Goldman Sachs Embeds Software Developers Deeper Into the Business

Goldman Sachs

Group Inc. wants to bring more software developers and engineers out of back rooms and deeper into the business as the bank embarks on a sweeping reorganization to place greater weight on its client services offerings.

The bank is trying to improve the developer experience for both internal and external workers, and is rewriting processes so that developers are more engaged with business goals from the beginning of projects, according to

Marco Argenti,

Goldman’s chief information officer.

Historically, developers were asking “how” questions, Mr. Argenti said Wednesday during an online Wall Street Journal CIO Network members event.

“Now, we want them to answer the ‘why’ questions” that get to the business purpose behind their work, he said. “That is a big change.”

Mr. Argenti became Goldman’s sole chief information officer earlier this month in a move that also saw the creation of an Office of Applied Innovation run by former co-CIO

George Lee


Jared Cohen,

the former CEO of tech incubator Jigsaw, a unit of

Alphabet Inc.’s


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

In the restructuring, announced Tuesday, Goldman plans to fold its investment-banking and trading businesses into one 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 that will include financial-technology platforms and specialty lender GreenSky. The solutions unit also will include pieces of the consumer business, such as the card partnerships with

Apple Inc.


General Motors Co.

, as well as the transaction-banking business.

Goldman in recent years has begun to focus more on steady, income-generating client services to complement its blockbuster trading and investment-banking operations. As customer experience becomes a greater area of interest for the bank, so does developer experience, said Mr. Argenti, who also serves on the bank’s management committee.

The information chief said he is looking to weave in his experience working at

Nokia Corp.

, where between 2011 and 2013 he served as senior vice president of developer experience. Developers have only gained more power in business since then, Mr. Argenti said.

Technology and software development support Goldman’s restructuring in a number of ways, by creating unified and scalable platforms for serving customers, according to Mr. Argenti. “It’s kind of an evolution…to really manage the customer as one, no matter how many touch points they have within

Goldman Sachs,

” Mr. Argenti said.

“We are trying 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 also tries to empower its own technology teams by changing up the process of product development. Rather than be told to code a product by teams further up the chain, developers and engineers write together with business development teams what the company calls a working-back memo, in reference to a product development philosophy used by Mr. Argenti’s former employer, Inc.

The teams essentially work together on a mock press release announcing a new product or service, Mr Argenti said. This is bounced around various company units for revision before the teams work backward to build the product.

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

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

Write to Katie Deighton at [email protected]

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