Customer Story

ATB Financial

“Google is revolutionizing collaboration and individual productivity through AI, making it easier for our team members to streamline their workflows using features such as the Explore button in Docs. Employees can focus more on creating value for our customers and less on mundane tasks.”

Barry Hensch, Vice President, Technology Enablement, ATB Financial
“The power of G Suite drives innovation for our entire company,” adds Barry. “For example, we’re using Google Hangouts Chat to transform how employees interact with IT so they get faster responses, maximizing productivity on both sides. Everything is so simple now—we realized we were overthinking a lot before.

ATB Financial (ATB) is a crown corporation of the province of Alberta that operates in a highly competitive financial services space, with competitors ranging from big banks to financial technology startups, ready to grab a slice of the provincial market share. To retain their competitive advantage in an industry primed for disruption, ATB took an active role in its evolution by intentionally transforming the way banking products and services could be delivered. Through this bold transformation, paired with customer-obsession, ATB is primed to make good on its commitment to deliver happiness to Albertans by being more than a bank.

“Our vision is to transform banking and lead the industry in innovation in order to make banking work better for people,” says Wellington Holbrook, Chief Transformation Officer at ATB Financial. “In order for us to achieve this type of exponential change, how we collaborate as a team of 5,300 people is key.”

To address its goals, ATB launched a new initiative called “Work Reimagined” powered by G Suite, with the goal of helping employees save time, make decisions faster, and spend more time with customers to drive happiness. However, to succeed, it needed to equip its distributed, mobile workforce with modern productivity tools that that would simplify employee communication and collaboration.

Remote employees often experienced connectivity and performance challenges with the corporate VPN, limiting their productivity. At the same time, legacy office tools did not foster innovation and often slowed business processes, delaying ATB’s ability to deliver new services and respond to customer needs.

ATB evaluated two popular cloud productivity toolsets and chose G Suite because it was a superior platform for innovation and offered better artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Team members can get the data insights they need with the least amount of manual effort while maintaining the highest levels of security to ensure ATB meets its regulatory and privacy obligations.

“We wanted productivity tools that would allow us to make time richer for team members in support of our customers and achieve 10x improvements rather than small gains,” says Barry Hensch, Vice President, Technology Enablement at ATB Financial. “We chose G Suite because it enables employees to think and work differently, instead of doing things the way they’ve always done.”

“It’s not just about the tools—it’s about getting people excited about what they can do,” says Calvin Seaman, Director of Communications for ATB’s Reputation & Brand Team. “We took a unique approach to change management, and it paid off because employees were excited about adopting G Suite and viewed the transition positively. We didn’t force it on them.”

A pioneer in the financial services industry; with G Suite tools such as Gmail, Google Drive, Sheets, Docs, and Calendar, ATB is breaking out of the traditional, legacy-driven model still in place at many financial institutions. Instead of being held back by a locked-down, inflexible working environment, employees can use cloud-based tools to freely contribute to ATB’s journey of reimagining banking and bringing happiness to Albertans. Team members feel more connected because work is now something they do when and where they need to.

“Google is revolutionizing collaboration and individual productivity through AI, making it easier for our team members to streamline their workflows using features such as the Explore button in Google Docs,” says Barry. “Employees can focus more on creating value for our customers and less on mundane tasks.”

Pioneering is not new at ATB. It became one of the first financial institutions to send a real-time international payment using blockchain technology, and was the first full-service financial institution in North America to successfully facilitate payments using chatbot technology on Facebook Messenger. In the near future, it will use Google Jamboard in its meeting rooms to help with brainstorming and new product development.

“Using G Suite, we reimagined the way we work and what we can do for our customers,” says Barry. “We can easily create Google+ communities and communicate much more easily, sharing new ideas and best practices in an open, more secure environment.”

Faster business processes and enhanced security; business processes are also optimized with G Suite. For example, ATB’s banking operations team struggled with workflows and lost files in public folders—a challenge that many businesses face with legacy office applications. With shared accounts on Gmail, the team was able to redesign their workflow in a single day, with confidence that needed data is available in a more secure and compliant environment.

“As a financial institution, we have a lot of security requirements, and G Suite helps us because Google spends more money on security than we ever could,” adds Barry. “With Google’s expertise, we’ve created a more secure environment for productivity and collaboration.”

Strategic planning, consolidation, and reporting are now approximately twice as fast using G Suite for collaboration. ATB’s quarterly board reporting time is reduced by nearly 60%, and its People & Culture team now uses Google Sheets to reduce the consolidation time associated with its semiannual talent review process by 50%. “We are now able to co-author content and update it in real-time, helping ensure consistency and eliminating the frustration of trying to determine what the current version is or who added content,” says Barry.

Adds Wellington Holbrook: “With Google and G Suite, we found a like-minded partner and solution that will help us push boundaries to reimagine how we work and ultimately increase momentum along our transformational journey.”

Encouraging innovation with anytime, anywhere access; instead of simply striving for work/life balance, employees can now integrate work directly into their lives in ways that are meaningful, convenient, and effective. With G Suite, deskless workers can connect remotely at any time with no need for a VPN. They can use their own personal devices instead of ATB-owned cell phones to save time and work more efficiently and easily from anywhere. IT no longer needs to spend time updating and patching office software on users’ machines—the only thing they need to worry about is updating the Chrome browser. As a result, ATB is reclaiming 1.5 full-time IT employee time that is now being redirected into developing new computing experiences.

When ATB does provide employees with company-owned devices, it issues Android-based smartphones or Google Chromebooks, giving team members a consistently high-quality experience. The bank also uses Google Chromebox with Google Hangouts for anytime, anywhere meetings, eliminating the need for team members to spend the first 10 minutes of each meeting getting the technology to work. Now, meetings are connected in one click, and the team can get to work faster.

Transforming work, leading by example; working closely with Onix, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, ATB was able to easily migrate its entire history—35 terabytes of data, including 340 million email messages, calendar items, and contacts—to G Suite. Using the CloudMigrator G Suite Migration Tool, the migration was seamless, with no disruption of work.

To drive the transformation, ATB created a “G Team” to lead the project. Business leaders led by example with engagement from the top: the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Transformation Officer, and Chief Evangelist quickly adopted G Suite tools.

To help with change management, ATB offered a variety of training and learning pathways and established six defined personas to assist during the transition. “Visionaries” helped create and execute ATB’s strategic vision for G Suite and guide the bank’s cultural shift toward cloud-based collaboration. “Connectors” helped employees synchronize their workflows between devices and connectivity scenarios. “Experts” provided deep domain knowledge and expertise to encourage best practices. “Supporters” offered enthusiasm and a willingness to help their fellow employees succeed. “Collaborators” worked in team settings to solve problems, while “Customer Champions” worked directly with customers to drive positive outcomes. As part of the rollout, ATB established four groups of early adopters:

- Blue Glove Service Members: 100 employees offered hands-on service, especially for senior business leaders who were skeptical.

- G Evangelists: ATB chose 50 employees out of 300 self-selected applicants to help with messaging and explain to other employees how G Suite could help them be more productive.

- G Whizzes: 200 employees who had previously used G Suite in personal or work environments provided support for team members in their day-to-day jobs.

- G Guides: 200 team members received specific training to help with the G Suite tools, and were mobile and visible to other employees to answer questions.

ATB approached the transition in three phases. The first phase, called Ignite and Listen, focused on generating interest in G Suite while listening to any concerns from team members about the migration. The second phase, Excite and Discover, introduced training with G Whizzes and G Guides as part of an education resource ATB called G Academy. It also included a fun, game-oriented approach to learning G Suite called “Googler’s Travels”—a play on Gulliver’s Travels—to help engage users. The final post-rollout phase, Adopt and Master, encouraged users to continually explore and learn new skills after the go-live date, assuring them that they weren’t expected to be experts on day one.