Logo - Business Development Bank of Canada - BDC

Equip your employees in the field with mobile apps

4-minute read

Mobile applications offer incredible opportunities for businesses to equip their employees in the field and make possible what was once impossible.

I’m speaking from experience. At BDC, we deployed a major project to provide our teams in the field with custom iOS applications that transform the way they work.

Our account managers and advisory services experts spend most of their time on the road meeting entrepreneurs in their business. They used to have to bring a large quantity of paper documents, forms, marketing brochures, etc. Account managers had to make at least two visits and needed approximately 10 days to grant a loan for an existing customer.

Today, our account managers travel with iPhone and iPad. And the custom-designed apps we use allow us to grant a loan in less than 30 minutes, and in a single visit!

It’s also allowed us to move to an entirely paperless environment for existing clients applying and processing loans using our Express Loan application on iPad. The streamlined processes and reduced travel time are saving us an average of eight hours of work for every loan approved.

BDC’s mobility project in numbers

30 minutes

How fast we can now grant a loan

8 hours

Average time saved for every loan approved


Number of loans approved since the launch of our mobile app

Mobile redefines interactions with customers

This is only one example of the opportunities now available to our employees. We’ve developed seven iOS apps that allow them to help more entrepreneurs.

These applications have redefined how we interact with clients. They were primarily designed for dynamic client interactions, and they create a whole new customer experience. We are now able to work in real time and demonstrate to entrepreneurs that we walk the talk when it comes to innovation.


5 tips to make your mobility project a success

Now that our “mobility” project is bearing fruit, I would like to present some of the lessons we learned, in the hope that they will help your business.

1. Start small and simple

We started our “mobility” project by examining the “mobile moments” of employees who are in contact with clients.

A “mobile moment” is a time when a person uses a mobile device to get what he or she needs immediately and contextually.

We then identified the “mobile moments” that could be easily supported by existing applications in the market and which were easy to deploy.

2. Adopt a user-centric approach

We worked with account managers and advisory services experts throughout the ideation and app design process to identify pain points and opportunities to provide more value to entrepreneurs.

This approach allowed us to develop intuitive applications that support natural conversations and the pace of meetings.

Our employees continue to identify opportunities for mobile applications and provide feedback on existing ones to allow us to improve them on a continuous basis.

3. Begin with a minimum viable product

We are limiting the first version of our applications to ones that offer the smallest number of features, without compromising on the quality and user experience of the app.

This allows us to launch our applications quickly, reduces risks and engages a feedback cycle with users to develop the application in sync with their needs.

4. Aim for the best user experience

As we develop employee mobile applications, we strive for the best level of user experience. It is all the more important since several applications are seen by clients during meetings.

This approach is not more costly; it is simply a guiding principle that offers multiple benefits, including a better rate of adoption, less training and change management, as well as happy users.

5. Rethink the ways you do things for mobile

We must understand the context of the “mobile moment.”

  • What do users want to accomplish when they are “mobile?”
  • What are the pain points?

Often, we have to adapt our processes to a mobile context to provide the right mobile application, even more when this application is used with our clients.

It is also important to make choices, including limiting oneself to the most important features and reducing the exceptions that we are ready to manage to a strict minimum. Otherwise, the ease of use of the application will be compromised.

Mobility: An approach that gives results

Our “mobility” project has allowed us to differentiate ourselves in the market. Our products and services are more accessible, our employees are more efficient and we bring even more value to our customers.

We are the first financial institution in Canada to have deployed a mobile application to grant a business loan in a single client visit. By freeing our account managers of the administrative paperwork they had to fill out, we are also allowing them to spend more time with clients.

The adoption of modern technologies has been an opportunity to transform our processes, accelerate service delivery and create a better working environment.

I hope that Canadian entrepreneurs who have employees in the field will be able to learn from our experience when they use mobile technology to provide more value to their clients.