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Customer Snapshot: Overview

Full-release upgrade 99% reduction in manual effort

Canada’s ATB Financial understands the importance of meeting customer expectations and maintaining efficient, secure systems. ATB had a 25-year-old legacy mainframe system that was no longer meeting their needs. The company placed SAP banking systems at the core of their systems to streamline business processes and help associates work more effectively.  

When it came time to upgrade their ATM systems, ATB was concerned that any lag time in updating the system would open customers up to major security risks. They tasked the SAP® MaxAttention™ services team with a groundbreaking zero-downtime complete system upgrade. The team rose to the challenge to create a solid, secure framework to help ATB Run Simple now and in the future.

ATB Financial

C$8.5 billion (US$7 billion)

Number of Employees

Implementation Partner URL


Edmonton, Canada

Customer Website

Implementation Partners

Line of Business
Finance, Service

SAP Solutions
SAP for Banking, SAP MaxAttention, SAP Payment Engine

Customer Snapshot: History

The Home Team Advantage

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

ATB is proud to call 242 communities in Alberta home. Through 172 branches and 135 agencies, telephone and Internet banking, a Customer Contact Centre, and automated banking machines, they deliver financial products and services to Albertans wherever they’re located - in urban centers, small towns, on vacation, or in the fields. A full range of wealth management products and services are provided under the banner of ATB Investor Services.

ATB is focused on Albertans, and their competitors are the myriad of other Canadian financial institutions that conduct business in the province.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

In addition to its flagship retail financial services, ATB has a diverse portfolio of corporate financial services (including insurance), a wide array of offerings for independent and agricultural businesses, and a full complement of services for investors. ATB was named one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers in 2015 by Maclean’s Magazine in partnership with Aon Hewitt. In 2014, ATB was also named one of Alberta's top 65 employers, and one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in Canada by Achievers.
For people who work in the financial services industry or in areas that support ATB’s success, the company wants to be known as the place to work at some point in their careers.

Despite its size, ATB prides itself on being a community financial institution, with deep local roots.

The Challenge

A Seamless Upgrade with Security as a Top Priority

Seeking to maintain its premier position in Alberta, ATB wants to bring new products to market as quickly as possible and serve customers in the most timely and reliable manner. The company wanted to replace its dated, overly complex legacy systems to bring its customers a better experience. Once a new core system was in place, an ATM upgrade became necessary, but more than a 4-second lag would necessitate 3rd party intervention, which could leave the whole system open to security threats. 

ATB threw down a zero-downtime upgrade challenge and SAP accepted.

Enter SAP

Solution by Solution

As ATB automated business processes, it also refined workflow rules for the new system. First, they implemented SAP Loans Management and SAP Deposits Management applications, and then ATB added general ledger applications and solutions for handling payments and meeting regulatory requirements. Then on to enhancing all distribution channels – from online and mobile banking, to local branches and points of sale.
SAP® Payment Engine has centralized payment processing for ATB, increasing customer satisfaction while decreasing the cost of payment operations.
Implementing cross-border, straight-through processing with SAP Payment Engine has virtually eliminated the need to manually add routing details to each payment. Wire transfers are processed faster and reach the beneficiary sooner. — Caley Hearn B.Sc., Senior Manager, ATB Financial  

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

We decided that SAP software was the best choice for us given its strong integration with other enterprise applications and its ability to support growth.

Challenge Accepted

When ATB threw down the gauntlet challenging SAP to change over their ATM system with instantaneous results, no one on the team was deterred by thoughts that it had never been done so it couldn’t be done. The entire team worked tirelessly together to transform the way system upgrades had always been handled.

While groundbreaking, this wasn’t the only challenge SAP tackled. They took on the actual upgrade itself, migrating the entire IT landscape to the SAP for Banking solution portfolio, implementing a new component that allows the automatic processing of international cross-border transactions, and creating a completely scalable solution that could grow with the business.

Better Business

ATB chose SAP for Banking solutions after a two-year review of some 10 different vendors.
By using SAP solutions to build a major, new core-banking system, the company has the tools it needs to streamline its business processes and help its associates work more effectively. The new system also provides business insight so the financial institution can deliver innovative products and services through a variety of distribution channels as customers demand.
The new system changes have resulted in a 99% reduction in manual effort, with a higher volume of payments processed in less time. Banking, payment and transfer transactions are faster, more efficient, and have resulted in lower payment processing costs overall.

Better Business: Benefits


Through the partnership with SAP MaxAttention™ services establishing a co-engineering project, the team pioneered an entirely new upgrade methodology. They were able to upgrade the software with no impact at all on customers and successfully responded to all service requests well within the four-second security window throughout the upgrade.

Better Business: Lessons Learned

Commitment & Teamwork

ATB credits the successful implementation to a strong commitment by not only company employees but the institution’s managers who helped ensure that there were enough resources, system capacity, and capital.
Also key was the extensive and well-planned training program and strong collaboration with SAP and Accenture (which supported the integration of third party applications).

Better Business: Run Simple

Giant Footprint

The company runs its entire landscape – both core banking and front office – on SAP having one of the largest SAP footprints in the banking industry.
With the new methodology in place, ATB has worry-free, zero-downtime system updates in its future, ensuring that the company can make use of the expanded functionality of future releases. As the business continues to grow, SAP Payment Engine will remain instrumental in helping ATB continue to achieve their primary objective: Putting People First.

Journey Ahead


Going Forward

ATB hopes to use the new software to provide its customers with robust mobile banking options. In addition, the bank will give its sales force the tools it needs to help people in their homes or at their businesses.

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