Baking a Layer Cake: Deliciously Automated Records Management

Every day, a massive pile of records are generated at ATB.

When a customer calls us, a recording of that call is filed away as unstructured data, any actual transactions that occur on that call in relation to their accounts or products are logged, updates are made to their file on our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.

Mailed out loan statements, in-branch credit applications, debit and credit histories, even the moment that a customer uses their PIN at an ATM. The story of the relationships between ATB and Albertans is a mountain of records (data) generated from every interaction we have together. And that story needs to be easy to find, follow, and understand (for ATB’ers and for our customers).

But with millions of records involving both structured and unstructured data, figuring out how to streamline records organization and management was a head-scratching task. And, a critically important one. 

Afterall, as a customer-obsessed bank undergoing a massive digital transformation, it was critical that we develop a methodology of eliminating paper and redundancy, automating rules and workflow, integrating systems more efficiently, and allowing customer-facing ATB team members to focus on customers first. 

Historically, records management at ATB was paper-heavy and complex. Various business units filed records in different ways, tools and platforms were built in silos and wouldn’t integrate, which meant team members needed to be banking bureaucrats instead of banking heroes.

Finding a Recipe for Success.
The challenge we gave ourselves? Bake a layer cake. And like a layer cake, every layer of data needs to integrate with, and support, the others. No more disparate silos of records following different recipes. Our data layer cake needed to:

  • Be simple to use
  • Be powered by automation to uphold data governance and compliance standards
  • Make records easier to find and more accessible
  • Develop connections between data and record sets across multiple tools
  • Reduce human time and effort (ie: customers should never have to come into a branch to authorize a record, such as signing a paper contract)

Our records data is categorized into two buckets:

  1. Structured data: stored in databases, the data is neatly organized and categorized, follows rules and can be governed and mined by algorithms. 
  2. Unstructured data: content and context heavy, these are records of calls, emails, account statements and otherwise. In fact, some unstructured records are the result of structured data being reproduced in unstructured formats to allow for us humans to better digest the information.

To create a solution, ATB implemented two repositories for structured content: Google Drive and Box. 

Box is where we’re moving all customer records. It’s secure and is designed to allow us to develop APIs and connect customer data in Box to structured data repositories such as our CRM system in SAP. 

Instead of relying on team members to create customer files and add them to file structures in the ‘right’ way, we’re automating the process, streamlining rules and parameters to establish a common methodology.

Here’s how it works:

  • A customer (person, organization, or business) has a unique identifier.
  • This identifier is used by our CRM to automatically create folders in Box specifically for that customer. 
  • These folders link back to CRM.  
  • Team members can access customer files right from CRM.
  • Folders for each product are automatically created and new files and records (mortgage applications, loan documents, chequing accounts, etc.) can be automatically stored in them using integrations with other tools like DocuSign. 

The result? Team members no longer need to spend time and effort filing, locating, and sorting customer content. Instead, they’re free to do what matters most -- build relationships and deliver phenomenal customer experiences. 

By using APIs and other integration technologies to turn formerly siloed systems into one unified information environment, ATB is improving both the customer and team member experience. If the systems ATB uses are layers of a cake, and APIs the icing, we’re baking a gourmet cake that makes everyone’s life better.

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