TAdviser Interview: The senior vice president of VTB Sergey Bezbogov - about strategy, the budget and new heads of an IT block
For the last 9 months of VTB seriously updated a management structure of IT and employed a number of new experienced heads, including natives of Sberbank and Alfa-Bank. The senior vice president, the Head of Department of the organization and management of IT Sergey Bezbogov who is among managers of "a new wave" in an interview of TAdviser told about how he works IT and block after these conversions, about IT strategy and the budget of VTB.
What strategy of bank in the field of development of IT? In what its main objectives / tasks, what terms of strategy implementation are delivered?
Sergey Bezbogov: VTB has an approved strategy in IT, and the term of its execution is 2022. Certainly, IT of the purpose are built in general strategy of bank. Before us it is worth – promoting as fast as possible a major problem in information technology field.
This year we are going to release the new version of mobile bank for individuals both mobile and web versions for legal entities, and not only for large corporate clients, but also and for small and medium business. Here it is about product channels which will be completely rebuilt. The design of mobile bank will change, there will be big product news. Since the end of last year we work hard over its stability, and one more important release on improvement of its reliability will be made in the fall. Our clients without fail will see these changes. The known fact that initially the VTB bank was corporate. It had separate subsidiary banks which were engaged in retail business. In 2017-2018 there was a process of consolidation of different legal entities of VTB in uniform "universal" bank to consolidate efforts for achievement of new business results.
After accession of retail banks we received a set of different IT systems. Also there were many disagreements because databases different, as well as processes, interfaces. Manage all this it is quite difficult.
Therefore now our work is aimed at completion of unification. First, we want that we had a modern IT architecture which each layer helps to implement new tasks and allows to make necessary changes quickly. It concerns both core banking, and an integration layer, and data transmission in bank. All separate data on the basis of which the data science platform is under construction integrate.
We improve processes of work in bank and in parallel quickly we move together with the market for development of new digital services and services.
What IT budget of VTB for 2020? How did it change in relation to the 2019th? What projects will become the most costly in 2020?
Sergey Bezbogov: There is the general IT budget - 180 billion rubles till 2022. It did not change, and we work in its framework according to strategy. Now we fight both for increase in internal efficiency, and for more high efficiency of work with our contractors. Such amount of works as at us, even big and strong own team, independently not to execute. We have many partners in all areas.
For example, we need to update the hardware, to rebuild DPCs to create more reliable system of data centers. We went on the way of use of one own DPC which is now filled with the equipment, and we will rent the second, reserve DPC since economically it is more reasonable. Now we do a lot of things, but at the same time we try to save.
What now you see opportunities to optimize expenses on IT due to, for example, review of supplier contracts IT?
Sergey Bezbogov: First, we try to do everything or on the Russian software, or on open source. There are two reasons why we so do. One of them is connected with an opportunity to have complete or almost full control of that code which we use, and the second – an opportunity to minimize the volume of licenses which we buy from the third parties, especially abroad. The same concerns also "iron".
Besides, since last fall we began to build more effective policy in the area vendor management. We reviewed our many supplier contracts of the hardware and we managed to receive additional discounts. And on some projects we found other partners ready with us to work at more advantageous conditions.
Regarding the hardware we, in addition to use of the Russian equipment, also try to be reoriented "from the West on the East". Our Chinese partners supply to us the equipment which quality is comparable to the western analogs. Where it is possible, we try to work more densely with them as it costs cheaper and the quality does not suffer.
So economy is a first-priority reason? And whether there is also a factor of import substitution and reduction of dependence on the western suppliers here?
Sergey Bezbogov: Hardly it is possible to call purchase of the equipment at Asian suppliers import substitution. But deliveries go from the countries which did not impose the sanction because of what we feel more quietly against Russia. First-priority emphasis, of course, on what can be purchased within the country. When the Russian suppliers address us, we always consider at first their offers. For example, we needed the means allowing to hold effectively testing of our software, and we found for this purpose of the qualitative Russian contractor.
Open source can hardly call import substitution too, but, at least, it is a vendoronezavisimost. In this case the software code is transparent, and we understand what we work with, we can independently check and develop thoroughly it, irrespective of community of developers.
Now we conduct negotiations with the regulator on that software on open source was also considered as import substitution because in terms of the rights and management of this code it completely is in our hands.
What is represented by an organization structure of the IT block? What divisions are included into it?
Sergey Bezbogov: Structure of IT at us rather traditional. There are four departments which are engaged in development, they are focused on separate layers of architecture. There is a department which is engaged in tasks of retail business (department of technology development), corporate business, all-banking systems and development department of the platform of support of business which is responsible for the core banking system and an integration layer.
Departments which treat business first of all are aimed at the applications focused on clients, and the department of all-banking systems is our "intrigues": ERP, etc. All this, as for development. Besides, there is also a development department of IT infrastructure where DPCs, communications, networks, communication channels and so forth enter. Also there is support department of the applied systems and services. These are the first and second support lines, here – the situational center for control of work of systems. In the same department function of acceptance and implementation of those systems and releases which we release is concentrated.
Also there is a separate department of IT architecture. It plays an important role as now in such organizations as VTB architectural function is extremely significant as there is a lot of systems, as well as tasks. Besides, it is necessary that it worked as a unit that there were uniform standards of development and deployment. The department of IT architecture is engaged in all this.
In addition, still there is a small department which is responsible for the different organizational moments. In it there is a project office, the division which is responsible for the organization of work on DevOps and also for development and deployment of tools for development departments.
Earlier Sergey Baranov, the Head of Department of IT who left in December was responsible for operational management of IT. All managements of IT submitted to it directly. How now does the leading IT vertical of VTB look? Tell about key top managers and curators of the IT block.
Sergey Bezbogov: Each of the listed departments has heads, and the deputy president-chairman of the board Vadim Kulik supervises all structure. All key heads are linear managers who submit to Vadim Kulik. Generally it is people who came to VTB for the last 9 months.
Earlier the structure of IT of the block in VTB was another. There was one department of information technologies, and in it there were 10 deputies and 52 managements. All of them submitted to one person. And now we decided that the new structure is necessary. A number of people who worked as deputies was still saved by the positions in different departments and continue to work with new heads effectively.
The retail vertical is headed now by Alexey Fetisov who came to us from Luxoft company at the end of last year. Behind shoulders at it wide experience of successful work on the guide of big and difficult projects. The systems of FTS which all of us use now it is his child. And the department of technology development of support systems of business which is engaged in the core banking system headed the person who came from Sberbank, - Mikhail Zakharov. Actually he was the second person in the big program of Sberbank which concerned centralization of core banking. He directed all development, the organization of the program. Also to us the big professional Ilya Starostin came. He headed department of IT architecture.
The department connected with all-banking systems was headed too by the person with wide experience, - Nikita Rybchenko. It worked on system implementation of ERP earlier. Infrastructure was headed by the native of Alfa-Bank Vladimir Dergachev where it worked on a similar profile. And his colleague from Alfa-Bank Victor Alferov at us heads now support department and maintenances.
We tried to find such high-class specialists who already proved on similar tasks as we have no time for experiments.
People from a former command who wanted to continue to work effectively harmoniously united to a new command, and all are with each other happy.
How many directly IT specialists does work in bank? At the beginning of 2019 VTB announced plans to increase the number of the IT specialists up to 5 thousand people from whom to employ 1.5 thousand in 2019.
Sergey Bezbogov: Now about 4.500 people work for us and we are going to increase by the end of this year up to 5.300. We employ approximately 400 people a quarter. It only in IT a command of bank, I do not turn on specialists from subsidiary companies here.
In April in media there was information that for the last several months VTB was left by several important IT heads, including the deputy manager of department of IT of VTB Andrey Ovsyannikov and the director of digital transformation Natalya Romenskaya. Also, CNews wrote, VTB left all leadership team of the block of development. What do you connect it with? Who replaced left?
Sergey Bezbogov: Both Andrey, and Natalya – competent specialists, but change of heads in the course of reorganization of an organization structure - natural process which was inevitable as other competences for high-quality breakthrough of IT were necessary. I want to note once again that all people from an old command who wanted to continue to work remained in bank. And this majority. No mass outcome or pressure upon people existed and there was no anguish.
In what specialists does the bank feel the greatest need now?
Sergey Bezbogov: We have many plans for development therefore most of all we are aimed at involvement of developers. It is the competence which is most demanded now. Also we need architects. Good architects in the market are not enough. Still we look for leaders of an average and younger link – people who could organize work at the level of commands (the command is 10-12 people). There are catastrophically not enough effective people with such competences now.
What advantages to IT specialists does VTB against the background of "Yandex", Mail.ru, Sberbank, Tinkoff bank have? All these companies state that they offer good ZP, social package, development and interesting challenges.
Sergey Bezbogov: Really, for IT of the professional the choice – to get a job in "Yandex" or in VTB – quite difficult. We do not pay transcendental salaries. As I spoke, our IT budget – very thought over and verified. But in addition to what is told by all employers we can tell that our bank is in process of building of essentially new corporate IT architecture now. We now in an avangada: we attract perspective technologies, on the one hand, and, with another, we build what neither "Yandex", nor Mail.ru in such format will create. They – about another. Creation of the all-banking system constructed on microservices with the correct integration solutions is the extensive experience accumulated in the market. And we, making use of this experience, we try to escape further, trying not to repeat mistakes which were made by other banks. We go overtaking the market.