The Zak smartphone app enables customers to process their daily cash transactions on a fully mobile basis. Sandra Lienhart, Chair of the Management Board of Bank Cler, offers an insight into the project.
WHAT WAS UNUSUAL ABOUT THE INNOVATION WORK LEADING TO ZAK?
LIENHART / There’s no doubt: It was the extremely customer-oriented and agile approach to development. Discussions with representatives from our target group took place as early as the second week of the project. Families and friends tested a beta version of the app six months after the project started. To date, we have included more than 800 potential users in the development process, and have continually adapted Zak.
WHAT SETS THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM APART?
LIENHART / Everyone involved worked so well together. There was a great deal of trust and unbelievable enthusiasm among the Bank Cler workforce, colleagues from Basler Kantonalbank (our parent company), and the experts from Horváth & Partners. Everyone in the team was aware that they were working on something significant, and they provided peak performance in all project phases.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES NOW?
LIENHART / We’re working with a product that is constantly evolving. Comprehensive transfer of knowledge from external partners to our internal team is essential to enabling us to continually work on new features, and to the integration of value-added services in future. We also need to maintain a balance between creativity and regulatory requirements. In this context, it’s important to keep momentum up, and at the same time achieve normalization in operation. No individual project should be running at full speed for more than twelve months.
WHAT WOULD YOU IDENTIFY AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SUCCESSES?
LIENHART / We’ve broken out of our comfort zone. Zak concretizes our tagline of being the “digital bank with a physical presence”. Everyone is talking about innovation and simplicity, and with this app we are putting those concepts into practice. Our corporate culture has changed. We have developed a startup mentality and are also applying modern methodologies in our everyday work, such as Design Thinking. It gives us a whole new level of agility, motivates our employees, and makes us more appealing to prospective applicants and new clients – and we’re now bringing new clients on board on a weekly basis.