Investitionsbank Berlin

Case Study

Promote digitization with a new customer portal

The IBB, the funding bank of the State of Berlin, not only supports its customers from the medium sized businesses in digitization projects. It also sets a good example itself. With a new customer portal, applications are significantly simplified and accelerated. Adobe Experience Manager Forms is the basis for these paperless forms and applications.

Who is the IBB?

The Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) is the funding bank of the state of Berlin. With its monetary support programs, it mainly supports small and medium sized, technology oriented companies in the region.

When it comes to the financing of SMEs and founders, IBB places special emphasis on companies active in the Berlin clusters.

Challenges

  • Comprehensive digitalisation of all business processes
  • Simplified and user friendly customer experience for all application forms
  • Standardize and unify the form design
  • Realize media disruption free administrative processes

Step into the customers shoes

One of the central tasks of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) is the support of digitization in small to medium size businesses. In the summer of 2016, for example, the institute launched two new funding programs worth 30 million euros. They help start-ups, small and medium sized enterprises, as well as, larger medium sized enterprises and members of the liberal professions, with urgent investment in growth and innovative digital technologies. "All of our internal banking systems are already digital - now we need to step into the customer’s shoes and also offer the IT functionalities digitally, that they need," says Klaus Fiedel, IBB's IT department. Various initiatives to improve the Customer Experience, which the institute had already started some time ago, are now running in the ePortal project, which provides a paperless application process for media and property promotion, without media disruption. The technical basis for this, in addition to Microsoft SharePoint, is Adobe Experience Manager Forms in version 6.2.

Connect existing digitization islands

The long term PDF solution based on Adobe LiveCycle still showed considerable deficiencies. "We had dropout rates and long processing times due to existing media disruptions through browser incompatibilities and many manual steps, which also led to a higher risk of error," remembers Astrid Nachtwey-Plath, project manager. Moreover, that solution was not mobile. Additionally, the consultation side of the business still took place, almost exclusively, face to face, which is an obstacle for many potential customers in the times of fin-techs and online banking. Additionally, according to the project manager, it was urgently necessary to automate the processes and to introduce user-friendly self-service solutions because of the increasing number of tasks for the approx. 630 bank staff, otherwise the bank would have had to increase its workforce substantially.

Complex infrastructure in the background

In parallel, the project "Digitization of the Real Estate Forms for the Retail Business" began in the IBB real estate sector. Behind this are web forms created with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Forms, which are passed on to a middleware behind the IBB firewall. From there, an automatic transfer of the data to the bank’s SAP system takes place. With the help of the Adobe partner eggs unimedia from Munich, the front office solution was realized, however, it was much more complex to meet all legal requirements. In addition to the link to the Schufa (client credit investigation company) query and the rating system, there are, inter alia, interfaces to the CRM system (Customer Relationship Management), as well as, to the systems of the Förderbank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (the German Federal Bank for Reconstruction). A total of eleven different and detached form processes have been combined into a single form.

Relocation of the standard consulting business to the web

"With the digitization of the application process for the promotion of real estate, we wanted to support a shift from the simple consulting business from the personal interview to the web," explains Klaus Fiedel. The IBB experts should deal with the individual high quality and large-volume business, while the standard applications are processed digitally. In relation to that, the application process should also be possible via the customer’s mobile devices and a logic that, depending on the inputs, determines the corresponding funding possibilities for the applicant and leads them through the entire process. Internally, a significant reduction in throughput times was attempted. "The throughput times" - according to the project manager - "have at least been halved by these measures in the applications".

Since December 2016, IBB has been presenting itself with a new, modern appearance on the Internet, which can also be optimally used on mobile devices due to its responsive design, the harmonization of the two digitization approaches for economic and real estate promotion as evident. This is because the new user management of the website with improved navigation means that customers now have the possibility to submit an electronic application (e-application) from every page. In the customer portal, the former static PDF forms of the IBB Geschäftsfeldes Wirtschaftsförderung (Economic Development Business Unit) were also converted into dynamic web forms using AEM Forms. "And we are taking advantage of all the possibilities offered by this technology," emphasizes Astrid Nachtwey-Plath. This extends from terminal specific customizations for desktop, tablet or smartphone, to intelligent forms with plausibility checks, pre-filling of content from the ERP system, dependencies between input fields, or automatically triggering the e-mailing of a filled-in form. At present, the solutions for real estate promotion and Economic Development Business Unit, which have been developed on various releases, are being merged on version AEM 6.2.

Information glossary provides data schema

The starting point for the new formwork at IBB with currently about 50 application forms was the creation of an "information glossary". For this purpose, all business information in IBB's credit and funding processes was stored in an information schema with clear interpretations and descriptions. Only this unambiguous information may be used in the future for application fields to avoid data inconsistencies in the subsequent systems (for example, SAP). The information glossary, that is now also used by other Landesförderbanken (regional development banks) in Germany and is connected in a joint cooperation with the IBB, describes all information including their interrelations and dependencies, field lengths or help texts for business process execution. The information from the information glossary (ING) is automatically transferred to an XSD data schema for form creation. This data schema is available to the form designers, who create the required templates on behalf of their departments. You can use drag & drop to click on the relevant form quickly, concentrating solely on the subject content. They do not have to worry about the logic, dependencies, help texts, validations, field lengths, links, etc., since the system accepts responsive, cross-device information and is integrated with backend systems.

Forms can now be created much faster

"What before has taken half a day, is now done in five minutes," the project manager describes the massive productivity advancement through digitalization. The uniform design and standardization of all IBB applications has also increased customer recognition and simplified the process for them, which in turn leads to fewer error entries. This is particularly important as a new financing or funding product also automatically needs a new application form, therefore significantly reducing time-to-market times. The complete online offer creates a lower entry barrier for the customers and increases acceptance. With the customer portal, IBB now has a central form administration. Changes to the bank’s central "information glossary" are automatically transmitted to the forms. However, there is still a lot to be done at the Berliner Förderbank (development bank) on the way to customer-oriented digitization. In addition to continuous process optimization and the creation of further dynamic application forms, IBB's end-consumer products are to be electronically displayed and used without media disruption. "Our goal is to make the entire lifecycle of a credit agreement in our portal comprehensible for the customer - including a query, similar to online banking," IT CEO Fiedel looks to the future. However, since there is usually a large number of stakeholders, a sophisticated detailed concept is necessary. Therefore, its realization will probably take another one to two years.

Solution at a glance

Adobe Marketing Cloud with

  • Adobe Experience Manager Forms

Results

  • DIGITAL NEW ARRANGEMENT with focus on the customer
  • CREATING A FORM is reduced to 5 minutes
  • EFFECTS ON PROCESS TIMES more than halved
  • STANDARDIZATION OF FORMULAR reduces risk of error