In 2018, our Mobile Banking app passed the one-million-download mark. Its success is partly due to the innovative strength of the Digital Factory within UBS, which develops and produces intuitive online applications for private clients and small and mid-sized enterprises.
On a sunny autumn evening, 79-year-old Mr. Müller is attending an information event for clients called "Digital Banking Today" at his local UBS branch in Lausanne. The pensioner already routinely pays all his bills online from home. His grandson taught him how to do that. So why attend the training session? He wants to learn about other online banking functions, he explains. World Money Direct, for example, will enable him to have cash in over 70 currencies delivered to him at home, free of charge, within one or two working days. It will be a useful tool, he's sure, because he often visits his children and their families all over the world.
Older generations also see the benefits
During 2018, training events like the one in Lausanne were also held at other Swiss UBS branches, with specialists teaching a very diverse audience more about online banking. "As the market leader in digital banking in Switzerland, we cater to all generations so that as many of our clients as possible can benefit from the new opportunities," explains Gabriel Lamon, UBS digital expert and wealth management client advisor.
Audiences paid careful attention to instructions on how to perform the most common digital transactions such as making payments, checking account balances and calling up market data on UBS Quotes. But many of the participants were equally interested in more recent applications, such as customer authentication for online shopping using 3-D Secure via the Access app or paying parking charges via UBS TWINT, a mobile payment application for Switzerland. Whether it's a question of opening an online account, having a property valued or simplifying the process of getting a mortgage, all these digital services have two things in common. First, they represent a noticeable improvement for clients and, second, they all come from the Digital Factory – a workshop that is unique in many ways.
Clients help shape the service
At peak times, there can be up to 900 experts at our Digital Factory, drawn from different areas of banking and working in interdisciplinary project teams. The operating model is similar to that of a start-up and is characterized by flexibility and short decision-making paths. "Our ideas are based on findings gained from user trials and on feedback from different stakeholders. When putting the ideas into practice, our main priorities are, first, to make the digital banking experience simple and straightforward for the client and, second, to reach market readiness quickly,"explains Ziga Jakhel, business manager of the Digital Factory, summing up their successful work method. Surprisingly, in light of the strong customer focus, the most time-consuming part of product development is integrating the new services into the existing process and IT architecture of an organization as large as ours. We are also making significant investments in digitalization, staff training and modern infrastructure at the Digital Factory. The digital transformation is even reflected in the way the facilities are laid out. There are so-called market squares – team areas with lots of opportunities for interaction and visualization, where experts can put their heads together and discuss how best to solve a problem. Nearby, a number of teams at "workbenches" write software for the solutions. And staff can chat informally or meet clients in the "social heart," while both client advisors and clients can put pilot versions through their paces at "touch-and-try" stands in the testing zone. So what innovations are in the pipeline at the moment? We'll have to wait and see.