Business major

Goldman pulls top software from company backrooms in major overhaul


Goldman Sachs wants to bring more software developers and engineers out of the back rooms and deeper into the business as the bank embarks on a sweeping reorganization to give more weight to its customer service offerings.

The bank is trying to improve the developer experience for both internal and external workers, and is rewriting processes so developers are more engaged with business goals from the start of projects, according to Marco Argenti, Goldman’s chief information officer .

Historically, developers asked “how” questions, Argenti said Oct. 19 during an online conference. the wall street journal CIO Network Members Event.

“Now we want them to answer the ‘why’ questions” that relate to the business purpose of their work, he said. “It’s a big change.”

Argenti became Goldman’s sole chief information officer earlier this month in a move that also saw the creation of an applied innovation office headed by former co-CIO George Lee and Jared Cohen, the former CEO of tech incubator Jigsaw, a unit of Alphabet Google.

Argenti joined Goldman in 2019 as co-CIO after serving as vice president of technology at Amazon Web Services. Now, as the sole CIO at Goldman, he takes on a supervisory role for more than 12,000 engineers, or one in four people who work at Goldman, according to the company.

As part of the restructuring, announced on October 18, Goldman plans to consolidate its investment banking and trading businesses into a single unit, and group asset management, wealth management and much of Marcus , its direct-to-consumer business, into another.

The company also plans to create a unit called Platform Solutions which will include fintech platforms and specialist lender GreenSky. The solutions unit will also include elements of the consumer business, such as card partnerships with Apple and General Motors, as well as the transaction banking business.

In recent years, Goldman has begun to focus more on stable, revenue-generating client services to complement its successful trading and investment banking operations. As customer experience becomes a bigger focus area for the bank, the developer experience becomes increasingly important, said Argenti, who also sits on the bank’s executive committee.

The chief information officer said he was looking to leverage his experience working at Nokia, where between 2011 and 2013 he served as senior vice president of developer experience. Developers have only grown stronger in business since then, Argenti said.

Technology and software development supports Goldman’s restructuring in several ways, creating unified and scalable platforms to serve customers, according to Argenti. “It’s kind of an evolution…to really manage the customer as one, no matter how many touchpoints they have within Goldman Sachs,” Argenti said.

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“We try to create a seamless experience for them. And so this consolidation helps us get closer to that because of the synergies between the divisions,” he said.

Goldman is also trying to empower its own technology teams by changing the product development process. Rather than being told to code a product by teams further up the chain, developers and engineers write with business development teams what the company calls a working note, in reference to a development philosophy product used by Argenti’s former employer, Amazon.com. .

The teams essentially work together on a fake press release announcing a new product or service, Argenti said. This is sent back to the various business units for review before the teams work backwards to create the product.

The process can help developers feel more empowered and has led to higher retention rates, Argenti said. The process of constantly writing and editing a document, rather than presenting a game halfway through product development, for example, is also beneficial for staff who may be intimidated by public speaking. or who speaks English as a second language, he added.

“They don’t want to feel like they’re in the back office; they need to feel on the front line of the business and that helps them solve problems,” Argenti said of engineers and developers. “And we have some incredibly interesting problems to solve.”

Write to Katie Deighton at [email protected]

This article was published by the Wall Street Journal.