Bank of America Looks to Citizen Developers for Digital Transformation

The bank hopes that greater collaboration between tech-focused trades and sales employees will result in higher adoption of new applications.

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Need to Know 

  • Bank of America is using citizen developers to help optimize digital transformations in the areas of machine learning and sales. 
  • Citizen developers are non-professional developers that help build applications, in this case, Bank of America staff traders and salespeople. 
  • Citizen developers in trading have been tasked with finding innovative ways to apply machine learning techniques to products that have been resistant to automation, while sales citizen developers at Bank of America are using data and machine learning to better predict customer demand. 

Analysis

Bank of America’s global head of the data and innovation group (DIG), Brice Rosenzweig, believes that innovation can not be corralled, but rather enabled and feels that BofA’s citizen dev’s hold the key to digital transformation. 

BofA’s DIG team has quietly been working to make data and technology available for its frontline workers in sales and traders categories. “The new salespeople and traders today are much more technical,” says Rosenzweig. “A lot of innovation can be enabled by making the data and tools available to what we call ‘citizen devs’ in the business.”

BofA is looking to the citizen developers for input on ways to apply machine learning techniques to products resistant to automation and innovative ways to apply data to better predict customer demand. 

Rosenzweig feels that the collaborative approach between their DIG and citizen development teams will give the bank a major advantage when it comes to the adoption of the resulting applications. “It’s very important that the business has a stake,” he says. “If the person making the hedging decision is very involved, they will make sure it is very useful and applicable in practice. If an external team is providing that solution, the business may not adopt it because they don’t have a stake in it.” Additionally, having more thinkers and perspectives in the mix increases the likelihood that the programs created will address needs correctly. 

With the tech industry growing rapidly the demand for developers is at an all-time high, making the rise of citizen dev’s more common among businesses. A recent report by Salesforce reported that 20% of all business applications are now created outside of traditional IT departments. 

BofA’s use of citizen developers further reinstates the bank’s earlier announcement of its plans to double its market share without opening more branches, opting instead to shore up its digital strategy and focus on AI and machine learning.  

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