Transforming how we work: our journey to the cloud

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We’ve been sharing the story of our G Suite adoption far and wide. And one of the questions we get often is ‘wasn’t it disruptive?’ - the answer is yes, and that’s what we were going for.

As technology makes leaps forward, the next generation of consumers and workers will be almost immune to OS updates and new product launches. Similarly, organizations large and small don’t need to adopt latest and greatest technology, they need to learn to continually embrace change and disrupt themselves.

In our transition to G Suite, we did not take the perspective of technology change or upgrade, but rather looked at it as an opportunity to look at how and why we do things, and really reimagine how we work.

It was more than simply moving files to the cloud or copying formulas from an old spreadsheet to a Google Sheet, we approached the transition to G Suite as an opportunity to question everything about how we work. Asking ‘does this provide value to customers? And ‘how might we do this better?’

The benefits of our transformation are much more than simply new tools, it is about a new mindset. For example, in our old mindset, team members would work on a document until completion before sending for comments, receiving feedback, and then compiling. In our new mindset, we have adopted a  ‘co-authoring’ approach where docs are shared from the outset, often before they are ‘ready.’ This results in deeper and faster collaboration, but it is also an example of our changed perspective on genuine collaboration and vulnerability as individuals and as an organization.

Our journey to the cloud has been exciting and rewarding, so we want to share some of the highlights that enabled us to transform the way we work on our mission to empower team members to reimagine banking.

Let the story guide you

The ATB story is a guiding narrative for everything we do. Ultimately we want to create customer happiness. On our path to get there, we have the specific intention to make time richer. A goal that permeates every level of the organization.

So when our G Suite transition team was evaluating how much email history to migrate to the cloud, the ultimate answer came down to valuing the time of our team members. Rather than encouraging staff to do a ‘spring cleaning’ of their email, or asking them to manage with only 30 or 45 days of their email history during the transition, we made the choice to migrate our entire email history. When it came down to ‘making their time richer,’ the decision was a no-brainer.

Forget ‘launch day’

Organizational change often comes with a scheduled ‘launch day’ and a project plan that works backwards from that, with milestones and communication to staff members to keep them informed and to prime them for the big day.

We did away with that entirely and essentially rolled out the G Suite to waves of early adopters. In the end, we had nearly 15% of the company as early adopters and teams were begging to have the full roll out so that the tools were available to all members. When ‘launch day’ finally came, it was pretty much a non-event.

The psychological safety that came from having ‘optional’ adoption, experts and gurus, and building excitement meant that they didn’t feel like it was a change being inflicted on them when the time came. There was also no expectation that team members would become experts day one. Rather, as the organization moved through the transition, team members would grow to adopt and master the tools available.

Self-select the leaders

In many organization, leadership would select team members to be seconded to special transformational projects. The G Suite launch team said no-way to that and instead we opted for self-selection, letting team members from across the organization apply.

The result was having a 50 person team known as the G Evangelists that were interested, passionate, and all-in to lead the charge. It also resulted in enormous diversity, pulling in everyone from branch team members from rural locations to managing directors from head office.

It was extremely valuable to bring in the different perspectives of all teams who would be affected by the change and it was especially important that team members ‘checked their titles at the door’ meaning that all team members were heard and valued for their diverse perspectives.

The self-selection process also was a great professional development opportunity for team members who might not otherwise have been exposed to the challenge. More than half of the G Suite adoption team ended up in different parts of the organization after being exposed to the change and showing their great skills and leadership.

Get executive on board

It may seem to make sense to leave the transition of the executive team to the end, making sure that all the kinks are worked out and that all of their staff are already on the new system. We took a bit of a different approach, giving ‘white-glove’ service to our executives and their teams.

This was a real explosion point for our adoption, executives begging for more team members to be added to the adoption team, as they started seeing immense value in the tools. G+ communities, live video broadcasts, and competitions gave our staff access to executive team members like they had never had before.

Let team members guide themselves

How do you politely tell someone to ‘Google it themselves?’

Instead of multi-hour training session and a dedicated help-desk, we wanted to enable peer-to-peer learning and let the organization support itself. We used G Suite tools and ingenuity to connect team members to support each other. For example, we had G Guides who acted as roaming support. For team members who might need help and for team members who couldn't find a G Guide, we had physical signs at the desks of G Whizzes - indicating team members near you in the office who might have answers to your questions.

We also saw enormous uptake of G+ communities - threads like “Hey, did you know” where people shared exciting features or capabilities that they discovered. And “How do I…” chats where team members can troubleshoot for each other, share expertise, and alleviate the need for dedicated experts and support teams. A storyteller collective also allowed team members to share stories of success and transformation to continue to excite and inspire others.

Instead of spending time doing in-person training sessions, we ran labs, inspired by the Google Garage, where, instead of technical lessons, we helped teams completely reimagine how they do their work.

We’re fully on G Suite collaborating like rock-stars but, even more importantly, we’re more ready than ever as individuals and an organization to adapt to changes that we know are coming our way. Ready to react, and not afraid to disrupt ourselves. Come along with us as we explore the future of banking and create happiness for Albertans. Subscribe below or join the team at careers.atbalphabeta.com.

BusinessSarah Matysio