A tale of two banks – why IT must create new outcomes

Recently I moved house, I needed to change the address on my Bank accounts but as it turns out, this can’t be done over the phone or on-line with either of the Banks that I have accounts with. I ended up having to go into the local branches of both of my banks, I never expected such a difference in service and I now know exactly which one I will make my primary bank for the future, I’ll simply call them Bank A and B to protect their identities…

Bank A, I wandered in and queued with several other miserable looking people, I soon realised that this must be because they’ve been here before. I watched each of the people in front of me ask about various issues that they had hoped to resolve, all to be told that they had to do that on line, or there wasn’t anyone there that could help them at the moment, so my hopes were not high that even my simple ‘can I change my address request’ would be something that they could deal with. I reached the front of the queue and stated my request to the cheerful looking member of staff, who reached under the counter to pull out a clipboard Folderwith names and addresses scribbled all over it and promptly stated that there was no one available for me to see at the moment and would it be possible for me to come back in an hour. I asked if there was any other way to make this simple address change, at which point she routed around under the counter again and found a paper form, as she handed it over she told me that it wasn’t really the right form for my request but if I could write on it exactly what I was after then I’m sure they’d be able to deal with it. So off I went to lean on a pillar in the middle of the branch to fill in said form, a few minutes later I handed this to the cheery member of staff who thanked me and said that it would probably be dealt with in about 5 days. I’m not sure whatever happened to the form but here we are four weeks later and I’ve no idea whether the change was ever made. I’ll let you know if the change ever actually happens and how they let me know when it does.

Bank B, I wandered in and was immediately met by Helen with her iPad, I knew her name because it’s the very first thing she said, ‘Hi I’m Helen how can I help you iPadtoday?‘ I explained that I wanted to change the address on my account, she took me straight to a quiet seating area and proceeded to tap my details into the iPad. After a few security questions, she asked me what the new address was and a few seconds after that she looked up and stated ‘All done!’ in a proud kind of way and then asked whether there was anything else I needed, there wasn’t but as she seemed like she really wanted to help some more I did try to think of anything else that she might be able to do. I thanked her and got up to leave and as I walked out of the branch my phone buzzed, which turned out to be the text message confirming that the address change had already been dealt with.

I couldn’t help but think how this relates to the service that IT delivers, Bank A probably use almost exactly the same backend systems as Bank B, but the way that I get to interact with them is by queueing with a bunch of other people who are all trying to get some service, then filling in a piece of paper which I hand back and hope that at some point in the next week that my request will be actioned. I don’t know when, I have no updates.

The IT team at Bank B have clearly focused on what real service means to a customer, they were focused on what technology could do for me, I was met by someone who immediately understood what I needed, had the technology there and then to action my request and I even had it confirmed as complete before I left the branch. As you can guess I’ll be making Bank B my primary bank for the future.

The key thing that matters to me as a customer is service and this level of service made Bank A look utterly backwards. It’s this level of experience that people get when working with the likes of the big service providers such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, it’s just so damned simple, so, how do you think you compare, how easy is it for your customers to work with you? this is how Lines of Business are making decisions about where they go for a specific service and this is how you are being measured!

I enjoy working for NetApp because I truly believe that our technology enables IT departments to create new outcomes for their customers, I always ask existing customers why they keep buying from NetApp and am always intrigued by the responses, ‘Because NetApp has enabled us to…’ or ‘Because of NetApp we are able to…’ it’s always a value statement, always a new outcome.

When you are about to make your next decision on Storage, and you’re considering your options, ask yourself and the vendors that you talk to “What new outcome will this technology create for me and for my business?” if you’re not happy with the response then keep looking!


  1. Great article. As technologists, we all need to start thinking more about the problems people are trying to solve, how the technology affects the end users/business and what value it brings to the business to be truly effective.

    Once again, great read.


  2. Really good article Matt, interestingly today I met with a local architects firm and he could if read this before the meeting! He was telling me as part of his IT infrastructure project how he had merry with ask the members of staff to all how IT was working for them and how would they like to see it work.
    I congratulated him fully as I said, that the best backend systems in the works mean nothing if the user experience is dreadful… Pity Bank A hadn’t noticed!

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