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Solarisbank and Atlassian

In an industry with many established companies and numerous requirements, it is often not easy for innovators to gain a foothold and differentiate themselves. Financial technology pioneers like Solarisbank face the challenge of making banking easier for companies and their customers.

As a technology company with a German banking license, Solarisbank offers a fully digital banking-as-a-service platform on which its customers (referred to as "partners" by Solarisbank) can create individual financial solutions for their own users without the usual bureaucracy If a retail company wanted to offer its customers the ability to finance larger purchases or purchase gift cards, the company would normally have to work with a bank. Most traditional banks are relatively cumbersome and their ready-made offerings are difficult to customize. Often times, it takes months or even years until a solution even remotely acceptable is found. Instead, the retail company could simply connect to the flexible, modern platform of Solarisbank and, in a fraction of the time, have its own, individually adapted and compliant requirements Develop banking products.

Given such an innovative concept and a corporate culture in which everyone can and should contribute to the bank's growth and further development, it is not surprising that, within just four years, Solarisbank has attracted investors such as VISA and BBVA, dozens of new partners around the world and was able to attract more than 300 employees. Such rapid growth puts even the most experienced teams under pressure and, especially when working with world-leading brands, mistakes cannot be made.

At the beginning, the Solarisbank employees used various tools for communication, documentation and development. This wasn't very efficient as valuable time was spent switching back and forth between systems and finding the right information.

Centralization using the Atlassian platform was Solarisbank's solution to mastering its current challenges and laying the foundation for even faster future scaling. The bank has never regretted this decision. Since the entire company has been using Atlassian solutions, it has been working more efficiently, communicating better and has professional structures that set new standards with customers and in the entire banking industry.

Networking is crucial

Completely different requirements apply to banks than to companies from other sectors. While many companies can set their own rules, Solarisbank's business is very heavily regulated because of its industry (financial services) as well as its location (Europe). Auditors and investors demand documentation, partners demand compliance and ongoing support. With unclear processes and isolated systems, these requirements are difficult to meet.

"Of course you can work with four or five tools, but then they don't work well together," explains Senior Productivity Manager Fabio Morena. "It is also difficult to publish code for a banking platform. We need to be 100% sure that the code has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by the right people before it goes into production. "

Solarisbank also lacked formalized systems for customer support and project management. The team considered several possible technology solutions to address this challenge. Each had its advantages, but Atlassian took the lead because the team already knew the platform and the integration options. "We were already working with Confluence, so it made sense to introduce additional Atlassian tools," recalls Fabio Morena.

"The most important argument in favor of using Atlassian products is networking. Documentation, boards, customer support - everything is available and connected."

A secure, customized knowledge database

After the decision on the solution had been made, the Solarisbank commissioned kreuzwerker to accompany the implementation and to take on ongoing training, coaching and management tasks. Together, the two companies configured Jira Software, Confluence, Jira Service Desk and Statuspage according to the special requirements and workflows of the different teams. For the benefit of security and compliance, separate instances have been set up for internal collaboration between employees and external collaboration with partners.

Since many employees were already using Confluence in one way or another, Solarisbank and kreuzwerker started at this point and set Confluence as the central source of information for the team. If new employees are hired, a partner's data changes or a crisis situation arises, Confluence is the first point of contact.

"Confluence is our most important tool for all tasks related to content and documentation. We work with it for several hours every day," reports Fabio Morena. "If you need information about our company, you first open Confluence. Everyone knows where to find what they're looking for. "

This also applies to key external parties such as auditors, to whom the team must provide up-to-date records every time a change is made to the core product. Thanks to this dynamic documentation, employees, partners and representatives of the supervisory authorities no longer have to search for information.

An integrated environment for fast service and rapid deployment

In addition to the central documentation, Solarisbank needed a way to better collaborate in product development and customer service. These processes were originally long and complex. Since Solarisbank and kreuzwerker implemented Atlassian, technical and non-technical teams have been able to work together to provide better, faster service and deliver products earlier.

Solarisbank's technology team uses Jira Software to collaborate with partners on product development, process management, and code releases. The latter can be done with just a click of the mouse. "As soon as a release is in preparation, a Jira ticket is created. If we then drag it into the release column, it will be started by an authorized employee," explains Fabio Morena. This new release is then logged in Confluence for checking purposes.

For incident management and maintenance work, the status page is indispensable for the technology team. The solution is integrated with the Solarisbank notification tool. As soon as an incident is reported or the team plans a maintenance measure, an update is automatically published on Statuspage. This keeps the Solarisbank partners informed about possible interruptions, and the technicians can deal with problems quickly. These status page updates in particular go a long way towards saving time, strengthening trust and making partners happy.

Tailor-made solutions for every team

When the non-technical teams saw the technology team using Jira Software, they also considered the solution. Various groups across the company, including finance, accounting, human resources, and marketing, are now using the platform for task tracking and project management, as well as for department-specific purposes. For example, in the finance department, Jira Software is used for reporting, in the HR team for onboarding and for inquiries about payments and salaries.

Jira Software has also become an indispensable part of the management of internal service requests. Each team has its own board. When employees need support from the technology team, for example because they need to ask the information security team for new permissions or the company management for a report review, they simply create a ticket in Jira Software. "We can then convert this support ticket into feature tickets for the technical teams. Jira is closely interwoven with our day-to-day processes," comments Fabio Morena.

The requests from the external partners are more complex than the basic internal service requests that the Solarisbank team manages with Jira Software. In order to meet these requirements while maintaining security, the bank uses Jira Service Desk for partner support. If requests result in bug fixes, feature requests or other documentation requirements, employees can link tickets with Jira Software and Confluence. This speeds up switching between the various applications and collaboration on the respective process.

With Jira Service Desk and Jira Software, Solarisbank is also getting a whole new look at its data that it can use to track and improve performance. Credit Analyst Constantin Mirow, who uses Jira Service Desk for partner support, explains:

"We can track the number of incoming and completed tickets, the processing time and the respective result of the ticket. This gives us information about how we can optimize our workflow and possibly better respond to customer inquiries."

Fabio Morena adds: "Our development teams and agile coaches need reports on the speed of processes. With Jira, for example, we can see how quickly we process a board or provide new releases."

With this improved visibility and reporting, Solarisbank is better positioned than ever to make quick, intelligent decisions and grow in the future.

Fast, targeted and professional scaling

With the support of kreuzwerker, Solarisbank was able to optimize its processes, standardize systems and adapt the Atlassian solutions specifically for each team. This has increased the speed of work and transparency across the company - two important factors in the bank's rapid growth and at the same time the foundation for future scaling.

"As we operate in the fast-moving financial technology industry, we also have to structure our daily work quickly. Thanks to the permanent Jira integration, we can react more quickly and are better coordinated than before," reports Fabio Morena. Financial analyst Jordi Vilalta adds:

"Thanks to Atlassian, we in the finance department are now much better structured. We have centralized our communication channels, we no longer lose sight of information and we work more efficiently."

The bank's team is also expanding to other locations and is confronted with new challenges such as increased remote work. When collaborating remotely, Atlassian is particularly important for efficiency and transparency. "Many of us now work in the home office, so we absolutely need insight into the tasks that are currently being processed," says Fabio Morena. "We hold Zoom Meetings every day, during which we look at our dashboards and clarify who is working on this Day cares. That is enormously helpful. "

Constantin Mirow agrees: "Transparency is one of the greatest advantages {of implementing Atlassian}. Everyone knows what topics are currently on the agenda. That way we can distribute the tasks fairly and keep an eye on everything that is pending. In addition, we can at the end of the day to determine whether we have actually achieved what we set out to do. "

Solarisbank has clearly achieved - and even exceeded - its goals. In less than three years, the team size has almost quadrupled, and the number of partners has also increased far more than expected. This is just the beginning. With the formalized processes, the centralized communication and the uniform tools for cooperation, the Solarisbank feels well equipped for further targeted and professional scaling.

"Our company is growing, and our partners are getting bigger and bigger. At the end of 2016 we had just 80 employees. At the beginning of 2020 there were already 300 - and there are more and more," says Fabio Morena. "When a company grows so quickly and has large customers from the financial sector, standardized processes and professional systems are indispensable. Everything has to be available centrally so that everyone can easily stay up to date. Transparency is important for efficiency and for quick decision-making. The growth must be absorbed quickly and professionally. That is exactly what Atlassian does for us. "