Shipping experiences the lean startup way.

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We’re always looking for efficiency and process improvements, I mean, who isn’t? One thing that we have embraced well here at ATB is the lean startup method as one of the many tools that can be borrowed from the startup world to bring efficiency to how we roll out new solutions and experiences, big and small. After all, it’s not about the size of the solution, but the overall impact to the experience. Client care is one of the prime areas where the tenets of lean startup (like building minimum viable products, measuring impact, and validating learnings), are not only feasible, but crucial to providing the innovation that consumers have come to expect.

Typically in banking, you might assume that product and program launches have gone through 23 layers of administration, have only been tested internally, and take years to roll out and implement, sometimes rendering the final solution irrelevant in market. At ATB, our innovation team is constantly taking client problems and iterating quickly to find solutions and learn from “the end user”.

Our Referral Program with Alberta Registries is a perfect example of agile learning and delivering a product to customers as quickly as possible. As the bank for Alberta entrepreneurs, we are constantly looking for ways to add value, and save time. Here is how we took lessons from lean startup to quickly get a product to market to satisfy a real customer need.

It all started with a problem: how can we make it easier and quicker for new entrepreneurs to set up business banking? We started hacking for a solution by talking to entrepreneurs, and walking through their journey: who do they interact with, what are key milestones, and what other organizations are they connecting with? It’s pretty obvious that any entrepreneur, at an early stage in their journey, will connect with an Alberta Registry Agent for their business license. It’s at this step in their path that they take the time to begin to bring their dream to life. Once we forged partnerships with Alberta Registry Agents, within two weeks we had rolled out a prototype experience to tie together the business registration process with an easy referral for business banking, without any additional time required to find a banking partner.

We didn’t waste time building a perfect solution, instead we got a minimum viable product out into the world to quickly iterate and create a feedback loop to develop a solution that would meet customer needs. Today, all it takes is a few extra questions with the registry agent, a simple form that that the registry office sends over to ATB’s Business Centre, and our specialists can start getting account details set up without a customer ever setting foot in a branch.

This is the type of innovation that we are crazy about here at ATB. Obviously we are working on the tech heavy stuff as well, like AI, bots, banking through Facebook messenger, blockchain, and biometrics. But there are also vast opportunities for low risk, high impact innovations in our day to day processes that create positive change for our customers. That’s why we put such a heavy focus on cross-team collaboration and innovation at ATB. We want to quickly identify problems and test out minimum viable solutions. It is that culture of innovation, and the willingness to embrace lean startup that will help us lead the way in business banking and be at the forefront of innovation in the financial sector.