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Driving banking app transformation for Santander through product-led thinking


Santander sign

A trusted partner

  • Category: Financial Services Digital Transformation

Digital transformation it’s not just about adapting a consumer-facing channel; it’s also about people. Bringing together the right team with the right skills is the best way to get a product off the ground and to support efficient delivery through every stage. 

Kin + Carta was asked by Santander UK to evolve its legacy mobile banking channel from project-based releases to a transformed product operating model. The aim was to build capabilities closer to those found in digital-native organisation, leveraging the latest ways of working and technology. Why retail mobile? It has 6 million frequent customers and is a mature channel. The bank wanted to show the rest of the organisation that it’s possible to transform mature enterprise channels without looking straight to greenfield innovation. 

Filling the gaps in digital customer experiences

Santander turned to Kin + Carta to support this product-led transformation—reflecting a trusted partnership built over several years across mobile and business banking. 

Santander’s well-established retail mobile channel displayed clear digital potential. The team identified intelligence gaps throughout retail mobile’s digital journeys and a need for optimisation in its customer-facing channels. The organisation had an opportunity to better leverage data and more effectively adopt leading software and agile practices.

Kin + Carta has been a key digital partner to Santander for over five years now. What makes the team stand out from our other partners is the consistency of their work and the emphasis they put on building a lasting, resilient relationship. It’s why we’ve been able to transform a mature product so quickly and set ourselves up for creating industry-leading digital experiences for years to come.

Ruth Wooderson - CIO - Fraud, Santander UK

People at the heart of transformation

We knew what was needed and the skills and abilities required to deliver it. Now, we had to create a team to bring it to life. One of our first priorities was to build cross-functional teams who could enable us to achieve Santander’s goals, rapidly improve the quality of work, and build a stable delivery engine. 

We began by assessing existing skills, current delivery practices, and internal ways of working to identify a full range of possibilities. Next, we gave our cross-functional teams the capacity to deliver valuable outcomes for customers via a modernised product operating model.

Transformational leaders were put in place to expertly guide delivery. Innovation was achieved at scale by ramping up multi-channel digital squads, including nearshore team members, where and when they were needed most. Individual skills, such as design, were placed at the heart of teams to coordinate efforts, increase mutual understanding, and reduce waste.

Delivering data-first digital innovation

Only the highest quality product would fit the bill for such a high-profile brand, and we reduced time-to-market with a series of improvements on the path to production. 

As a result of data-driven innovation and widespread collaboration, Santander can now offer a truly modernised digital experience for finance customers, with an operating model that empowers rapid decision-making and delivery

The benefits of an embedded team with a mindset of continuous iteration are evident in the final product—so much so that the same team is now part of ongoing enablement for wider sustainable digital transformation efforts at Santander.

If you’d like to find out more about Kin + Carta’s approach to digital transformation and how it can deliver for you, get in touch to start a conversation with one of our experts.


40% OpEx reduction from a highly distributed team
16 new capabilities delivered to everyday banking customers
6.6m Customers

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