Translated by
2020/05/18 18:04:02

Sergey Rusanov, Otkrytiye Bank: Transition to an udalenka – "is not military operations, but the situation which is brought closer to fighting"

The board member, the head of the IT block of Otkrytiye Bank Sergey Rusanov in an online interview of TAdviser answered questions of transfer of 14 thousand employees to remote work.


The question of transfer of employees for remote work became especially relevant for many organizations against the background of a pandemic. And if it was necessary to organize earlier an opportunity to work from the house for some number of users as required, then now often such projects have character "all and at once". In a case with the large companies it is about hundreds and thousands of workers who need to organize an opportunity to work from the house in a short time.

The Otkrytiye bank in March-April, 2020 transferred about 14 thousand employees to a remote operation mode. How it occurred what difficulties faced in process and what should pay special attention in the similar project, in an interview of TAdviser the board member, the head of the IT block of Otkrytiye Bank Sergey Rusanov told.

The interview was broadcast on YouTube channel of TAdviser. Also the audience of broadcasting could ask the questions.

The video of an interview and the text of a conversation are given below.

As transfer of employees to "udalenka" was organized

Sergey Georgiyevich, in March-April Otkrytiye bank transferred about 14 thousand employees to remote work. How it was organized? What technological solutions do you use?

Sergey Rusanov: We use solutions rather standard and known in the market. I will not juggle now with terms as the conversation at us has more likely applied character. We expanded our system of remote access which existed and earlier.

Earlier it was service which was provided to a certain employee category for accomplishment of the round-the-clock tasks or, perhaps, the single tasks and different functions connected with administration and setup without departure for work. Especially it is convenient, for example, for the solution of different incidents. When an incident arose, for this purpose it is not necessary to be on duty at work: it is enough to enter far off and to administer or recustomize a system.

Most often employees of the IT block used remote access, but it was also service for business divisions, for operations department. Its capacity then was very small. The main change which we made - scaled this system and in passing opened many the existing restrictions at the solution selected by us.

In principle, what we implemented is a classical remote access to network of bank, namely to a desktop of each employee certainly, with necessary means of authentication, authorization for security.

It is meant that it becomes from a certain abstract computer: generally it is the home computer as we needed to make everything quickly, and the plans of bank were not additional equipment by personnel computers 2/3.

Thus, it is a problem of scaling with the solution of the technical issues arising in process: necessary purchases, necessary expansion of tanks, error correction which arose at such loads of technical solutions. Remote access was provided to nearly 14 thousand to employees of the Opening group. Such number of employees can be connected to corporate network at the same time. Rather large number of employees can also work at the same time on a video conferencing.

The system of routing of office calls on house, including, entering and internal is also in addition adjusted. We did not transfer printing any special means. Printing volume in bank sharply decreased. Those employees who houses have printers, are engaged in it independently.

We have a certain employee category whom we call critical. In Moscow and regions we selected about one thousand such employees. They provide necessary operational processes during trading day. These employees should have especially reliable method of access to network of bank and work. They have two tools for remote work. The first - VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface). This special solution for access to the virtual desktop made at server capacities. The second tool which in a large number is used for all – VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) for access to the working computer.

Also the special technical support service, special phone as in the course of connection there were many questions was created, there was a disease process of collecting of requests, their verifications, reconciliations.

There was also a process of providing a part of employees with computers because not each employee of the house has a computer. Minimize need of emergence for bank is a main objective for the sake of which solution everything became. And without eviction computer of the employee home it does not make sense. With respect thereto we provided a part of employees with notebooks for the bank account.

It would seem, the task clear, but arises many similar problems which needed to be solved for very short term: all of us organized it and started approximately in a week, and increased further and scaled.

How processes in IT department were rebuilt, resources and loading are redistributed to cope with new tasks and volumes of work?

Sergey Rusanov: For us – the staff of IT departments – remote work is quite standard, and all were ready to it. Here it was necessary to make the mass of different activities in a short period. As the division of support - operating unit which is engaged in it – to put it mildly is limited in resources, we attracted in the help of colleagues from other divisions, including from development, processing and other "friendly types of military forces".

Colleagues great helped children from infrastructure division to carry out all necessary work to this short period. Including, work with employees of the bank on settings of jobs, on training, answers to questions, to the solution of incidents which at the initial stage there was much too.

To me it was very pleasant to see this friendly, partner work of colleagues, very much friendship of business divisions to us as to people who solve such important and difficult problem in a short space of time. Such team work of bank played on positive result. The command spirit allowed us to provide result. And, certainly, professionalism of employees: at us some of the best specialists work at the market in the field of IT both on infrastructure, and in other areas. Therefore success was inevitable.

In general it was useful experience. I will not tell that it is military operations, but the situation which is brought closer to fighting when it is necessary to pipe all hands on deck, collect a will in a fist and urgently to solve a specific objective. I think, it was pleasant to all in terms of satisfaction of personal ambitions – it appeared, we can if it is necessary, do similar things.

About additional investments into infrastructure

You mentioned that you for a part of employees bought computers. Whether still some additional investments into infrastructure were required? For example, in channels, office equipment, programs, licenses, etc.

Sergey Rusanov: Certainly. We did a great job in regions on providing with means of protecting in banks as in them not all can be transferred to "udalenka": offices worked for us, serviced clients. The frontal line is always the line of interaction, contact, and there it is necessary to have means of protecting. About 400 at the same time opened offices work for us and now over the country. We service clients because the flow is.

The solution of this urgent task required investments in the amount of more than 100 million rubles. It is very serious amount though the annual IT budget at us, of course, incomparably is more. And we worked on the simplified, accelerated procedures which showed that it is possible to make purchases quickly enough and, in my opinion, effectively. As those prices which we received were competitive. We analyzed the markets. It is clear, that in a short space of time to purchase notebooks when they literally were necessary for all at the same time, - rather difficult task. However we not only purchased notebooks, but also carried on regional locations. A part of means went for purchase of licenses for software of remote access, authentication, for increase in power of a server complex and performance improvement of Internet and express speaker circuits of communication Though we took reserves from our cloud infrastructure for creation of the centralized computing environment for the purpose of support of work of this complex. Especially for VDI which I mentioned: for virtual work places based on server solution.

Slightly less than a half of the mentioned amount of financing it was spent for a telecom; about 20% - on the license software for remote access; about a third went for purchase of notebooks and also on the equipment for call center operators. We provided them too with an opportunity to work from the house. It too special achievement because the software solution was specially developed, including using our partners when we emulated phone of the employee of call center on the page of the web browser of the home workstation. The only thing that here was required from material – purchase of headsets of the operator which are necessary to them to provide service from the house.

Difference between work at office and far off, adaptation

What do you consider the most difficult at transfer of employees to remote work?

Sergey Rusanov: I will tell so: it is not difficult, the paradigm of the interaction and tactile feelings slightly changes. If, being in office, you work just in the local area network, all applications are loaded quickly enough, and it becomes regulation, a habit, then remote access introduces at the level of "flavoring" feelings deceleration in work.

First it is represented if not a problem, then a certain inconvenience because not all have a fast home Internet which, by the way, too was one of conditions for connection. The good Internet – such piece which sometimes it is even necessary to brake a little. There are communication losses, and it leads to the fact that something suspends, slows down, the speed of reaction of clicking the keyboard, display of the screen, passing on this loop there and back on not always good channels is always a delay.

First we had small problems connected with loading of this complex. When it sharply increased, there were short term failures which our children successfully eliminated together with software provider. I think, they can tell now "thanks" to Otkrytiye bank because in their production record there is an achievement connected with peak loads on their system which are confirmed with practice in from 10 to 15 thousand at the same time working users. This big achievement for the seller when the tool debugged, passed stress testing is on sale.

In addition to tactile feeling, of course, there are gaps, changes of processes, connected with the fact that the people who were earlier working in commands and sitting next sit somewhere in the abstract place now and are present only at a screen window. Certainly, there is a feeling of contact, but it not absolutely such, as during the work at office. The biggest difference here, perhaps, for Agile of commands which are engaged in development. Stay in one premises – one of the most natural properties of their work. Agile is initial and is thought up as a method of the joint team development minimizing communication actions due to finding of diversified specialists in one place.

But it, besides, is possible, is overcome by a habit – sooner or later people get used. Need to work quite so and in any way in a different way, to yield result, to provide process, above all these temporary inconveniences. And here to the forefront there is reliability of systems. Therefore when everything works well, you get used to these little changes, and it is very sensitive when something suspends or is unavailable. But, as shows experience, at the initial stage we cope with it, and then everything enters more or less normal bed. In the field of operation we for the last month had no incidents, connected with the fact that on a centralized basis something broke, slowed down, became unavailable, etc. Users have problems, but usually local. In this sense we learned to work and scaled the solution. It rather effectively works.

How do you estimate change of productivity of employees on remote work?

Sergey Rusanov: Everything depends on those processes into which employees in a normal operation mode are plunged. Some processes and types of activity are rather effectively transferred, transferred to remote access. Perhaps, it is the activity connected with some sequence of task performance which are issued, then are fulfilled, and then there is a report and discussion then there comes the new stage and a new task.

These stages can be taken out on "udalenka" as work of the house or at office in this case identical. And the stage of problem definition, the reporting can be reduced to short-term meetings on a video conferencing or in the form of calls. Besides, there is email for information exchange. Here process suffers slightly.

And, for example, investment business or the trader for work on an udalenka cannot work at financial markets. Because here special means and methods of access to marketplaces are necessary. We did not transfer them to an udalenka.

We have all this, in terms of the Bank of Russia, - ensuring continuity and restoration of activities (ensuring continuity and/or recovery of activity) – a certain opportunity to ensure functioning of any processes necessary for bank, from any locations in case of an emergency situation. We modelled a situation with a pandemic: for example, some office is closed and it is necessary to work from other office. One more situation – when movement on the city is limited for some number of employees. For example, if to all Moscow there are only 300 admissions, and more nobody can arrive to office. And, certainly, we should organize the maximum accomplishment of critical processes, including of the house, from remote locations.

Some banks went on the way of the organization of accommodation of employees at work, but we did not reach before, here not everything is so unambiguous. It is a separate subject. After all the life support system and the system of remote work limited time are a little different things.

Therefore productivity on average, in my opinion, worsens, and some processes in general cannot be brought to remote work. But, certainly, some processes, and there is a lot of them, in financial institutions it is possible to perform far off exactly with the same effect, as from office. For example, I see an opportunity to considerably reduce business trips. Said all the time about it, but people want personal contact, want to communicate. Therefore to go to the different cities, to look how people work that occurs on site – it is always good. But in an extreme situation, such as now, business trips can be replaced with a video conferencing and discussion of some questions far off.

Thus, in general assessment ambiguous also depends on that sphere of bank processes which we consider.

Really, some organizations transfer employees to the mode of temporary residence at work. Could you tell in more detail why after all you decided not to do it?

Sergey Rusanov: We did not even consider such possibility. I forgot to mention that we created the special headquarters which all board members plus necessary number of key heads from divisions which provide operational processes of bank, including administrative technical unit, the head of call center, colleagues from regions, from risks, etc. entered. This headquarters quickly resolved all technical issues, including ensuring remote access.

And I do not remember that the thought came that there is some restriction or a stop factor which does not allow us to provide activity of bank in the mode of limited arrival to bank and taken most out remote work of employees to someone to mind. That reached a situation with accommodation at work. Those banks which made it, perhaps had on that serious reasons or restrictions. But we decided at once that people who will go to office – about 200-300 people – we will provide with transport, a possibility of the parking, free movement on the city, and completely we will exclude public transport.

If to discuss, it is possible or it is impossible, then, probably, not each organization can provide a full stroke of life support of the person. It is necessary to think also of its hygiene, a power supply, a dream, etc. It is clear, that there are emergency situations when in a short interval it is necessary to make something urgent, and then people sit round the clock in bank, but they do not spend the night there. They courageously work 1-1.5 days, and then go home to be dumped. But to live in office, to have there berths, to keep the watch – I think, for bank it is uncharacteristic. Oil production, portable platforms in the sea – there it is possible. And what we have it that it is impossible to solve organizational measures, I do not represent.

Whether there are some, maybe, software tools using which you control and monitor work of employees on "udalenka"?

Sergey Rusanov: Well, the term "monitor" more likely from area of police surveillance. It is clear, that in banking and community in a situation when we have a regulator, supervision exists. It exists also in our internal life and, of course, we monitor that certain rules were followed. Including we monitor that, how effectively that volume of tasks which should be executed, is executed by specific employees. And, of course, it is very interesting to us how now remote access is demanded as far as it is loaded. From this it is possible to draw a conclusion, as far as bank in the current configuration, even being on remote work, corresponds to the current volume of tasks.

Evidently the volume of transactions was reduced. In a normal situation the growth of business which first of all was reached due to sales of new products, involvement of new clients, by work with old clients and decrease in their outflow was our main care. It generated the forward growth of volumes of customer service.

And in the current situation some directions, sales significantly sank. If in large corporate business it is possible to work rather effectively far off, and this decrease because the big organizations continue to work even in the remote mode, then small business was significantly reduced is not really noticeable there. It is visible also on those measures of support of small and medium business which are implemented by the government. Here, of course, volumes decreased.

Also retail was reduced: volumes of issuance of credits because people are busy with other cares decreased. When decrease in a personal income is expected, to take the new credits – strange. People are more anxious with maintenance of the current existence with perspective somehow now to get out of this situation, to return former quality of life.

At the same time we see that volumes of bank service did not decrease. So people, as before, need to provide calculations, own banking activities. Therefore volumes of payments, settlement transactions reached approximately pre-crisis level after decrease right at the beginning. Here the bank mechanism continues to work, and we observe this reorganization, gain of work on remote links, including client.

Against the background of all this, of course, it is interesting, how intensively people continue to work. In standard office situation we have a labor schedule, labor discipline, arrival time for work and leaving, and it can be checked using the system of a gap tolerance – the ACS. And now to understand, the person works or not, how effectively works whether he has a scope of work, very difficult. Especially to us as to third-party administrators of this process. Moreover, many employees, having access to a desktop, actually work only in e-mail. It is their main tool, and we look on a monitoring system that it did not come on remote access, but at the same time works, mail from it goes. And here, clear, you will not tell that he is an idler or spends not enough time at work.

But I can tell in general that, of course, online utilization of the UD system not 100 percent. At every moment in simultaneous remote access on our complex there are 70-80% of people. People come at different times as the diagram became flexible. And someone has types of activity which are not requiring daily presence on remote access. Therefore here it is difficult to build some system which accurately could control new realities of work. Though, of course, we think of it. It is interesting to both the management of bank, and our HR, how effectively at the general decrease in intensity people work at remote access.

Therefore the task such costs, and so far we think how to solve it.

About the tasks requiring physical presence of workers

In addition to those examples which you gave where personal presence of a part of employees at work still is required?

Sergey Rusanov: There are, for example, problems of production of the reporting, tasks connected with printing of documents which too you will not execute of the house and you will not bring these documents. It is possible to walk on a set of processes of bank. Certainly, the divisions servicing all this: business executives, security – those who are in the watch mode they should be present at bank as the bank is including the building which needs to be supported. Far off it can not always be made.

By our estimates, in Moscow now at "staff" offices of bank no more than 300 people daily work that makes about 5.5% of the regular volume of number of GO in Moscow (5.5 thousand workers). And in regions everything depends on work of sales points. Regional managers decide what points to keep open whom to bring to work what interchangeability, as the flow of clients differs both depending on time of week, and from a location. Here all quickly. As the country leaders transferred to the control to the regional authorities a situation with a quarantine, self-isolation, and at us: we give to regions this responsibility.

Perspectives of remote work after a pandemic

After life returns back to normal how you look at permitting to continue to work far off with that to employees who will want it?

Sergey Rusanov: One desire is not enough here. Of course, we and to a situation with a pandemic and need to bring people in self-isolation dealt with issues of remote access. I will repeat that we had such regular service which was provided to a certain employee category. Moreover, within the Happy Employee program we carried out a pilot project on modeling of work from the house. It is our program which does work of employees more comfortable.

Using this pilot we wanted to understand specifics, the arising inconveniences, difficulties and problems. And the situation with a pandemic accelerated this understanding. Now we know much about how it is necessary and it is possible to work far off as far as it is possible that is possible and it is impossible, and now we already have a feedback from all participants of process. We try to systematize understanding where remote access is good and where it has restrictions to make it the normal mode of work. There are plans of introduction of interchangeability of jobs and providing an opportunity to certain employee categories some time in a week to work out of office. Certainly, with preserving of target KPI which employees should support, with ensuring efficiency.

It in the long term will allow to save on office space. If we manage to group a new target configuration when some number of people in the mode of remote work is permanent, and in office in the replaceable mode there will be less people, than now, the part of squares can be freed, having saved on expenses, or those that at us in property - to sell or rent and gain an additional income.

What will be then with the notebooks which were purchased for employees

You said that you bought notebooks for employees. When the most part from them comes back to work what will be with these notebooks?

Sergey Rusanov: I do not know the answer to this question yet. It is clear, that if to force employees to hand over notebooks on a warehouse – from it, probably, to sense will be little. Let's say we will hand over these notebooks on regional warehouses: somewhere there will be 100 devices, about 50, about 15. Probably, it is quite good for maintenance of a warehouse reserve on the future, but first in such quantity - it is excessive, and secondly - it is more correct to force this asset to work.

Most likely, we will redistribute these notebooks for those employees who will be involved a new above-mentioned remote operation mode. And most likely, we will make it because not the fact that all such employees have a home computer, and the regular notebook contains the built-in security aids, it makes the employee mobile and can replace the working computer at office for such "replaceable" jobs. And it is not really safe to work on the home computer on which all family works in terms of risks of information security when the child can approach and make, for example, couple of postings in a banking system while someone from parents departed.

By the way, the park of the purchased notebooks in scales of bank not such big as it seems: little more than 600 devices.

Sergey Rusanov – about why heads of bank are present at office

Sergey Georgiyevich, our readers who watch an interview, ask you to answer several questions. The first question: why you are in office, but do not work from the house? And how often you should go to office?

Sergey Rusanov: I, by the way, thought over this question: what if to ask me about it? And I am ready to answer. Simple answer. First, I live near. Secondly, I have an official car which is absolutely safe in terms of movement. Thirdly, bank at present, especially back office premises where clients do not go, represent the island of security. There are no foreign people, absolute purity in terms of disinfection history as all employees who in very small quantity are present at bank – about several people on the floor – everything are healthy here, and infection cases, at least across Moscow and at offices at us are practically absent. Just employees who sit on "udalenka" generally through members of families catch at us. And in bank infection cases at us are absent.

And, fourthly, it is simple to me to work more conveniently in an office because here both the table is more, and the computer is better. Sometimes I, certainly, work at home, but it when something very urgent needs to be made, usually in the evenings or during the week-end. But for me it is uncomfortable. When it is necessary to spend 12 hours at work, to stay at home and in an office are two big differences. Well and at last, at office at us a corporate system of video conferences, which much more convenient and productive. And the main reason – remote access, it not in itself, it "from remote access points to the center", and in this center someone should be. It as "mission control center" in the space industry, and those duty "officers" including heads of bank, certainly here are present at some quantity.

Here board meetings and other collegiate organs are held. They look so: at safe distance in the conference hall of board 4-5 people sit, and other colleagues participate through remote access. Such work proved to be as justified in terms of security and efficiency.

Here you partially answered the following question from readers which included parts about work of board. From it it is necessary to specify how there is a signing of documents.

Sergey Rusanov: If to speak about IT and block, all directors of departments and some of their deputies have our right to sign. I have too. It turns out so that colleagues heads who are on "udalenka" appear at office weekly or I offer them that I will sign documents for them. Therefore I have a loading on signing of documents a little more. But, considering that the total amount of documents decreased, in general it is small additional loading.

Whether the IT strategy of bank because of "koronakrizis" will change

One more question from readers. Whether development plans for IT, the accepted strategy of IT of Otkrytiye bank according to the results of "koronakrizis" will exchange and if yes, how exactly?

Sergey Rusanov: The strategy of IT always of business-driven, speaking English: we provide accomplishment of business plans. Of course, we build infrastructure by the rules. But the basic target entering indicators on transaction volumes, by types of systems for maintenance of these or those processes, of course, we select on the basis of business plans.

Considering that 2020 in all banking sector will be less successful, than it was planned, I, nevertheless, do not think that we will sharply change something in the plans. Because, let us assume, we, maybe, will not reach any volumes of data storage, but all the same the bank works, transactions in online systems are made, postings in the core banking system become, databases are filled. Process goes. And reduction of volumes of business slightly affected quantitative indices.

Moreover, we traditionally use decrease in business activity as an additional opportunity to complete the begun IT projects. So development projects at us, on the contrary, are planned to implementation without fail. We will have no arguments now that someone was strongly busy with sales or customer acquisition and therefore did not manage to implement the problems of development. On the contrary, we have time it to be engaged, and technologies of remote work allow to do it, though slightly less effectively.

Especially as we and also provided our partners with remote access to systems in which development they participate. Together with other employees of the bank our employees continue to conduct project activity.

Therefore for us nothing considerably changes, the intensity of work remains. We need to prepare new strategy including business, and the IT, at us appeared the additional stage of replanning connected with current situation. It is work volume too.

We are not going neither to stop, nor to stop long-term plans on finalization of strategy which comes to the end in 2020. It includes, including, an output of the inappropriate systems, ensuring necessary functionality for business and maintenance of a product row, channel services, digital services Especially, they are especially demanded now.

Whether partner interaction of bank exchanged somehow

As we already begin to be beaten out from time allowed for an interview I will ask the last question from readers. Partially you just mentioned it when mentioned how you work with partners in the field of IT now. Whether partner interaction of bank in the mode of remote work exchanged somehow? Let speak about all partners in general.

Sergey Rusanov: Interaction passed into remote canals. Perhaps, it changed a little quantitatively and qualitatively, but all our partners do not want to lose bank as the client. Because we for them regarding IT – clients and customers. They, of course, are interested also in preserving of volumes of the business with us, i.e., our orders at them. Therefore here interaction changed a form and to some period a little – April and May, most likely – slightly "collapsed" in respect of intensity. But since June we predict both growth of business activity, and aspiration to recovery of business processes including, for partner interaction.

Thanks, Sergey Georgiyevich. It was the last question. We thank you that you found time for a conversation with us. And also I thank all who watched us. Good luck!