Financial Services & Insurance
Innovation Manager Digital Workspace at NIBC
NIBC is the enterprising retail and commercial bank for entrepreneurs. The bank prides itself on its forward-thinking, can-do attitude and ‘yes’ mentality that allows it to be agile and flexible. The bank thinks and acts like an entrepreneur to support corporate clients in building their businesses.
NIBC caters to enterprising, independent-minded retail customers for whom NIBC Consumer Bank offers straightforward, transparent products, including residential mortgages and online savings deposits via NIBC Direct in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. NIBC Commercial Bank offers a host of services to corporates, management teams, private equity firms and institutional investors, including debt and capitalization advisory, M&A, financing, and equity/co-investment.
NIBC’s expertise spans debt and equity mezzanine, mergers & acquisitions, capitalization advisory, leveraged finance and structured finance. NIBC has offices in The Hague, Brussels, Frankfurt and London.
NIBC has a culture in which people work together, share knowledge and support each other. The NIBC business model is dependent on cooperation across all departments and geographies, giving the bank a uniquely close form of teamwork benefiting from the employees’ diverse perspectives.
Approximately 50% of the bank’s employees are mobile workers, including the following:
With its entrepreneurial mindset, NIBC was eager to provide its workforce with the tools needed to complete tasks and to foster collaboration from any device. NIBC did not believe that mobile was a separate strategy, but rather it was a component of the future digital workplace, where people can work anytime, anywhere, using the most appropriate device and service to complete their work tasks.
But as a financial institution, NIBC had to consider its particularly rigorous information security requirements. These requirements are mandated by government regulators to ensure that within the enterprise, information is protected against disclosure to unauthorized users (Confidentiality), improper modification (Integrity), and is accessible when required (Availability). These three ‘CIA’ requirements had to be maintained regardless whether information is accessed from within the bank, at home on laptops, or on the go using iPads.
Furthermore, it was important for regulatory purposes that unstructured documents like documents could be made into structured data (i.e. records) so that they could be easily located and retrieved when necessary. As such, easily classifying documents using metadata was a key business requirement, whether documents were stored, accessed or shared from the desktop or from mobile devices.
When the iPad was released in 2010, NIBC immediately identified its potential for serving customers. An innovation team was created and select employees were given iPads to experiment. However, with a lack of mobile security and management tools in the marketplace, it was deemed too early to roll out the iPad for business.
Subsequently, with the availability of enterprise-grade security tools like MDM for the iPad and smartphones, NIBC decided to revisit plans for the digital workplace in 2013. A digital workplace initiative was launched, through which employees could be productive anytime, anywhere.
A challenge faced by NIBC was how to make the innovative mobile workplace initiative conform to strict regulatory conditions, while being user-friendly. Falling short on either front would doom the project from the outset.
To drive the initiative, the Project Group identified the following key business scenarios for the bank:
By enabling these business use cases, workers could provide superior service to customers with less effort, thereby increasing the bank’s competitive market position, while at the same time, fulfilling the regulatory compliance dictated by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB).
“Mobile is not a separate strategy. It’s just a part of the new digital workplace. harmon.ie provides the consistent user experience across the desktop and mobile devices needed to help us realize the digital workplace."
- Wybe Koolstra – Innovation Manager Digital Workspace at NIBC Bank
Microsoft SharePoint was identified early in the process as a key technology for the initiative. SharePoint would replace network shared drives as the solution for centralized document storage, plus it would provide the following key capabilities needed to realize the business goals:
But the underlying technology infrastructure would not be enough to ensure the success of the project. The Project Group realized that they needed to make it easy for NIBC employees to take advantage of what SharePoint had to offer, if they were to realize the business goals of the initiative. As such, they initiated an intensive and comprehensive search for ‘user experience’ tools. After an initial evaluation of possible solutions, harmon.ie and one other product were ‘short-listed’ for internal testing.
A committee of users was appointed and a detailed product evaluation commenced, one that incorporated document sharing and collaboration from both the desktop and mobile devices.
When the dust settled, harmon.ie was selected as the product of choice. Key considerations for selecting harmon.ie included the following:
“User experiences need to be consistent wherever you work. Every time you open a document, you want to see the information you need, so it has to be the same on the desktop and the mobile device. It’s just the right way to work."
Realizing that user adoption is the linchpin of project success, NIBC invested a tremendous amount of forethought into rolling out its workplace initiative.
The Innovation Group set up an ‘Experience Center’ where workers could come to try new technologies. Encouraged to do so via periodic notifications, many workers took advantage of two-hour ‘get acquainted’ sessions to try SharePoint 2013 and harmon.ie and practice how to use it to access SharePoint documents and collaborate with colleagues. Then, before harmon.ie was rolled out, a one-hour refresher course was provided to all workers. On ‘go-live’ day, workers were ready to go.
But the Project Group didn’t take any chances. Before the launch, select workers from each department were selected and trained as experts with whom co-workers could consult to answer questions about SharePoint and harmon.ie. These power users were familiar with their department’s business processes; as such they were uniquely qualified to instruct colleagues how to use harmon.ie and SharePoint to get business done. These workers were given t-shirts and hats to identify them as experts and were encouraged to ‘walk the floors’ to help their colleagues.
In order to become a success and to fulfill regulatory requirements, NIBC realized they need to get a high rate of adoption early on. To ensure this occurred, NIBC emphasized to workers the business values associated with the initiative. Plus, they notified workers that the network file shares were going to be shut down as part of the rollout. Workers were able to access documents on network shared drives for a limited period in ‘read-only’ mode, after which documents were archived. Subsequent access to SharePoint documents was to be done via harmon.ie.
To streamline the rollout process, the Project Group began the deployment with select ‘code red’ users, most notably parts of consumer Bank, Private Equity and Human Resource employees – those personnel who have access to the bank’s most sensitive information; information that has to be reported to the Dutch Central Bank. Using ‘lessons learned,’ the roll out was extended to ‘orange’ users and then to the ‘green’ users, i.e. IT personnel.
NIBC made four important rollout decisions that contributed to the project’s success.