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Transformation 13 Jan 2022

BBVA creates a Software Development area to drive global scalable solutions

BBVA has launched a new global software division that brings together more than 16,000 developers across the Group. This new division will speed up delivery of digital solutions and make them more easily scalable across the countries where the bank operates.


Headed by Francisco Leyva, the new unit will execute and coordinate the bank’s core technological transformation programs at a global level. This will ensure enhanced productivity, faster updating, improved security and higher quality of software development. “So far, in the Engineering area we had made forward strides in creating multiple global functions (Infrastructure, Communications, Architecture) that lead and coordinate strategy execution with the local units. The growing importance of software development calls for that same level of globalization to leverage the benefits of a global reach,” said Leyva.

Counting both internal and external personnel, more than 16,000 people are now dedicated to designing, developing and maintaining software in this new unit. The aim is to “achieve more reuse of the components we build to deliver solutions more quickly and efficiently, while developing global solutions that bring more value to our customers than we could offer in each country separately.”

The unit is therefore a new section of the bank’s Engineering area, and its reports include the Design and Development teams in all countries where the Group has a presence and the global Development teams. In addition, co-dependencies have been set up with the Global Solutions Architecture and Software Development Transformation units and with BBVA Next Technologies, a Group company that specializes in software engineering, and with Veridas, a leading biometric technology company created by BBVA and das-Nano.

Globalizing solutions to speed up delivery times

“Our purpose means we need to be able to deliver better solutions—and more of them—in a shorter timeframe. We have therefore developed a multi-year plan to help us take real forward steps in building global solutions,” said Leyva. BBVA already operated global development platforms, such as GloMo, with more than 300 global APIs that are reused in the bank’s smartphone apps in each country. “Our new goal now is precisely to move forward with globalizing these apps,” he explained.

The purpose of this new Software Development unit is primarily to build services that can be shared across apps in all countries and follow a common data model. This will cut down on execution times by leveraging the scale of having more than 1,300 developers for this specific project across teams around the world. “By building these common components faster, we will be able to roll out services globally, without having to start from scratch in each country. Globalizing components in all countries would otherwise take us eight years, but with these forward strides we believe we can do it in four,” he added.

Placing developers center stage

Software development is a key lever of value creation for the business. Adopting the new development approach called DevOps is essential to transform the software development process at BBVA, as it brings a wide range of advantages to the development function and the Group’s strategy. “Use of DevOps across the board is enabling us to optimize the entire software development cycle. It’s not just about using specific tools, but about changing the way we work,” Leyva said.

The benefits of this work philosophy are already apparent in practically all relevant facets of software development: productivity, quality, delivery time, security, and so forth. In this new phase, the key lines of action of DevOps will focus on improving processes by placing the developer’s experience center stage. This will support their role by enabling them to deliver more functionality, faster and in closer alignment with business needs. “We are achieving higher quality software with fewer bugs, thanks to automatic testing, and enhanced security through making cybersecurity an integral part of the process. And at the same time our costs are now lower, as a direct result of increased process efficiency,” said Leyva.

A clear example of improvement can be seen in the BBVA Spain website. Just one year after implementation of the DevOps approach, the site has moved up from 10 to 18 releases and from 500 to 2,700 user stories, while cutting down errors to a minimum by running more than 1,300 automatic tests.