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Creating an actionable vision for the new Easy Banking App

Digital Business Strategy
Platform Architecture

Being a leading bank in a world of change, BNP Paribas Fortis realised it was time to create the new evolution of its Easy Banking App. We helped them tackle some significant challenges when it comes to strategy and solution architecture.

When it comes to digital, banks were among the first to realise its full potential. Having a frequent touch point with customers provides a tremendous opportunity. But it comes with a caveat: users continuously demand better user experiences and more capabilities.

BNP Paribas Fortis too realised it was time to create the new evolution of its Easy Banking App. Being a leading bank in a world of change, this posed some significant challenges:

  • Go beyond daily banking: while banking is a driver for regular use, banks also offer investment services, insurances, … so how do they fit into the app and its user experience? And what about integrating use cases by partners?
  • Relationships: as foot traffic towards the branches is decreasing, how can the digital bank still offer personalized assistance, advice and support?
  • Multiple segments: today’s customers aren’t easily pegged in one hole. There are daily banking customers (e.g. accounts, a loan, …) who might also be private banking clients. Others maybe manage their household and small business finances. Can one app cater to these diverse and mixed segments?

To help tackle these ambitions, BNP Paribas Fortis worked with a cross-functional team at In The Pocket (consisting of a Digital Strategist, Product Designer, Architect and Engineer) to provide a challenger perspective.

Start from guiding principles, then make it tangible

At the start of our mission, we talked to the key stakeholders (like the head of digital channels and the UX team, but also people from support, payments, investments, etc.). They all had a clear understanding of what needed to be done, and they all had expectations from the new Easy Banking App. We wanted to build on those concepts as much as possible, but also help tie all of them together.

We established some guiding principles that would help us make (often hard) decisions when it came to the navigation, information design, etc. :

  • Provide a single-point-of-help, then guide users to the right solution.
  • Personalise the experience, where we do the heaving lifting for users (rather than putting the burden on them).
  • Aggregate where desirable, filter information where necessary.

Whereas these principles provide guidance, we wanted to avoid remaining too abstract. By using BNP Paribas digital branding and assets, we quickly started prototyping the new Easy Banking App. How would the opening screen look? Where do payments go? How about messaging and support? How and where do we propose up- or cross-sells? We tried out a lot of different concepts, actively seeking feedback from their Customer Experience Centre, and of course, from clients during user tests.

In the end, we created a comprehensive visiontype: a clickable, end-to-end prototype demonstrating an ambitious vision for a banking app. This visiontype was to be shown to the board of directors to secure buy-in.

Prioritise and plan ahead

If they wanted to double down on this ambition, the board knew choices needed to be made. That’s why we did not just create an ambitious vision, we also charted the journey to reach that goal. Together with the different departments and architects at BNP Paribas Fortis, we proposed a phased evolution. What are wins we can already implement without drastically changing priorities or shifting budgets? What is the evolution after that, and what budgetary or organisational changes that does entail? What comes next, and what investments will this require? By making this clear, we could ask the board not just to green light the vision, but also make the necessary decisions regarding the roadmap.

Designing how it’s made

Whenever we tackle missions like this, we do not restrict our perspective to business or UX. We take into account the technical reality as well. Every part of the visiontype was investigated in terms of solution architecture: where would the data come from, where would it go, what are the current and future capabilities and constraints of the different systems at the bank?

Additionally, we offered assistance to the bank’s mobile development squads. Having built our fair share of industry-leading mobile applications, we looked at the app architecture, code quality, how the teams cooperated, what their build process looked like, and provided them with a solid game plan we believed would yield qualitative and timely results.

In the end, our expert fly-in helped this leading bank create a future-proof platform vision, and help draft the plans to turn it into reality.

Our approach

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