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Scotiabank stresses human talent, technology comes later

The bank’s focus is more on having talent to manage transformation rather than having the best of technology:

Scotiabank, originally The Bank of Nova Scotia, is one among Canada’s Big Five Banks and the third largest in terms of deposits and market capitalization. The bank stands out for its modernization efforts, which is predominantly rooted in people rather than just technology. It believes in investing in people and acquiring skilled talent to drive its technology implementations rather than having only the best of technology. This is an onerous task for the bank as it has been changing technology too frequently in order to keep pace with the needs of the business and therefore digital talent at the bank too. The bank has set up regional technology hubs in Ottawa and Vancouver and its innovation efforts are centered at Toronto-based Scotia Digital and Colombia-based ScotiaTech.

The bank has flexible working environment for its technology staff several years ago and remote working was nothing new for the bank when the pandemic struck. Today, the workplace is a combination of the best aspects of physical and virtual workplaces and this has led to the staff becoming more productive, collaborative and flexible. Investments in digital strategy and technology over the past 5 years have enabled the bank to have more than 90% of staff globally work from home safely and securely during the pandemic.


The bank, in its mission to bring in the best of technologies, is now utilizing the talent at the world’s top fintechs. It has recently partnered with NXTP Labs, which is Canada’s and South America’s leading accelerator for fintech startups. NXTP has hundreds of skilled dedicated staff and has a philosophy of equality and community-driven collaboration. The partnership is expected to help the bank gain competitive advantage and accelerate innovation. The bank is also collaborating with 2 of Israel’s top technology firms – Viola Group and Team8.


A major portion of the bank’s investments in digital transformation is intended to create technology that will benefit customers as well as lower operating costs and increase profits. The investments, the bank has emphasized, is more on account of the changing consumer behavior as it finds branches are receiving less traffic, and it wants to phase out more physical locations in favor of higher-value digital services and mobile applications.

The data-driven approach allows the bank’s customers to engage with the bank on their own terms, obtaining the financial advice they need, when and how they want it. The approach is not just digital first, but more importantly it is customer-first. It is a question of innovative mix of purpose, people and products, by which the bank is redefining digital banking for the next generation of customers.


One of the unique efforts of the bank in making use of technology to help customers is its ‘Bank Your Way’, which is an information hub for seniors, who can use it as a tool to obtain guidance using all the possibilities of digital banking. Bank Your Way helps customers learn the basics of digital banking, while expanding the range of self-serve tasks.

Digital options are available for everyday banking needs, such as checking a balance and account history, paying bills, transferring money between accounts, and sending and receiving Interac e-Transfers using Scotia OnLine or the Scotiabank mobile app.

The bank is making use of a new technology, called C.MEE, which leverages big data and AI to create better customer experiences. Using AI to predict customer needs, C.MEE provides customers with relevant and timely financial advice when they need it most. It lets customers engage with the bank on their own terms, obtaining the financial advice they need, when and how they want it. C.MEE uses the bank’s global AI platform, to analyze data across customer touchpoints – branch, mobile, online, contact center and email – to determine what advice is most relevant for a customer at any given interaction point. Customers can also select the channel of their preference for the interaction.


The bank has recently entered into a closer relationship with Google Cloud to facilitate its global data and analytics strategy to emphasize more on personalized banking experience for its customers. The bank has been working on its cloud strategy with Google for years. Now it sees that by leveraging Google Cloud’s data analytics and AI tools, it will be able to offer predictive offers by processing data faster, understanding customer sentiment insights and delivering relevant offers in a timely manner. Using Google Cloud’s machine learning models, the bank hopes to reduce the time spent predicting customer offers from 14 days to just hours. Also it can now unify data silos across the organization, which can help it uncover previously hidden insights that will position the bank to provide better financial advice to its customers. The bank’s technocrats made use of Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration platform originated by Google and now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The bank’s developers also created custom applications on their own to help the Google products work with the bank’s existing software.

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(This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.)

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