EDC Implements Repeatable Customer-Centric Product Innovation System

A 2020 ICTA nomination

Toronto, ON (Jan. 13, 2020) – Recognizing the evolution of international trade and the needs of customers, EDC, a traditional insurance and financing provider, established a third product line, Knowledge Services, to solve for the persistent market gaps and challenges its customers faced. EDC’s product team embarked on a customer-centric innovation journey to innovate, test, design and develop a suite of digital products that would scale to address the needs of many more companies than EDC had traditionally served. Established as an independent digital product team within the organization, it is also connected strategically to the existing financial lines of business to offer a more holistic exporter experience, expand EDCs value proposition to more companies and transition “Knowledge” clients into new “Financial” clients over time.

Product Development

In less than a year, EDC implemented design thinking, agile and lean start-up to iteratively build a portfolio of four digital products sitting on the cloud-based Azure platform and accessible via an identity powered subscription-based access model on EDC.ca, and other partner platforms. Product development occurred in parallel to the build-out of foundational digital capabilities necessary to support and sustain the business including:

  • Implementation of cloud based design and development infrastructure for rapid prototyping, user testing, iterative (MVP) custom application development and business driven deployments;
  • Applied DevOps practices using the Azure platform to automate builds, tests and releases of software faster and more reliably;
  • Experimentation with emerging technologies such as AI, Machine Learning and other cognitive services to power the products (3 AI/ML proofs of concept were delivered, QnA Maker implemented in one product);
  • Evolution in corporate risk appetite with respect to business led application development and cloud deployments.

1. Export Help Hub (EHH) is a digital service that allows a user to search an authoritative database of export knowledge and browse highly curated content and FAQs related to exporting. EHH addresses the persistent problem of too much information, scattered across multiple websites, few of which are authoritative or accurate and relevant for the Canadian business community. The tool allows small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to quickly find answers to their exporting questions from an authoritative and trusted source and gives them access to EDC’s expertise on demand. The tool is complementary to an existing Export Help service and is accessible on EDC.ca.

2. InList is a double-sided marketplace that matches Canadian businesses with curated, validated and trusted service providers, in Canada and abroad. Select suppliers will be allowed to register, commit to a service level agreement, provide detailed information about their services so that customers can search the tool and be properly matched to the right supplier for their needs. The first MVP focuses on Freight Forwarders and will expand to include Customs Brokers, Accountants and Lawyers.

3. Company InSight is an application that allows users to find information on a company they are considering doing business with. The tool allows a Canadian company to vet a potential counterparty by validating its legal status, years of being in business, and eventually other risk vectors such as financial and reputational risk. The tool leverages EDC’s company due diligence processes and internal and external data to provide the user with key information on the potential counterparty. This product will ultimately be powered by insights derived from AI.

4. China Readiness Tool (CRT) is a readiness assessment for cross-border e-Commerce into China. Based on proprietary knowledge, CRT allows a company to assess themselves against five critical elements to successfully penetrate the China e-Commerce market. The assessment provides a readiness grade for each element and specific feedback and resources to help improve weaker areas. CRT was developed in partnership with RBC, is deployed on EDCs Azure platform but accessible to companies via RBC’s www.Route86.com website.


EDC rapidly implemented an industry-leading, customer-centric innovation system that produced tangible business benefits to customers:

  • In 2019, the first year of the digital products and subscription program being in-market, EDC has acquired more than 750 new customers;
  • Ten percent of 2019’s new financial customers came from the Knowledge Services, demonstrating the need to holistically support customer needs
  • Customers with Knowledge and Financial products have significantly higher NPS scores, confirming that a wider range of exporter gaps are being addressed and more exporters are likely to refer and return to EDC

The build of the products also served as a catalyst for EDC to advance its capabilities and culture in several ways:

  • Cutting-edge cloud infrastructure, services, IT infrastructure for rapid prototyping and business-led deployments, capabilities that will grow to serve wider parts of the business
  • EDC developed a new cultural mindset related to successful innovation including cross-functional teams, “technology by the business, in the business”, doing things small and iteratively, leveraging failure properly in the discovery, and validation of customer needs

About EDC

For 75 years, Export Development Canada (EDC) has been dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. We are a financial Crown corporation that equips Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow their business with confidence. As international risk experts, we make trade safer for Canadian companies. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business. Learn more at www.edc.ca.

About Deloitte

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 5,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 312,000 people worldwide make an impact that matters at www.deloitte.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. For more information, visit www.microsoft.com.

Source: Export Development Canada (EDC)

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