Banco Itaú reduces IT incidents by 90%

ZOIS spoke with Augusto Nellessen and Douglas Santos at Banco Itaú about their experiences with the association and the importance of soft skills training; helping them to reduce IT incidents by 40%.



ZOIS: Please tell me about your responsibilities at Banco Itaú.

Augusto Nellessen: I am responsible for all data centres and infrastructures for the data centres, including networking voice data and the call centre infrastructure.

Douglas Santos: I am responsible for the IT Governance and Quality. We lead quality initiatives like Zero Outage. Together, we lead the Zero Outage initiative.

ZOIS: How was your corporate life before you applied Zero Outage methods? Did you have many incidents?

Augusto Nellessen: Within Itaú Bank, we lived in a different time. We had many different types of incidents. We had more than 300 business related incidents per week. I am not mentioning the infrastructure functions. Now we are experiencing only 30 incidents per week. This is 10% of the incidents we had 3 years ago when we started the Zero Outage program. Our life before the program was a nightmare. It was a very challenging time.

ZOIS: Regarding this ZOIS association, of which Itaú is a member, how did you connect with the Zero Outage association?

Augusto Nellessen: Actually, we started by ourselves with our knowledge in ITIL. Then I talked with a colleague, who was head of T-Systems in Brazil and he put me in contact with you. I believe in 2018 we started the conversation. We started to understand the kind of methodology, especially concerning people, training and best practice. At that point, it was great that the membership was free of charge for the first year. It is very hard to explain the cost to a bank. First we did the job and everybody saw the results and the positive affect it has on the bank. It was then very easy to justify the membership fees. We were very glad to be accepted into the association and to have access to free training and to be able to exchange our knowledge and experience with other members.

ZOIS: So you explained how you got in contact with the association but what is your impression of the association? Especially now you’ve already taken part in all the trainings and contributed to the course.

Douglas Santos: My impression is that you have a clear objective as an organisation. All of the content that you provide; the standard itself, reading documents or even answering questions, this is all very important to us. We as a bank, are a great organisation with a lot of well-educated, trained and knowledgable people. What you are providing is peerless. It has helped us a lot to have the opportunity to discuss these topics with other like-minded people.

ZOIS: You said that you have decreased your incidents by 40%. I’m very interested to know, what are your top three or five measures you implemented to achieve that?

Augusto Nellessen: Actually, we did a lot of things. It was not a silver bullet, it was a journey. We started in 2018 with simple documentation and with small and simple things. We put all good practices together and indexed our rules and best practices. We implemented a powerful monitoring tool and started to look at every infrastructure and analyse every single incident. Above all, we engaged all people at the bank, even in our regular meetings and we standardised the best practices that we saw in different areas. We did that based on the Pareto rule, analysing 80% of our problems. I think this is one of our biggest secrets here, we apply the Pareto rule to everything. We took this knowledge from the bank and transferred it to the infrastructure and IT. Only then could we see how our problems evolve and where issues came from. We focused on people. This is of course is not just my project, Douglas is the superintendent of governance and we work together on the Zero Outage initiative. At Itaú, we involve all teams, provide them with trainings and access to best practices. I think our main focus was with our people; how to train them, give them more information and knowledge. By doing this, we managed to reduce businesses incidents by 40%.

ZOIS: Very impressive and also very interesting that you mention the importance of people skills, so key, which is why we reflect this aspect in every training we provide at the moment. I’m really interested to know how this has spread into business? Zero Outage is of course under great consideration for IT, but does business also recognise it?

Douglas Santos: For sure. We started in a single area. Then we turned to directors and we are now involving our VP. Zero Outage is no longer just an IT program. Our vice president always mentions the Zero Outage initiative. We are now integrating the program into the business community. We have IT people and business people delivering the same experience to our customers. Quality is something that we have embraced and have even received a prize from the central bank. The Zero Outage program is the shining star of this transformation.

ZOIS: We are very happy to hear that. What would you suggest to other CEOs and other IT managers to decrease outages?

Douglas Santos: First of all, have an open mind to listen and learn what others do better than you. We are a proud organisation with a lot of good techniques. We consider ourselves as one of the best. We are a proud team, so it was difficult to open our minds to learn from others. I also think it is important to focus on people, training and to establish best practices. All of this should be carefully planned. Being a member of an organisation like ZOIS enables us to do this more efficiently. When you are part of an organisation with other companies, you can exchange experiences and focus on one common goal – zero outage, quality and security.

ZOIS: Thank you very much for your insight. Very interesting.