International Scotiabank, based in Canada, is betting big on mobile banking and the digital transformation of financial services. Scotiabank has invested $100 million in technology like iPads to improve the customer experience in bank branches. The company even has its own tech hub, the Digital Factory, solely dedicated to transforming banking through technologies like mobile apps and devices.
Watch our interview with Andrew Bell, senior enterprise infrastructure services consultant at Scotiabank, to find out how the mobile banking leader got started with VMware AirWatch.
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Q: How did you start the journey with mobile? What were some of the drivers or challenges?
Andrew: We were a pure Blackberry shop. As you know, Blackberry fell into disfavor. They weren’t flexible enough. There weren’t enough apps being developed for Blackberry … The iPhone was becoming very popular, and employees started asking, ‘Why can’t I use my iPhone at work? Why do I have to carry this Blackberry, which doesn’t do anything?’ The first product we evaluated, that our security department was happy with, was Good for Enterprise on iOS. Security was happy with iOS, and Good was a fairly locked down and secure product. That was the first thing we went out the door with, but we knew it wasn’t a long-term solution. People didn’t like the look and feel, the way that Good operates, and so immediately, we were looking for something else to offer. We did an evaluation, we read the Gartner reviews, we did internal testing and so forth.
We bought a small investment firm, a brokerage, and they were an existing AirWatch user. They had some familiarity with the product, and they liked it … At the time, our internal certificate authority (CA) was based on products and on trust, and AirWatch was the one and only company who said that they could integrate within trust. Some company said it was on a road map and might be available in the future, and other companies said forget it, it’s not even on the road map. But AirWatch, at the time, said they could do it, and it was true, they could. That was one of the real deciding factors for us to go with AirWatch was their ability to integrate with our internal employee CA.
Q: What are some of the different use cases, whether it’s in the branch or kiosk, that you’re enabling today?
Andrew: Initially, this would be a pure ‘personal information manager’ play, just to provide knowledge workers with contacts, calendar and email. That’s the basic stuff that everyone expects. Quickly, we enabled access to the internal network (shared drives, SharePoint and so forth) on mobile phones (iPhones, Android). We can deploy mobile apps that require internal access, and we do that with per-app VPN using AirWatch. That’s a knowledge worker, smartphone use case.
The other things we do, we pushed, to about 1,000 branches across Canada, iPads with what we call the application of the universal bank, or digital ambassador. In one case, it’s a line-busting app. You have customers that are waiting in a line to see a teller. We have someone called the ‘digital ambassador’ walk up to a customer and ask them, ‘What’s the purpose of your visit today? Maybe I can help you with that right now.’ They use this application on the iPad to start a conversation. They can demonstrate, for instance, our mobile banking app or our web-based banking on the iPad.
We also have iPads operating in a kiosk mode. Those iPads are locked down into a single app, and customers can arrive and use that to make an appointment if they want to with a financial advisor. We’re doing that on both iOS and now on Android-based devices, like Samsung Galaxy tablets. We’re doing that in Panama. We’ve got iPads deployed at bank branches across the Caribbean. We’re using them in contact centers in Colombia.
We have someone called the ‘digital ambassador’ walk up to a customer and ask them, ‘What’s the purpose of your visit today? Maybe I can help you with that right now.’ They use this application on the iPad to start a conversation. They can demonstrate, for instance, our mobile banking app or our web-based banking on the iPad.
Q: It really shows the power that mobility plays in changing the way that work gets done.
Andrew: And we’re using a single instance of AirWatch in the cloud to manage everything.
Q: Where do you see ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) playing a role, or how are you starting to think about that within your environment?
Andrew: We’ve been looking very hard at BYOD for almost a year now—a lot of planning, a lot of business casing, a lot of analysis of numbers of quantities (e.g. What are the existing devices? Where are we in the hardware lifecycle of those devices?). Our BYOD strategy is a revenue-neutral strategy. We’re not trying to make money or save money. We’d just like to break even, but where we see the advantage down the road is studies show that a digitally enabled employee is actually more productive. By giving people access (e.g. being able to read emails after hours on weekends, which they don’t necessarily have to do, but inevitably people do) they actually become more productive.
The initial push for BYO is we’re going to target the people that are carrying corporate devices. What we really want to do is transition those users. As their devices come up for refresh, we’re going to encourage them not to pick up another new corporate device but, instead, switch to their personal device.
Our BYOD strategy is a revenue-neutral strategy. We’re not trying to make money or save money. We’d just like to break even, but where we see the advantage down the road is studies show that a digitally enabled employee is actually more productive. By giving people access (e.g. being able to read emails after hours on weekends, which they don’t necessarily have to do, but inevitably people do) they actually become more productive.
Q: For organizations that are looking at a lot of use cases that you have, what advice would you give them, or what were some of the lessons learned along your way that they might benefit from?
Andrew: I do feel that we absolutely made the right choice selecting AirWatch for mobile device management (MDM). History has shown that was the correct technical decision. The company’s just continued to grow. AirWatch maintains its position in Gartner‘s Magic Quadrant in the upper right-hand corner.
We are a cloud-based customer, so our MDM is in the AirWatch data center. We don’t manage the MDM itself, but we have a lot of infrastructure servers that provide gateways, running AirWatch applications. They provide gateway to our email, to our internal network drives, to our active directory and so forth, and those servers are absolutely rock solid and stable. They never go down. They continually run. We have not had a single security breach. AirWatch integrates well with the operating systems on mobile devices, like Android and iOS. The data loss prevention (DLP) controls work. The product is comprehensive in its capabilities to manage applications and devices.
One piece of advice I’d give any customer is if you’re evaluating an MDM product, you have to take a very serious look at AirWatch.
Watch the entire interview here, and explore other enterprise mobility stories on VMware TV: