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Recognized as a digital champion in Europe, BBVA explains its transformation strategy in Brussels

BBVA is a leader in digital transformation yet again. On this occasion, The Financial Times, Google and European regulatory authorities have included the bank in the group of digital pioneers in Europe. The presentation of the list took place at an event in Brussels that also analyzed the latest trends and different companies’ success stories. Paloma Tejada, Head of Talent & Culture, Client Solutions at BBVA, participated in one of the panels, explaining BBVA’s experience in the digital transformation. She focused on the cultural change underway at the bank, and the evolution of work methods.


The new digital environment represents a significant change for companies - on both a technological and cultural level. Change takes place more quickly than learning, and the challenge for organizations is to ensure that their employees are able to acquire new skills and change habits and behaviors as quickly as the environment evolves. “At BBVA, we continue thinking about how to learn more quickly and we have taken several steps in this direction,” explains Paloma.

BBVA was one of the first companies to focus on the digital transformation. “We have been talking about the transformation for a long time now and our path forward is clear. We are going from a traditional bank to a digital bank, and then we’ll become a digital company. We have been adapting the strategy and learning throughout this journey,” explains Paloma Tejada. A process that has benefited from the right leadership - with extensive banking experience and profound technological knowledge - a purpose (to bring the age of opportunity to everyone) and values that guide the bank in every decision, and finally, a new way of working.

The Head of Talent & Culture, Client Solutions at BBVA describes this change as the evolution from a more hierarchical organization, in which information is shared from top to bottom and responsibility is centralized, to an organization of interconnected autonomous cells, in which information flows in all directions. In 2014 we started to become an agile organization through the creation of scrums - multidisciplinary teams in Spain and Mexico and in the Development areas in South America. The teams were put together with representatives from business, design and marketing, technology and data,” she explains. A system of working groups focused on a single project and in the same physical space: “We were breaking down departmental silos,” she adds.


Paloma Tejada, Head of Talent & Culture, Client Solutions at BBVA

The early results confirmed that this initiative was headed in the right direction. “When implementing this new methodology, we were able to make new products available for customers more quickly than ever before,” she emphasizes. Since 2014, more development teams were added, reaching a total of 30,000 employees using agile work methodologies by the end of 2018.

A transformation that entails not only new work methodologies, but also a cultural change and a new leadership model. “The basic premise of Agile is to empower multidisciplinary teams. This means that directors must learn to stop managing and becoming servant leaders. It’s essential that the leaders of the organization believe in the transformation. At BBVA,  we have been lucky to have this belief in our DNA, with the absolute support of our CEO and senior management,” she explains.

Without a doubt, BBVA is making these changes to the way it sees the organization in order to have a positive impact on people’s lives. “Agile helps us increase the value we provide our shareholders due to the better results; to our customers due to the clear improvement in our Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer journeys; and to our employees,” concludes Tejada