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ATB Financial banks on cloud communications platform

For ATB Financial, RingCentral's cloud communications platform offered mobility, integration and legacy support to help modernize its dated telephony infrastructure.

ATB Financial wanted to transform how it provided financial and banking services in an increasingly digital world for its customers across Alberta, Canada. The key to transforming its services was to modernize its technical environments, right down to its telephony infrastructure.

For the financial institution, transforming its communications infrastructure meant moving from on-premises technology to the cloud. ATB Financial believed a cloud-based communications infrastructure could improve the customer experience and support the growing mobility and collaboration needs of its 5,300 employees across more than 300 locations.

ATB Financial, based in Edmonton, Alta., adopted Google's G Suite as its primary productivity platform. The company also needed a cloud communications platform that could integrate with G Suite and provide employees with mobility and flexibility, according to Barry Hensch, head of technology and data enablement transformation at ATB Financial.

"Our legacy platform was restrictive," he said.

The company wanted to migrate to a cloud communications platform to support the needs of customers who increasingly use smartphones for their banking needs, as well as the employees who travel to customers and need access to their business communications outside of the office. ATB Financial ultimately decided to deploy RingCentral Inc.'s communications platform.

Meeting cloud and legacy needs on one platform

ATB Financial had two must-have capabilities in mind when it was evaluating potential cloud communications platforms. First, the platform had to work well with G Suite and allow employees to work with it the same way they worked with the Google software. Second, the platform had to support legacy needs -- namely, fax.

"As a financial institution, we operate in a number of very small communities," Hensch said. "Fax is still a reality."

But it was Google's endorsement of RingCentral that swayed the financial institution.

"That recommendation helped us move forward with investigating RingCentral further," he said. "Once we dug into it and saw the connection points with Chrome extensions, a softphone within Chrome, fax capabilities -- that pretty much sold us."

ATB Financial began rolling out its first set of RingCentral phone lines in October 2017. Hensch said the deployment process has been relatively smooth -- with the exception of porting numbers, which he called a clunky process. ATB Financial is still moving some of its branches to the new RingCentral platform; many branches have their own distinct telephony systems.

But the biggest challenge to deploying a cloud communications platform isn't a technical one; rather, it's a cultural one. It was difficult to get employees used to using softphones and their computers for communication instead of physical desk phones, he said.

Looking to the future, Hensch hopes to tie RingCentral's telephony more closely to the organization's contact center platform.

"We want to take advantage of RingCentral lines that are going into branches," he said. If the contact center suddenly received an influx of calls, those calls could be routed to RingCentral's platform and handled by branch employees to reduce the wait time for customers.

Measuring deployment success

ATB Financial is already seeing improvements after its rollout. While saving money was not a main driver for moving to a new platform, Hensch said the organization is seeing reduced costs with its day-to-day telephony services. Usage tools provided by RingCentral's cloud communications platform also give ATB Financial insight into how its telephony infrastructure is being used across the company.

The virtual fax service provided by RingCentral has also been popular with employees. Hensch said employee complaints were frequent when fax was still on premises. Now, the number of complaints has been reduced to nearly zero. The number of phone issues has also decreased.

"We gained a lot of credibility in having a more stable service," he said. "My typical measure of success is the less noise I'm getting, the better we are."

This was last published in March 2019

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