Advancing Digital Transformation Despite Pandemic Challenges

December 16, 2020


Canandaigua National Bank & Trust is a $3.2B community bank in upstate New York. Annette Joyce, EVP of Technology & Project Management joined us in November for Fortimize Focus: Platform and Technology Solutions Driving Digital Transformation, where she shared her team’s aggressive technology roadmap for 2020 and how they managed to keep key projects going despite the onslaught of additional challenges brought on by PPP, loan forgiveness, and working from home.

At the beginning of the year, Canandaigua had an aggressive five-year roadmap in place for technology updates at the bank. They planned digital transformation initiatives that included Salesforce, nCino, and other key virtual collaboration products like Docusign. For 2020 alone, Joyce’s team planned a big push to get on the Salesforce platform with Financial Services Cloud, Experience Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Einstein Analytics, as well as Mulesoft, and an nCino integration plan for small business banking and lending. 

When COVID hit, they were in the middle of some of those projects. Unfortunately, Joyce said they were not far enough along for a successful pandemic response with all of those tools. Still, the team tried to keep those projects going while responding to the influx of extra work now required to support PPP applications and general issues with working from home. 

Read on to learn how Joyce and her team managed to advance their digital transformation initiatives despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

Communication Kept Employees Informed and At Ease

Joyce said that it was “lots and lots of communication” that kept Canandaigua employees going throughout the months of changes and extra work. Tools like Cisco’s Jabber and Salesforce Chatter kept employees communicating and collaborating with each other from home. There were also daily executive team calls to stay on the pulse of changes in New York and regular company wide calls with the CEO and head of HR. 

To help employees prepare for, and to ensure that the calls were valuable and relevant, surveys were sent out ahead of time. Communication both ways- listening and communicating back- was critical, and still is for the team. Joyce said that keeping people at the center of their virtual strategies was key to ensuring employees felt both informed and at ease.

Continuous MVP Rollouts Helped Manage Customer Needs

Almost as quickly as business went virtual, the PPP program was announced and there was a rush of small business applications. Banks all over the country had to quickly find ways to help their customers get the limited funds, while figuring out ways to do everything from home.

Since Joyce and her team already had virtual collaboration and digital banking tools on their roadmap, they decided to roll out products as quickly as possible. They kept their customer at the center of these rollouts- Joyce said they wanted to make sure they helped their business banking customers get as much of the available PPP money as possible. 

A quick rollout of Docusign helped to get that done, and also made it easier to collect electronic signatures for mortgages, loans, and retail accounts.

Pivoting and Prioritizing Allowed Quick Responses to New Challenges

At the same time, Joyce knew that some of the digital transformation initiatives Canandaigua had originally planned for the year would have to wait, while others would have to be prioritized. Docusign was a necessity when PPP was introduced, but Joyce knew they could leverage other platforms over the next few months to make the forgiveness process easier. 

The team pivoted to address the forgiveness process by prioritizing an nCino rollout to help their business banking customers apply for forgiveness with some self-serve options. They also deployed Case Management on Salesforce with some additional automation to help their employees work collaboratively across departments as if they were sitting next to each other.

Responding Quickly Kept Canandaigua Moving Forward

Despite the various challenges that pushed Canandaigua to adapt, Joyce said that her team was on the right path for digital transformation. The bank plans to keep moving forward aggressively with technology updates across departments. They have already seen the benefits of moving customer interactions online and are looking at ways to continue improving the customer experience overall.

Part of those plans in ‘21 and beyond include online deposit account opening, nCino customer portals and Salesforce Experience Cloud to improve self service options and give customers a singular view of all of their accounts. Joyce said they’re hoping to get everything on Salesforce and integrated with Marketing Cloud to create more “one-to-one” marketing and messaging experiences  for their customers.

Joyce believes that one of the biggest challenges banks are experiencing during the pandemic is the lack of time to focus and think through decisions. With everything happening so quickly, she said she was proud of her team for being able to pivot and work through the different processes that had to be put together to continue to execute on strategy and customer needs.

An Implementation Partner You Can Rely On

Fortimize comes with decades of industry expertise and a Book of Knowledge from over 1000 technology implementations. In these unpredictable times, it’s more important than ever to work with an implementation partner who knows how to help you navigate current challenges while moving you forward along your digital transformation roadmap. 

To learn more about how Fortimize can help your bank get started on Salesforce fast, contact us here.

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Thought Leadership Paper

Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Industry During COVID by Jim Collins