ATB Financial, IBM partnership focuses on digital transformation in banking

Alberta-based ATB Financial is deepening its relationship with IBM Corp., with the creation of a Digital Innovation Lab and mobile/web-based platform as it continues to digitally transform its business offerings and provide customers with more technology-based products.

The new lab and platform were announced at the IBM Innovation Forum held in Toronto on Thursday. ATB is using IBM Cloud and Services to establish the Digital Innovation Lab, which is already up and running and home to the financial institution’s design and digital experts as well as a team from IBM iX that helps with business design strategy. The goal of the lab is to “create innovative digital banking experiences for [ATB’s] customers,” stated the press release.

“We are determined to transform banking and to create customer obsessed digital solutions,” said Wellington Holbrook, chief technology officer of ATB Financial in the release, “We are reimagining how we can create value for our customers using new ideas, innovation and digital capabilities.” He noted that collaborating with IBM to build the lab has helped accelerate the development of ATB’s digital capabilities.

The ATB and IBM teams in the lab are creating a digital platform that will help develop those customer ‘experiences’, and the first prototype to come out of the platform is Onboarding Express, which uses the digital platform to help to speed up the process of opening an account by eliminating the need to fill out information on numerous platforms.

It was first launched at a single branch in Calgary earlier this year and has since been introduced to 175 ATB branches across Alberta and has apparently been used to open over 200 new retail bank accounts. ATB has also used the platform to create an investment app for iOS and Android.

ATB Prosper app for investment planning. Source: ATB Financial

The digital platform is supported by IBM Cloud technology architecture, according to the release which states, “the solution, which is based on open source technologies, allows lightweight packaging of applications that are deployed using Kubernetes [an open source container system], which automates scaling according to ATB’s future business needs.”

As has previously reported, ATB has been focused on staying ahead of the technology trends that are changing the world of banking. In 2017 it moved its content management system to the cloud and has created a team known as ATB AlphaBeta that is the “transformation” arm of the financial institution that according to its website is focused on innovation and makes up the disruptive edge of ATB. Also earlier this year announced a partnership with the University of Alberta, creating an artificial intelligence lab.

And now the financial institution seems focused on bringing that digital transformation to its customers. In a statement about its Onboarding Express tool it said, “Accepting status quo in customer experience at traditional financial institutions is no longer acceptable. There was a time when the only option for customers was which bank to go with. In the age of fintech startups, cryptocurrencies, challenger banks, and virtual finance, the experience of banking is no longer siloed in the eyes of consumers.”

“Today’s consumers are increasingly expecting a more personalized and engaging customer experience,” Frank Attaie, vice-president of cloud at IBM Canada said in the release, “the IBM Cloud provides ATB with the platform to build customer-centric interactions and digital solutions that are foundational to business success.”

According to the release the digital platform is making new releases of the banks products more functional for customers. It also states that ATB has “adopted an asset-based development model where technology frameworks and accelerators are reusable,” which can lead to further innovation and enables ATB to quickly and easily “onboard initiatives” to the digital platform.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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