Developers from PNC’s technology teams regularly collaborate to help the bank continue to evolve and innovate in its pursuit of a tech-focused engineering culture.

This fall, the groups came together for an all-day event called PNC Developer Day. The gathering was designed to provide a forum for developers across PNC to show off their work and cross-collaborate with their counterparts on technology that could be used in other areas of the bank. The day was uniquely designed to leave out the typical speeches, presentations, or slides and was solely focused on 15 technical demonstrations - ten minutes each - that showcased and detailed reusable technology in various areas.

“Cross-collaboration is my passion!" said Ganesh Krishnan, enterprise chief information officer, and co-head of Technology at PNC. “We do tremendous work within PNC, and we need to make that great work shareable and usable by others within the organization. This event exemplifies that and really gets at the meaning behind our brand identity as a team and company. It only takes a spark —​ and we hope today is the spark that really keeps the fire going. I’m blown away and absolutely energized after our first ever PNC Developer Day. It was phenomenal!”

According to Krishnan, PNC Developer Day also showcased how the bank is forging ahead to rival what big tech companies are doing by creating its own platforms and products, emphasizing innovation and incorporation of industry best practices.

“We strive to cultivate a fearless culture where experimentation and innovation are truly a part of our DNA,” he added. “The attendance alone highlighted how invested our employees are, with the PNC auditorium at full capacity - a standing-room-only atmosphere. We also had more than 4,500 employees from across the country watching through livestream, which included teammates from our four tech and innovation hubs. PNC Developer Day was a prime example of how our engineering culture, cross collaboration philosophy, modern technologies, and rapid innovation are powering the bank’s lines-of-business forward.”

Enabling cross collaboration and “platformification”

Fifteen teams dug into the bank's latest technology topics, giving demonstrations in micro apps, API developer portals, Artificial Intelligence virtual assistants, DevOps, Data as a Platform, and transformation enhancement with the software developer process. The event epitomized the collaboration and knowledge sharing that happens across the tech teams year-round, not just at PNC Developer Day.

“I am a firm believer that if you build technology once, it should be reused in other places,” said Krishnan. “We need to use that technology across all lines of business within PNC. This is where the ‘lazy developer’ concept comes into play. The best developers are lazy developers, but not in the way you might think. Our goal is to enable a developer community that can easily use, reuse, borrow, and adapt existing code. We need our developers to have a 360-degree view for maximum innovation.”

A “lazy developer” is a term often used in the software development field, describing a developer who re-uses and re-leverages code already built instead of re-inventing every time – assembling building blocks together to create reimagined experiences. According to Krishnan, this concept can accelerate “platformification”, a FinTech industry term that describes the engineering and building of new platforms and products.

“’Reinventing the wheel’ when it comes to developing code can slow developers down from creating new and innovative platforms and solutions,” said Krishnan. “Not only that, but there are piles of wheels, multiple sets of instructions on how to make your wheel better, different tutorials on customizing your wheel, and entire sites dedicated to showing you ways to use your wheel that perhaps you hadn’t considered. Truly innovative companies help developers easily use, reuse, borrow, and adapt existing code for their specific purpose.”

The InnerSourcing Concept

Because developing any platform or product in any industry can be complicated, keeping the work simple in other areas can be of great value.

This allows the developer to focus on what makes the software different, industry-leading, or better than its previous version. This approach, called InnerSourcing, refers to making code accessible to anyone within an organization. According to Krishnan, InnerSourcing is synonymous with the cross-collaboration concept his team practices and was the underlying theme of PNC Developer Day.

InnerSourcing is like the open-source software development approach, but code is shared only within a company. That code benefits not only a specific team, but also other departments. It’s the best tool in a developer’s toolbox and the one that’s helped PNC’s technology teams deliver multiple successful banking services for clients across the footprint.

Elevating tech strategy

PNC Developer Day is just one of the steps PNC is taking to continue to elevate its tech strategy, according to Krishnan.

“Customer and employee experiences are what separate you from your competition,” he said. “You build those reimagined experiences by building your own technology internally. You can’t just buy it. PNC Developer Day was one of the best days I have ever experienced here professionally because of what it symbolized for our engineering work and our cross-collaborative culture, and how it positioned us to turbo-charge into the future state.”

PNC’s CEO, Bill Demchak, attended PNC Developer Day, and echoed Krishnan’s sentiments.

“We are a company that builds and delivers its products increasingly through technology," he said. “There is nothing we do that is not dependent on our developers doing a good job — and they do."