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The retail banking sector is being disrupted and in 2017, appears to be running in two modes: traditional banks such as Lloyds, Barclays and RBS that have been in business for hundreds of years now co-exist alongside challengers such as Clear Bank, Atom Bank and the British Business Bank.

New banks are leaning away from branch-based banking toward mobile first – or in the case of Atom Bank – mobile only, offerings. This has allowed them to keep running costs down, the cost savings of which are passed on to customers.
Traditional banks are under pressure to compete with this and become more digital, which presents challenges on several fronts:

  • Defining a clear sense of purpose and vision that includes existing branch-based employees and those providing a digital experience to customers.
  • Responding to customer feedback quickly, alongside delivering process improvements. An established bank may have thousands of employees feeding into a single banking product or process.
  • Attracting and retaining talent against the tide of newer employer alternatives threatens established banks with brain-drain.

Can we expect traditional retail banks to fade away? The rewards of an established bank becoming a bank that can offer customers a best-in-class digital experience are considerable. The coupling of strong brand recognition, large customer bases and a wealth of experience with a strong digital strategy can serve to entrench established banks even further.

Where can we find evidence of innovations in technology being executed successfully by an established bank?

TSB Bank is a 200-year-old bank that was re-launched in 2013 to challenge the retail banking market. With 4.5 million retail customers and over 550 branches, TSB Bank offers customers the capabilities of a large, established bank with the high growth potential of a challenger bank.

In 2016, TSB Bank decided to work with Microsoft partner AddIn365 to deliver the company’s digital workplace experience to 8,200 partners – the TSB term for employees – on Microsoft Office 365.

Wes Hackett, AddIn365 CTO, said, “Office 365 is a highly integrated platform that brings together more than 14 tools, including email, search, collaborative tooling and publishing. With Microsoft providing enhancements at a run-rate of 400 per year, Office 365 was an obvious recommendation to make to TSB Bank that wants to run an agile workplace estate.”

TSB Bank invested in AddIn365’s AddIn Intranet tool for its intranet, AddIn Work Hub tool for personalized productivity and AddIn Analytics to manage partner adoption of the platform. These tools were delivered instantly to support TSB partners in communicating and collaborating effectively on any browser or device using Office 365.

Hari Miller, Head of Internal Communications and Community Engagement at TSB Bank, has been the driving force behind the project to digitize the TSB digital workplace for partners.

Miller has said of the success to date, “AddIn365 products are a perfect fit for TSB because we want to provide our people with a modern, agile digital workplace, without lengthy and costly development cycles slowing us down when we want to update something. AddIn365 has been keeping us ahead of the latest digital workplace trends and devices. The products can be delivered fast, and they iterate, meaning we can avoid the usual 18–24 month projects cycles to deliver new things that will help our people and ultimately our customers. This gives us a huge competitive advantage. We will be faster to take advantage of opportunities than traditional banks, with old and cumbersome platforms, and maintain parity with new banks that are using cloud-based technologies to stay relevant.”

TSB Bank has positioned its digital workplace to manage the challenges that the new banks have presented:

  • TSB’s vision, purpose and values can be communicated to partners using news, blogs, video and an interactive newsletter delivered via AddIn Intranet and Office 365 Video.
  • Process and product feedback and iteration can be executed via AddIn Work Hub, Office 365 and Microsoft SharePoint groups.
  • Talent retention is supported with a cutting-edge digital experience across the banking estate.

Whether TSB is an anomaly in the retail banking sector for the pace and vigor with which they are transforming their bank remains to be seen. Cultural factors have been the biggest determiner of TSB’s success, where being pioneering, collaborative and acting as a challenger to the retail banking sector has informed decision making.

If you are a financial services organization looking to deliver communication and collaboration capabilities to your employees using Office 365, please contact hello@addin365.com.

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