Argenta's basic characteristics, such as honesty, transparency, and no frills, give it a unique competitive position and a robustly sound position in the market. This bank, which provides mortgages, savings, and insurance, has been rock solid in Belgium for some 60 years now. A stable range of services – in combination with new digital options – has also put Argenta on the map in the Netherlands. Its evolving partnership with Schuberg Philis is a key element in this development.
"We originally chose to work with Schuberg Philis because they are simply the best in the field of IT operations," says ICT Manager Bart Zacht. "We have gradually entered new territory and the relationship has increasingly involved real co-creation. We had to work things out together. That approach also entailed other aspects such as vulnerability and an open stance." Aron van der Sanden, Vendor Manager for Digital Bank at Argenta, adds: "We have shifted from control to trust, which has established a sound basis for the next step in our partnership. It's no longer a traditional customer-supplier relationship."
A lot changed for Argenta in 2017. In September 2016, the savings bank was the first component to go live, supported by Schuberg Philis. In addition, a full online 'mortgage street' was introduced in July 2017. Bart Zacht: "As more elements came into operation, the dynamics of the relationship with Schuberg Philis changed. Collaboration for daily operations is significantly different from that required in the design, build and introduction of new online services."
According to Tom den Hartog, Managing Director at Schuberg Philis, the priority is on rapidly stabilizing what has been released so you can successfully focus on further developing new services. His colleague and Customer Director Marcel van Ruijven adds: "Argenta is not a bank that builds and then stands still. There is a continual drive to change. So, we are continuously challenged to come up with new ideas."
Argenta is known as an honest and financially sound bank. However, according to Aron van der Sanden, Argenta is first and foremost customer-centric. "As a digital bank, we want to be as Agile as possible in responding to the market. That means that the IT must be efficient and flexible and so must our partners."
Bart Zacht: "Because we wanted to be able to accommodate even more changes, we had intensive discussions together about switching to continuous delivery. That was a new and exciting step for us all."
The partnership with Schuberg Philis is now working as a real fly-wheel of initiatives and energy. "We allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, estimating the effects of the options we faced together. On that basis we started co-creating," says Tom den Hartog.
Flawless operations were the foundations for change. According to Bart Zacht, Schuberg Philis has proved over the past year that they can run a bank. "I sleep soundly every night. That certainty creates scope for engaging in change." Aron van der Sanden: "The renewal that is taking place here in the Netherlands is now a source of inspiration for the rest of the organization."
A lot has changed, but many things remain essentially the same. In the past year, Aron van der Sanden has seen 100 percent commitment by Schuberg Philis reflected in all activities. "On the operations side that has been very clear. On the change side, there's more uncertainty involved, but Schuberg Philis' attitude remains fully commitment to the big picture."
Moving beyond the classical customersupplier relationship creates more scope and understanding for one another's learning curves. Tom den Hartog: "If we were to pretend that we have a monopoly on wisdom, we would be ignoring the contribution and needs of Argenta – and the other parties involved." Marcel van Ruijven makes a personal analogy: "You can view it as a marriage, a truly sustainable relationship. It's my bank, I'm proud of it, and I feel responsible for it." Aron van der Sanden responds: "You're proud to have Argenta as a customer, we are pleased with Schuberg Philis as our supplier."
We allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, estimating the effects of the options we faced together. On that basis we started co-creating.
Working at the boundaries of renewal is new for all parties. According to Schuberg Philis', the only conceivable approach is to do it together. Bart Zacht echoes that: "Working in small steps and gradually finding out what's possible. That's how we can go further together."