our platforms. It's even binary: without IT, no bank. We talked shop with team managers Kurt Crabbé and Arnausd Nisez. Once we pulled them away from their screens, they talked openly about how IT works in times of 100% teleworking.

What's your role within IT at Keytrade Bank? How long have you been working for KTB?

Kurt: I’ve been at Keytrade Bank for 15 years, in the IT Department. With the introduction of the Agile method at Keytrade Bank, which means that a team is composed of developers and someone in charge of the business side, I am now in the role of "Scrum of Scrum" – a bit of an ugly title. Basically, I’m the manager of these teams. I coordinate the various teams associated with the projects, and they report to me on project progress or any problems. It’s a facilitator's role.

Arnaud: I’ve been here for 14 years now and I’m also a "Scrum of Scrum". My role and Kurt’s role is primarily to coordinate the teams and how they are interdependent, to guide them and be a support for them. We take care of the technical side of projects.

What does a typical day look like?

Arnaud & Kurt: Lots of meetings.

Kurt: I supervise four teams, so I have to attend their daily meeting so I can have an overview of their projects, help them and take things in hand. The most important thing is to identify problems as quickly as possible so that they don't affect the schedules too much.

Arnaud: As for me, I am in charge of three teams: Onboarding (OPPA), Contact Management (COMA) and Direct Channels (CHAN). So, of course, just like Kurt, my days are full of meetings with the aim of synchronising my teams and maintaining a spirit of togetherness. In these times of Covid, we don't see each other very often. For me, it's really essential to stay close to each employee and to make myself available. Listening to them, helping them find solutions and moving things forward – this is what my day looks like.

What are the major challenges for the IT department of an online bank?

Arnaud: The number one challenge for us as a digital bank is security. This is what “controls” what we do on a day-to-day basis. Every day, we manage customers' data and their money, so this must remain our priority. We also have to comply with the various rules governing the banking world: the national bank, European authorities, the GDPR, etc.

Kurt: To do this, we need to make sure we keep up-to-date with new technologies. Our applications must not experience any serious problems. So we test them regularly in order to solve problems at the earliest possible stage.

What's your relationship with colleagues and other departments like?

Kurt: Before lockdown, we regularly organised drinks and lunches, which were a chance to relax a bit, rather than everything being all about work. It's also about helping, because Keytrade Bank’s management style has remained a bit like a startup, with a fairly flat structure. We don't feel any pressure from our managers, who are available at all times.

Arnaud: We have a relationship with all the teams because we work across all projects. We are all interdependent. Above all, these relationships are direct, without any intermediaries.

What attitude do you need to join your team?

Kurt: You need to be open, honest, straightforward and not shy, to accept the opinions of others, and be open-minded and independent.

Arnaud: The atmosphere within my teams is very important to me. In our recruitment process, the candidate’s attitude is paramount. For me their mindset, their commitment to Keytrade values, their proactive attitude and their ability to bounce back are essential qualities.

Has working from home changed the way you work?

Kurt: A lot usually goes on around the coffee machine. We miss those little chats that can often help solve small problems. Although the transition to working from home was really smooth on a technical level, human contact is really lacking at this time. The workload has also been greater.

Arnaud: Working from home wasn't an obvious choice for me, especially in terms of respecting work-life balance. Today, when a problem comes up, you can't just get up from your desk and go and talk to your colleagues and reach a solution together – now, we have to find a time in our schedules or try to resolve the issue by e-mail. Not always easy. However, the great advantage is clearly the flexibility of my working time – the pleasure of dropping my children off at school in the morning and being able to pick them up at an appropriate time between meetings.

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