Re-thinking a bank’s intranet to support outstanding customer service

Established over 70 years ago, Greater Bank prides itself on being a ‘customer-owned’ bank. In a highly consolidated competitive environment, the focus on their 270,000-strong customer base is the top priority – one that’s led to the achievement of multiple ‘outstanding customer service’ awards.

Understanding the correlation between customer and employee experience, the bank has worked hard to develop and maintain a strong and loyal culture. Internal tools, however, were not delivering a modern communication and collaboration experience. Customer-facing front-line employees, for example, were struggling to find the information they needed to carry out their daily work.

The intranet in particular was out-dated, poorly governed, and difficult to use. Attempts to enhance and reinvigorate the site were hampered by a dated and unsupported technology platform. Not only was the intranet unable to meet the needs of the business, it was increasingly posing a risk.

Greater Bank

Financial services

Intranet strategy
Intranet UX
Technology selection

Aligning the external and internal customer experience

Understanding the potential benefits that a modern, well-supported intranet could bring, it was quickly identified as a key tool for investment. Realising the enormity of the challenge ahead, the project team knew they’d require external expertise.

An online search quickly brought them to Step Two. With years of expertise in the intranet space, and with our vendor-agnostic position, Step Two were engaged to ensure the new intranet would meet the current and future needs of the organisation.

Every aspect of the intranet needed to be reimagined: the underlying strategy, technology, governance, design, and UX. Greater Bank were assured that a partnership with Step Two would keep the focus on business and user needs, rather than taking a technology-led approach.

“When we started exploring how to replace our intranet it was critical that we understood and had agreement on its purpose because, depending on who you asked, this could be very different. This is where the Step Two strategy work was really important”

Jacinta Campbell, Senior Manager, Internal Communication & Engagement

Building on a positive culture

Working with the project team to identify key user groups – with a skew towards customer-facing employees – we embarked on an in-depth phase of one-on-one interviews, workplace observation and focus groups. We quickly painted a ‘bottom-up’ picture of day to day needs, frustrations, successes, and opportunities for change.

A parallel stream of research was conducted with business stakeholders, giving us a ‘top-down’ view of strategic objectives and business drivers. By stitching together the bottom-up and top-down findings, we developed a package of insights that formed the basis of our initial set of recommendations.

Thanks to the strong and open stakeholder engagement during this initial phase, and in close collaboration with the project team, we were able to quickly progress to the development of an intranet strategy. The strategy articulated the desired organisational goals and painted a clear vision of the future state. This would form the basis of all short and long-term intranet related decision-making.

“An improved employee experience was critical to the project’s success. By working with Step Two we ensured our users were at the centre of every decision”

With a strategy in place, we moved at pace to develop a 3-year roadmap of activities. The activities were grouped into phases: short-term activities focused on preparing for the new intranet, whereas future activities emphasised the need for enhancements and continuous improvement.

Getting the fundamentals right

Following the success of the strategy development, Step Two were engaged again to support with the first phase of activities. Over the next 12 months, Step Two and the Greater Bank project team worked together to establish the fundamental building blocks of the new intranet; the most critical of which was a technology requirements review.

The existing, restrictive technology was causing increasing frustration with publishers, with evidence of a regression towards Word and PDF formats. Good practice was being eroded, findability was increasingly problematic, and parallel or rogue platforms had started to appear as teams attempted to find work-arounds.

With a vast array of tech options available, the challenge was to align the technology with the strategy, budget, and resourcing. As a vendor-neutral partner, and with unparalleled knowledge of the very complex tech market, Step Two were able to support these decisions in a non-biased capacity.

Governance and design

Having flagged the need for a robust framework, the Step Two Intranet Operating Model formed the basis of the governance stream of work. Based on a set of guiding principles, accountabilities and responsibilities were outlined, workshopped and documented, and a sustainable authoring and publishing model was established.

The final piece for Step Two was to define the future navigation and UX. Applying our tried and tested methodology of card sorting, tree testing, and iterative, user-centred design, we delivered a fully tested IA, as well as wireframes for all major landing pages.

A two and half year journey!

From initial discussions to the day of launch, this was a two and half-year journey for Greater Bank. An enormous volume of content was audited and reviewed as part of the process; a task that required time and buy-in from every corner of the organisation.

Now launched, business feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the business benefits will be vast and far-reaching.

“Working with Step Two proved to be a value investment as the strategy, governance, design and roadmap they delivered were the foundations for a successful build”