Erste Bank Hungary rolls out George for retail customers
The Top 5 Hungarian financial institute introduces George, a group-level e-banking and mobile banking platform to its customers. MINDSPIRE Consulting contributed with product owners, architects, and testers to the successful rollout.
On the 8th of February 2021, Erste Bank Hungary launched George App, an innovative group solution replacing its previous mobile-banking application. As a follow-up, the rollout of the browser-based solution was made available to the retail customer segment on the 1st of March.
To support the development and the deployment process, MINDSPIRE provided necessary personnel at key positions to help the bank achieve this feat.
Erste Group has begun to develop George as its digital platform in Austria in 2012 and continued its expansion to the Group countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Croatia. As of today, the e-banking and mobile banking platform serves more than 6 million customers with personalized digital access to their financials.
Approximately 250 developers work on the platform to provide innovative solutions to this customer base, such as:
- Personalizable user interfaces: the ability to upload profile pictures, choosing colours for accounts and rearranging the dashboard with drag-and-drop.
- State-of-the-art personal financial module: automatic categorization with the possibility of manual re-categorization, uploading pictures (invoices, warrantee notices) to transactions.
- Search-as-you-type transaction filtering: lightning fast transaction history searches act on every keystroke to get the customers excellent user-experience.
Erste Bank Hungary began the “heavy lifting” of integration at the beginning of 2020, implementing all the necessary components to integrate with the Group solution. The bank moved away from its traditional waterfall project approach and standardized the agile method for its implementation teams. The bank organized and managed the Hungarian in-house and contracted developers and specialists to work along with the international team of George developers with success.
The effort bore its fruit: the Hungarian branch was the first one in the Group to move most of the components to the Amazon cloud, and it was the first to roll out with a fully integrated mobile-token solution.
MINDSPIRE Consulting helped the Bank on various tracks, putting key experts to the work where it was most needed:
- Mobile token integration: Our experts planned the details and oversaw the implementation of the mobile-token solution of the George mobile app. The end product can authenticate the mobile and the web (both the old NetBank and the new George) logins and transaction signing processes. Also, the software is capable of push-based 3DSecure transaction signing as well.
- Mobile rollout strategy: Our experts helped to plan the rollout to be as efficient as possible. Technical planning made possible running George App and the old MobilBank parallel, until everyone upgraded to the new solution. As a result, users can have access to George App by a simple Store upgrade, without re-activating their mobile tokens.
- Transaction migration: As serving the transaction history is a key part of the e-banking and mobile banking solution, it was necessary to migrate it to the new platform. MINDSPIRE’s migration experts aided the planning of the migration process and implemented a method to verify the success of the initial uploads. As an extra, we identified several issues with transaction-data enrichments, which the bank could correct in time.
- Product owners’ roles: Our key experts – working as solution designers and product owners – oversaw their agile teams’ daily work, managed to translate the API requirements to internal processes and technical design, while maintaining the business priorities of the development. The task involved daily interaction with the Group developers to implement the best possible solution.
- Performance testing and code-review: We advised the Bank to start the performance tests as soon as the implementation showed signs of stabilization, namely when functional problems were not emerging daily. Our experts identified the key customer journeys in the old NetBank and MobilBank, mapped the customer-relevant actions to the processes in the new George App and WEB, and devised a performance-testing strategy to follow until the rollout. The tests identified bottlenecks in the early stages – our experts helped the code-review process to eliminate them. As a result, performance indicators showed a tenfold increase, and the whole system was stabile even under heavy load.
As MINDSPIRE Consulting’s key experts took part in many e-banking rollout projects, we were happy to see that our recommendations were welcomed and acted upon. Our 3 most relevant takeaways for this project are:
- Platform-change always involves product changes: Sometimes getting your product to be manageable in a new platform is simply not possible. Be prepared to alter your solutions to fit in the environment – this usually involves unplanned business and IT resources.
- Treat performance as a business asset: Planning and testing performance requires tremendous efforts from the project team. You must plan ahead and start testing as soon as possible. Dedicate a certain amount of your developer resources exclusively to investigate and resolve performance issues – you might even have to re-develop certain parts of your system.
- Observability is key: Rollouts without glitches aren’t rollouts at all, so be prepared for them. Have your infrastructure monitored (logged) down to the last bit, because if you cannot follow your integrations and processes, you won’t know where your problems lie. Conducting many performance tests are a good way to gain experience identifying problematic, misconfigured components.
We are proud and honoured to be part of Erste Bank’s team in bringing George to Hungary. We congratulate the Erste Group on realizing its goal on having George introduced to all the member countries.
Our Clients Said
George Country Manager – Erste Bank Hungary
“Colleagues delegated by MINDSPIRE Consulting to the project contributed greatly to the successful launch of George, Erste Bank’s new internet banking and mobile application service. MINDSPIRE consultants have demonstrated their professionalism and leadership skills from the first moment of the project. MINDSPIRE is one of the consulting firms I would love to work with in the future and I would like to thank them for their professional work.”