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By Microsoft Customer Stories on February 15, 2017

Filed under Financial Services - Banking & Capital Markets

Whether meeting with a retail banking agent, the wealth management team, or an investment specialist, customers expect staff at local financial institutions to be able to access their relevant account information quickly. It sounds simple enough, but with aging technology, siloed departments, and hundreds of thousands of accounts to manage, large financial institutions commonly fail to meet customer expectations because they lack adequate visibility.

A cooperative that invests in its members

Vancity, a member-owned financial cooperative, is making sure that disconnected member data is a problem of the past. With 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish, and Alert Bay, Canada, Vancity is focused on improving the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities. It also happens to be Canada’s largest community credit union, with CAD$19.8 billion in assets, 2,500 employees, and more than 519,000 members.

To deliver better services to members, Vancity has been preparing for a core-banking conversion for the last three years to update the software that supports all transactions associated with membership. As part of that process, called the Banking Application Renewal (BAR) Program, it wanted a consolidated customer relationship management (CRM) solution and to have a single integration point for the members into the new Temenos core banking platform. Vancity was using seven different CRM systems, including Siebel and other in-house applications, so simplifying its IT landscape was high on the list of priorities. In early 2015, Vancity began examining which CRM solution could meet its needs to support four business areas: community business banking, sustainable wealth management, retail banking, and call center support.

Seamless upgrade and adoption process for staff

Vancity wanted to solidify its technology strategy with the goal of connecting people to people and people to systems in a unified way. It also sought to simplify its architectural landscape to reduce integration efforts, complexity, and operational costs in preparation for the Temenos core banking platform that it planned to deploy later in the year. During Vancity’s research into various CRM solutions, it requested feedback from the Community Business Banking and Sustainable Wealth Management teams, both of which were using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The two teams recommended the solution, and Dynamics CRM aligned with IT’s standards and the cooperative’s current technology landscape. Vancity decided to migrate all customer data from the previous CRM systems to a consolidated system based on Dynamics CRM.

“Given our deep relationship with Microsoft technologies and the history of running Dynamics CRM, we selected this solution as a key component for this project and our future cloud strategy. The rollout of the consolidated CRM was seamless, and has enabled us to simplify the connection of user communities and workflow processes,” says Bruce Hogg, Chief Technology Officer at Vancity.

The IT team deployed the new CRM system in less than six months, and when Vancity was ready to do the final move, six staff migrated 600,000 contact and company records and 340,000 legacy system notes during a single weekend. It was a fast launch, and Vancity went live with Dynamics CRM in January 2016. The cooperative set up a support center that employees could contact by phone, email, and instant messages. It also used a dedicated page within Dynamics CRM to provide updates on known issues, which helped to decrease the number of calls that came in. “We established a change management process and staffed it well. Everything went so smoothly and we received so few support calls that we shut down the call system after just a few weeks,” says David Hunter, CRM Solutions Manager at Vancity.

Employees echoed the IT team’s sentiment that the rollout was smooth—some 1,800 member-facing employees started working in the new system right away, and now Vancity has 2,200 employees using Dynamics CRM. “We’ve had really good feedback from our staff that Dynamics CRM is very intuitive and straightforward to use, even without extensive training,” says Hunter.

Consolidated data leads to better member service

Previously, to help members, employees had to jump back and forth between CRM applications in multiple systems just to retrieve a contact record, identify customers, make notes, track account activities, or log interaction details. Now they’re locating data and completing tasks in real time in a single system, which saves time for employees and helps them serve members more quickly. Employees are also using Dynamics CRM to support retention of existing members, track and record information to better understand member needs, and to help deepen member relationships with Vancity.

This is especially helpful for the call center staff who handle the cooperative’s 4,000 calls each day. The staff uses Dynamics CRM to retrieve the member contact record, make any notes, and then forward opportunities or activities to the retail sections or specialist areas. “Now that everybody has the same view of each member, they’re able to utilize the exact same platform and share the interactions with others far more efficiently,” says Hunter.

Dynamics CRM acts as a hub for member interactions, so if one employee is out of the office, another can step in to help the member. Reena Maher, an Account Manager at Vancity, mentions helping a member with a loan application before her vacation. She handed the application off to her coworker Kim, as the loan was going to complete while Reena was away. When she returned and asked how the loan funding went for the member, Kim replied that everything went great, as she was able to access all important details of the loan and previous conversations through Dynamics CRM. “A few days later, I received an email from our member expressing her deepest appreciation for making her loan process so smooth and effortless, especially in the time of need for her family,” says Maher. “Experiences like these allow us to connect with our members in a much more impactful way, and our new CRM system helps us deliver that differentiated member experience like we have never done before.”

Groundwork for continued growth

Because Vancity decided to implement its new consolidated CRM system ahead of the Temenos core banking platform, it can use Dynamics CRM to test ideas and approaches in terms of training, set up, and to give employees an opportunity to learn and apply findings to the future banking system. Dynamics CRM will also provide a platform to capture member experiences and issues once the new core banking system goes live.

When the move to Temenos is complete, Vancity intends to build on its new CRM capabilities and engage deeply with its members within the branch and out in the community. “We first focused on simplifying the IT landscape as much as possible. The great thing about Microsoft solutions is that they’re flexible enough to allow us to grow,” says Hunter. “We will continue to make decisions that will help create a member-centric banking system for our community.” For future plans, Vancity is keeping an eye on the new Microsoft datacenter in Canada, which opened in May 2015. “Our plan is to move to the cloud and deliver an even higher degree of flexibility to everyone on the Vancity team and to delight our members,” says Hunter. “The new Microsoft datacenters in Canada are a key piece of the puzzle, and Vancity is looking to take advantage of these new capabilities.”

Read more on the Microsoft Banking & Capital Markets and Insurance blogs.

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