Against the backdrop of revolutionary macro and microeconomic changes in the UK banking environment, Santander UK needed to create an ecosystem that enabled enterprise agility by connecting business with IT and strategy into delivery – with a single line of sight into key initiatives at every stage of the journey.


Leveraging the power within Planview Portfolios™, Santander UK was able to translate strategy into delivery on an organizationwide, cross-functional scale with roadmaps that connected the investments, outcomes, capabilities, milestones, technology, and financials required to drive business decision and speed the delivery of new products and services.

“Planview® is more a partner to us than our supplier. We get from them advice on ways of working and how to make the most of our solution.”

– Joaquim Cols, Director of Operations for Santander Technology UK

About Santander UK

Santander UK is a large retail and commercial bank based in the UK and a wholly owned subsidiary of the major global bank Banco Santander. Their 14.4 million active customers are served through digital channels, alongside a network of branches and business centers that extend across Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Challenge: Connecting Business with IT to Achieve Agility

Entering 2017, Santander UK found itself in a deluge of uncertainty as the UK began the process of leaving the European Union. In addition to these macro challenges this presented, UK banks also faced unprecedented new regulatory requirements and a hypercompetitive landscape where upstart digital banks wielding emergent technology applied pressure on margins and growth across all business lines.

As a subsidiary of the Santander Group – one of the world’s largest retail and commercial banks – Santander UK could potentially access shared resources, expertise, and capability from across the globe, leaving them well-positioned for success. But to unlock these possibilities, they needed to initiate change in their group organizational construct and integrate business and IT processes under a single operating model.

“We wanted to create an ecosystem that would enable this organizational construct to have more agility as an enterprise, and that would allow us to connect strategy to delivery, add transparency, and simplify processes day-to-day,” says Joaquim Cols, Director of Operations for Santander Technology UK. The bank’s main goals were to accelerate decision making, simplify governance, improve resource management and capacity planning, and optimize investment portfolio performance and tracking.

“First of all, at the very base is optimizing IT tooling,” says Cols, who also noted that in selecting any new technology Santander Technology UK wanted more than just a supplier; they wanted a partner with a dynamic platform capable of supporting them throughout the transformation process. “This was where Planview appeared to help us in the journey.”

Solution: Digital Transformation Fuels Cultural Adaptation

“We started to design an ecosystem at a very high level using Planview Portfolios™ as a core,” says Cols. Santander UK began transitioning from different companies working independently to integrating business with IT processes and KPIs under a single operating model. This transformation included incorporating Agile processes and other work methodologies into its traditional project portfolio management (PPM) processes to help speed delivery of new products and services. “In three months, we were able to replace our former PPM Model. That was a big win for us. Few people believed it was possible. We did it.”

Launching an enterprise-wide transformation required that Cols and his team lay out a clear vision to keep everyone focused. This included outlining strategic goals, creating well-defined roadmaps, and establishing criteria to measure success. This last point proved the most challenging.

“You need to think of who your stakeholders are and what they consider a success,” says Cols. “Success is different in the view of different stakeholders.” For Santander UK, the stakeholders consisted of leadership, business units, IT, finance, and product teams, each accustomed to quantifying success on their own terms using anything from cost avoidance to risk management, capitalization, user adoption, and other varying yardsticks.

With no one-size-fits-all measure of success, Santander UK relied on embracing an adaptive attitude to governance where they would lean on Planview Portfolios “to give us structure on a framework to all the different epics and user stories that we end up delivering,” says Cols.

“[We began to use] reporting that was based on Planview Enterprise One’s Power BI capability that could help to bring every different layer of the organization into understanding what decisions they are making and what are the impacts.”

With Planview Portfolios in place, “our stakeholders can actively drill into and analyze key data points during a given conversation or meeting,” concludes Cols. “The cultural adjustment happens where different roles see that the framework and tools help them to achieve their part.”

Results: A Quantifiable Partnership

Speaking on Santander UK’s relationship with Planview, Cols says, “Planview® is more a partner to us than our supplier. We get from them advice on ways of working and how to make the most of our solution.”

Making the most out of the Planview Portfolios solution has resulted in a jaw-dropping 6.5 million hours of time recorded in the system yearly, the planning and tracking of over 500 business initiatives – structured into 2,500 pieces of work, and more than 4,000 users across five companies who interact with Planview in one way or another.

Looking more broadly at the business outcomes, Santander UK has experienced a remarkable rise in resource utilization – up to 80%, better-informed reallocations of investment budget, and 25% quicker decisions. “We have been able to accelerate our decisions significantly,” says Cols.

Future: Improved Efficiency and Sustainable Growth

While micro and macroeconomic challenges persist, the delivery of Santander UK’s multi-year transformation to a simpler and more agile organization – powered by Planview Enterprise One – fosters confidence in their ability to succeed through a relentless focus on continually improving efficiency and competitiveness.

To learn more about what Planview® solutions can do for your organization, visit

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