Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank is a Trailblazer, creating a data-driven loans and grants process that transforms communities nestled into the heart of the mission.

 

“The Bank has a broad mission, and thus it can be tough to fully understand all of the things we do throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region,” said Federico Basañes, Knowledge, Innovation, and Communication Sector Manager at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), “but when you take a minute to really look at how and why we do what we do, you see the real benefit and real impact we bring to so many communities.”

The IDB works to improve lives across Latin America and the Caribbean: Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) help improve health and education, government modernization, and advance infrastructure.

In other words, the IDB issues loans and grants that fund large-scale projects like bridges, highways, the training of teachers, and more. It partners with government leaders to develop strategic plans based on a given country’s priorities, and execute funding accordingly.

The organization consists of IDB public sector lending, IDB Invest (private sector lending), and IDB Lab (investment and research funding, grants).

“We are here to improve lives, and that includes the basics like bringing potable water to more homes or improving the accessibility of their region, as well as giving people the tools and information they need to be innovative; better schools, transportation lines, and more. Especially in the face of this new era – this new world – in which LATAM is living,”  Basañes continued.

 

A changing world calls for a changing bank.

While much of the world is learning to adapt to demands brought on by cloud computing and the digital era, LATAM (and the IDB itself) is learning to adapt to demands brought on by forces that are much more elemental.

First: climate change. Climate change has an especially strong impact on the LATAM region, “upending business as usual, leading to new policy priorities and the allocation of resources to previously underfunded areas,” said Alan Kind, Knowledge and Learning Lead Specialist. “Growing seasons have shrunk, coffee bean crops have had to move, climate-forced migration (as well as other reasons driving migration) further emphasize the resulting economic shifts; this is all influences the infrastructure that needs to be built and the services we offer.”

Second: gender equality is becoming increasingly important. In its work on the social-political factors that contribute to the health and well-being of countries, the World Economic Forum found that while “the lack of equality in economic opportunities is a serious issue in Central America that not only affects millions of women, but also limits the growth potential for whole countries,”[1] the region is recognizing, and acting on this. The most recent Global Gender Gap Index, an annual study conducted by the World Economic Forum on the magnitude of gender-based inequalities, found that several countries in LATAM have out-paced the rest of the world in closing the gender gap, reducing the economic risks that come from omitting half the ideas, skills, and labor resources from the workforce.[2]

“Plus, it’s become easier to access financing resources in the region, which means we can’t interest rates only. We have bring our top-notch technical expertise to assess countries and to facilitate a knowledgeable discussion on how to address complex challenges like climate change and employ an equally balanced workforce in order to create value for our clients,” said Kind. “The best way to do that is data. We need data-driven insights to deliver the kind of actionable, reliable advice our clients expect.”

The IDB builds a data-driven platform on the cloud.

 

The IDB team built a relationship management platform on Salesforce, a CRM knowledge base that delivers the collaborative intelligence of the Bank to any employee, working on any loan or grant, anytime, anywhere through three key functions:

  • Outreach and engagement: “We started with Marketing Cloud,” said Daysi Andrades, Lead IT Specialist for IDB. “We use it to disseminate information and to keep everyone up-to-date on what might influence their loan or grant application.” The team also uses it to manage social listening, keeping themselves up-to-date on real-time conversations.
  • Opportunity management: the IDB then added Service Cloud. Information from IDB’s research efforts, learnings from its email and social activities, and meeting notes from in-country reps are all gathered in a profile-like setting, creating a 360-degree view of the project as well as any resulting loans or grants.
  • Self-service communities: online community groups were launched on Community Cloud, giving Bank employees, their government clients, and partners in the region a 24x7, self-service access to report on a project’s status, check performance, and review ROI.
  • Collaboration: most recently, the team layered on Salesforce Anywhere, online documents that enable the team to share information, drive discussions, and take action directly from plans and notes.
 

See IDB’s impact in the LATAM region

IDB invited us to see the Serra do Mar project, firsthand. See how the team’s strategy turns investments in technology into investments in the mission.
 

The result: greater efficiency, and more focus on the mission.

“When we showed this platform to one of our Education specialists in Mexico, and he saw all the opportunities that his counterparts are pursuing in Ecuador – how they are tackling things like gender equality and climate change – his eyes lit up,” said Andrades. “He could see how these opportunities and discussions might apply to his work in Mexico, contact colleagues who had been there, done that for advice, and access information he otherwise wouldn’t have known existed. Our strategy collapsed silos immediately.”

IDB’s cloud strategy also freed up more time and energy to focus on the work that is mission-critical. Serra do Mar, a mountain range between Sao Paulo and the Southern Coast of Brazil, is home to the largest remaining stretch of Atlantic Rainforest. After seeing the damage illegal inhabitation had done to the delicate ecosystem, the State of Sao Paulo decided to relocate entire communities giving the park a chance to recover while also providing people with better access to water, electricity, housing services, and more. The State called upon the IDB for funding and support, and together the teams were able to relocate each and every family without using force. “It’s a complex solution because some of these people have been living there for decades,” said Basañes. “You need to understand the people; what drives them, what their concerns are. And technology gives you a way to capture all that information in an actionable, scalable format.”

“When we find ways to navigate the small stuff, unlock synergies, and be more coordinated, we get to do more work like this – work that matters,” said Basañes.
 

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