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was a global wonder,’ said Stange. • Frustrations and dealing with customer issues

Yet, like all the other phases throughout this project, the go-live ‘wasn’t without its frustrations’, Stange said.

‘We had some problems with payments moving through the system that impacted our customers in a negative way in the first couple of weeks after go-live.’

ATB switched from a singular online platform that was shared between business and personal customers to a dual platform – an online retail banking platform and a business platform.

Stange said: ‘Before the launch, there were several get- ready activities that our customers needed to set up (like a sign-in), but some customers were unable to complete these activities on time.

‘And in some cases, our business users scrambled to set up their online banking platform after it went live and that combined with some system challenges.

‘Some customers did get their get-ready activities done in time and still ended up missing payroll deadlines because of the system challenges.’

To overcome this challenge, ATB expanded the hours of its call centre and had one-to-one calls with its customers to solve any issues and to get them setup online.

Even ATB’s CEO Dave Mowat took direct calls and emails from customers.

‘Overall, we had a very well-oiled machine when it came to potential disasters,’ said Stange.

‘We didn’t actually have a disaster, but, potentially we could have suffered “death by a thousand cuts”. Small irritants kept cropping up along the way and we had to deal with them efficiently.

‘It’s a real tribute to our employees that we were able to stay calm in the face of frustrated customers and solve their problems as quickly as we could.’

Results and benefits

Looking back on the project, said Stange, it is clear that ‘we would have made changes to how we educated our customers, how we trained our employees and the amount of testing we did, but you have to be real with yourself. We are successful, we are live, our balance sheet has grown, our profitability is higher than budget, our employees seem stabilised, and our customer experience is climbing higher than pre-go-live’.

Although ATB went live 18 months later than originally planned and the overall investment, now confirmed by ATB, cost $340 million, the organisation is beginning to see the benefits of the new system.

SAP for Banking covers end-to-end operations at the bank and has enabled it to develop and enhance new channels.

Other benefits will include flexibility, speed, the length of time to manufacture a product is reduced, and the system ‘allows us to have analytics and information at our fingertips’, said Stange.

‘Our plans now are to fix some remaining irritants for our employees and customers, get our software current, to work with SAP to develop a standard for the North American banking market, and to get the value out of the core we have purchased.’

Lessons learned

Stange’s essential lessons from the ATB Financial IT transformation:

• Don’t ignore the obvious. This is about the business; it is not a technical project, so early on get senior executive commitment and involvement into the project. You need your business leaders to put things on hold at times and to commit good resources to the project for a long period of time.

• Make sure you blueprint the requirements in a very clear manner.

If you are going to introduce multiple modules at the same time, don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort it will take.

12 Core Banking Systems Case Studies: North America

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