Wells Fargo is a leader in ATM banking, but is not complacent. The financial services leader believes the ATM platform has tremendous potential, comparable to that of online banking. Using new Microsoft tools to bridge the gap between development and design, Wells Fargo created a next-generation ATM client. Expression® Interactive Designer and Microsoft® Visual Studio® Designer for Windows Presentation Foundation allow Wells Fargo designers and developers to collaborate on the same files, resulting in a lighter workload for the development team and faster implementation of new content. Windows Presentation Foundation technology also allows Wells Fargo to create a rich, ground-breaking user experience for its customers. Now, Wells Fargo can fully take advantage of its network of over 6,600 ATMs, at minimal development cost and fast time-to-market.
Wells Fargo is a financial services giant, headquartered in San Francisco, with U.S.$483 billion in assets and 167,000 employees. The company provides more than 23
million customers with a wide range of financial products and services, including banking, insurance, mortgage, and consumer finance. Wells Fargo is also a leader in channel integration and offers its customers in-person access to advisors, extensive online offerings, and a network of over 6,600 ATMs throughout the United States.
|Number of developers
|Estimated months to complete
||Visual Studio® Designer for WPF|
|Programming model and technologies
||.NET Framework 3.0, XAML|
In March 2005, Wells Fargo became the first financial institution to migrate its entire network of ATMs to the Microsoft® Windows® platform. Additionally, Wells Fargo Web-enabled the machines so they were completely integrated with the bank’s other channel operations. The Web-enabled Windows platform provided faster processing times, an improved user interface, and more up-to-date and complete account information compared with ATMs based on the legacy OS/2 operating system.
“We acknowledged the value of the ATM channel for our customers when we Web-enabled our entire ATM network and moving to Windows while many of our competitors were still using ‘green screen’ technology,” says Jonathan Velline, Senior Vice President of ATM Banking at Wells Fargo. “Historically the banking industry has sought to generate ATM revenue through fees charged to non-customers who use the machines, and so many banks haven’t focused on improving user experience for customers. At Wells Fargo, we have remained focused on the customer, and we see the ATM as a critical aspect of anytime, anywhere financial services. Enhancing our ATM services provides tremendous customer value and differentiates Wells Fargo from our competitors.”
Wells Fargo still has far greater plans for its ATMs. The company is rolling out Envelope-Free webATMs® that use optical character recognition and scanning technology to quickly accept mixed cash and check deposits with minimal hassle. In addition, Wells Fargo’s newer ATMs double as stamp vending machines, and the bank has plans for more value-add services that would make Wells Fargo strategically located ATMs more than just convenient places to withdraw cash.
||Using the capabilities of WPF, the NextGen ATM client responds with dynamic—almost cinematic—visual elements.
Senior Vice President of ATM Banking
To take its ATM strategy to the next level, Wells Fargo needed a more efficient ATM software development process that would allow fast creation and deployment of new services and marketing campaigns. Wells Fargo also wanted to enhance the ATM user interface to match the cutting-edge experiences offered by the best e-commerce Web sites.
As many as 55 percent of Wells Fargo customer transactions go through the ATM, making ATMs an important channel for the bank to reach customers with new offers.
“Even with our leadership in ATM experience, Wells Fargo understands that technology and customer expectations are constantly evolving. We want to follow the lead of what you see on some of the best Web sites, where animation and interactive scripts give the customer a faster, more intuitive experience,” says Velline.
In 2005, Wells Fargo considered its options for re-building its ATM client. These included Adobe Flash technology (formerly Macromedia Flash) and Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), an important part of the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX®) managed-code programming model.
In July 2005, Wells Fargo attended a two-day Architecture Design Session at the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Mountain View, California, to evaluate Windows Presentation Foundation.
The MTC engagement helped Wells Fargo by proving a direct connection to subject matter experts who could surface, discuss, and address their concerns and questions. This increased their level of trust in the Microsoft solution. As a result, Wells Fargo decided to move forward with the Microsoft toolset: Visual Studio® 2005 Team Edition, Expression® Interactive Designer, and Visual Studio® Designer for Windows Presentation Foundation.
“Windows Presentation Foundation had several advantages over the competition,” says Jimmy Wang, Vice President and Technology Manager for webATM Development at Wells Fargo.
“Our ATM platform was already Windows-based, so we believed using WPF atop that would ease integration. Microsoft also offered a strong commitment to helping us succeed, with extensive support resources and technical know-how.”
Windows Presentation Foundation allowed Wells Fargo to build a cutting-edge ATM client, aptly named “NextGen ATM.” Specifically, WPF provided Wells Fargo developers and designers with the technology needed to create rich, dynamic flows, as illustrated in Figure 1.
Wells Fargo began designing the new ATM application in October 2005 and began coding in March 2006. Developers took advantage of an early version of Expression® Interactive Designer as well as Visual Studio® Designer for WPF, part of the Visual Studio 2005 development environment.
|Figure 1. The NextGen ATM client |
Because Expression Interactive Designer and Visual Studio share the same project files, Wells Fargo designers and developers can pass Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML), Visual Basic® .NET, and Visual C#® code between the applications. In turn, developers can build, deploy, and add functionality to the application without disturbing design elements. For designers, the shared XAML code allows them to carefully tailor the look, feel, and behavior of the interface with assurance that their designs will be implemented as intended.
“Seamless integration between design and development was a key selection criterion—WPF fully addressed that obstacle,” says Wang.
Expression Interactive Designer allowed the Wells Fargo design team to take advantage of WPF visual capabilities, including:
· Dynamic layouts
· Data binding
· Style and template editing
· Resource management
· Rich two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics
Wells Fargo left middleware and server infrastructure unchanged, but replaced their HTML-based ATM client with a solution based on WPF. Wells Fargo plans to deploy the NextGen ATM client to its network in 2007.
Windows Presentation Foundation allows Wells Fargo to execute on its vision for the ATM channel, transforming the ATM from a simple cash machine into a key entry point into the bank. With WPF technology, Wells Fargo designers and developers can create a rich, compelling user experience unlike any currently offered by other banks’ ATMs. In addition, the new programming and design tools—XAML, Expression Interactive Designer, and Visual Studio Designer for WPF—help get new advertising campaigns and services to market faster and more economically.
“ATMs are a critical channel—7.4 million customers use Wells Fargo ATMs, on average, five times a month. Windows Presentation Foundation provides the tools we need to make our ATM experience as rich as some of the best Web sites and take advantage of e-commerce best practices,” says Velline.
Next-Generation User Experience
Since Wells Fargo moved its ATMs to a Web-enabled, Windows platform in 2005, many of the services traditionally accessed via phone, Web site, or in a Wells Fargo store are now accessible on the ATM. These services include personalized mortgage quotes, alerts suggesting automatic overdraft protection, and check imaging—just to name a few. With the powerful visual and interactive capabilities of WPF, Wells Fargo provides a consistently exceptional experience for the customer no matter which access channel the customer uses.
“Wells Fargo ATMs are now much more than just cash machines—customers can access the same type of services available through other channels. Windows Presentation Foundation elevates the ATM experience to match its position as a key entry point into the bank,” says Velline. “We wanted to create a compelling, intuitive experience—not simply a series of static screens where the customer finds the correct button. Using the capabilities of WPF, the NextGen ATM client responds with dynamic—almost cinematic—visual elements.”
||Expression Interactive Designer and its Visual Studio counterpart increase collaboration between design and development so the process is not only faster, but also less expensive.
Vice President and Technology Manager for webATM Development
WPF capabilities enhance Wells Fargo’s ongoing deployment of envelope-free ATMs that make ATM check and cash deposits much easier and give customers more control. Not only do the envelope-free ATMs accept stacks of mixed bills and checks, they also automatically scan the checks and display images on the screen. This type of visual experience dovetails with the rich graphics capabilities provided by WPF.
Fast Time-to-Market for New Content
The WPF implementation of XAML means that Wells Fargo designers can create and deploy new marketing content to the ATMs quickly, without having to engage the development team. By creating and deploying new marketing content to its ATMs quickly, Wells Fargo will be able to better take advantage of market opportunities.
“Wells Fargo has a goal of providing the best local service, but with a national reach. Part of that involves putting valuable, personalized services and product offerings out in front of our customers at the ATM, an incredibly important customer touch point. It’s important that Windows Presentation Foundation will help us quickly implement new marketing campaigns in the ATM channel,” says Velline.
More Efficient Design and Development Collaboration
The .NET Framework 3.0 and WPF provide useful programming support for creating compelling user experiences. In addition, XAML provides a common basis for designer-developer collaboration, allowing both sides to work from the same project files in Expression Interactive Designer and Visual Studio Designer for WPF.
The new iterative, collaborative process is a tremendous improvement over the previous linear design-development process, where designers would create mockups of the design flow and then pass those off for developers to re-create in code. Expression Interactive Designer and Visual Studio Designer for WPF not only alleviate the burden of re-creating designs from developers, but also ensure accurate implementation of design elements.
“Expression Interactive Designer and its Visual Studio counterpart increase collaboration between design and development so the process is not only faster, but also less expensive,”
says Wang. “We’re very excited to bring this cutting-edge technology—Windows Presentation Foundation—to the ATM space. We believe this technology will provide the best customer experience possible.”
Microsoft Windows Vista
Windows Vista can help your organization use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s new world of work. Your people will be able to find and use information more effectively. You will be able to support your mobile work force with better access to shared data and collaboration tools. And your IT staff will have better tools and technologies to enhance corporate IT security, data protection, and more efficient deployment and management. For more information about Windows Vista, go to: www.microsoft.com/windowsvista
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