41 (136) 2019
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Finance & related services

Warsaw operation leads the way in transforming financial giant

by Michał Głowiński, general manager, HL Tech
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HL Tech is Hargreaves Lansdown’s Polish innovative technology centre, established in 2017 in Warsaw, responsible for software development and for the strategic digital transformation of the British financial giant, a component of the FTSE 100.

Our goal here is to provide secure software to help investors perform their financial operations. The decision was taken to keep the core software development in house; the IT used to serve our clients was deemed too strategically important to outsource. Warsaw was chosen after a global search for locations, from India to Canada.

Speaking about trends in the tech that stands behind personal investment, we can distinguish four general directions: ease and accessibility, high-quality customer service, personalisation and trust.

Reputation, and security are nowadays not enough to attract and retain customers who expect the best customer experience and personalised service more than ever.

Customer needs, best practice, quality and good design lie at the heart of HL Tech’s DNA. The work that HL Tech delivers is focused on automation, consulting aimed at continuous improvement of external and internal processes and services of Hargreaves Lansdown, and redesigning ways of working and educating.

What does it mean?

HL Tech helps to orientate the Hargreaves Lansdown organisation towards agile product-development, ownership of the processes and the discipline required to make these concepts sustainable. We have proved that HL can work in different ways. The approach to gathering information about how some processes currently work – and how they should work (known as ‘event-storming’) has been exceptionally useful. It fairly quick and easy to bring business people into the event-storming process, the business people are using this method themselves in their own manual operation process designs.

Hargreaves Lansdown is transitioning to an event-driven set of systems, and has prototyped many options to replace legacy systems in a carefully controlled manner. HL Tech has jumped in with both feet to learn –  and to help business learn – how to get the best out of technology. It has also helped to lead the evolution into a continuous integration and continuous deployment approach for code delivery. HL Tech’s developers have been experts in Java and associated technologies (teams and individuals have presented at globally renowned conferences and forums). They have helped set Hargreaves Lansdown on a successful path in migration to a Java-based, automated software delivery. This has helped define the approach to application transformation and good approaches to breaking down heritage monoliths, using application of modern techniques of domain-driven design, event-storming and delivering microservices. It has also helped to take advantage of Cloud Native technologies, educating people in their adoption.

Other important benefits include the automation of manual interactions, which has saved considerable time and reduced the risk associated with the manual handling of such interactions; upgrades to user interfaces mean simplified and cleaner user-experience; process redesign has helped provide users with the data that they need in a format that best suits the task they are working on; redesign of batch routines that will spread the load on our systems throughout the month rather than concentrating it in one pre-defined period.

Our internship programme has been brilliantly showcasing collaboration between HL Tech and business along with delivering products in a short period of time. The cross-cultural way of working between Warsaw and Hargreaves Lansdown’s Bristol headquarters has been exceptionally smooth, we have bidirectional working relationships that have become stronger over time.

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