Case Study:

Organizing workflows on a multinational level

AccessHolding is a Major microfinance operation running financial institutions in 12 countries. Darwinist has been running Skill Sprints to help AccessHolding invest in their employees and transform their business.

Risk Department (Berlin)

As the AccessHolding Risk Department expanded their data analytics, it became clear to Kyle - head of that Department - that dedicated developers were needed. This pushed the Risk Department into new territory. While the problems of overly complex and error-prone excel sheets were reduced, new problems arose.

Business-side people were no longer able to independently confirm the method of the analytics, leading to a new type of model risk. Furthermore, this reliance on developers created key person risks. Previously, excel sheets could be deciphered in case of an analyst’s departure, but now the work was performed inside of code that might disappear entirely.

As such, Kyle commissioned a Skill Sprint to ensure that quality control was embedded into the new coding processes, ensuring four-eyes review for key analytics prior to publishing. Furthermore, the team established a code repository on Github, ensuring that the loss of one employee would not result in the loss of years of development.

Business Department (Berlin)

Marijana and Dusko are senior business managers for AccessHolding. They are responsible for providing consultancy services to the group and cross pollination between the individual banks.

The Skill Sprint for Marijana and Dusko was run for a full week with the support and collaboration of the IT department. The focus of the Skill Sprint was teaching the participants how to extract and transform data from the core banking systems of the daughter banks.

Marijana and Dusko showed very high aptitude for coding, however their efforts were severely frustrated by the lack of high quality data and healthy development environment.

Whilst the Skill Sprint was ultimately unsuccessful, it helped everyone understand what could be done better in subsequent Skill Sprints, especially around access to data and development environments.

Risk Manager / Mobile Payments Manager (Zambia)

Mwaka is the head of risk and Marcus is the head of mobile payments (eTumba mobile wallet). Working with Darwinist over one month, two hours per day, they explored the core banking system relational database using Python and SQL.

Based on the lessons of the previous Skill Sprint with Marijana and Dusko, high quality data and access to a good development environment were provided.

Mwaka and Marcus learned to write complex queries and programs to extract and transform data from different sources. They gained a deep insight into the constraints, features and structure of the database, and how that related to their business.

After the Sprint, Mwaka had this to say:

“Participating in the Skill Sprint has given me a much deeper understanding of our core banking system database and the constraints it puts on our business. I can start hiring dedicated data analysts and be able to direct their work. I enjoyed my Sprint and surprised myself on how much I was able to grasp in such a short time. It was a great experience, more so due to the Agile approach and the passion that the coach has for what he does.”

By the end, they were able to quickly query and process millions of rows of data, far exceeding the capacity of their previous Excel-based method. After the Skill Sprint, they reported feeling much more in-touch with the business and its IT systems and are planning on running further Skill Sprints for their subordinates.