f WlRED UP - a Global IT PROGRESS REVIEW WHAT'S NewS Issue 11 December 1997 The accelerated pace of technology-driven change in the banking business is intense. Our organization has been at the forefront in the adoption of new IT systems and solutions that are designed to help us serve our clients best. In this issue we take a step back. We survey the ground we have already crossed and chart the landscape of continuing transformation ahead. COMMUNICATION BACKBONE he backbone of our common communication system - including a feature- rich internal e-mail network - is now largely in place. It offers a solid framework upon which we can flesh out and expand our Customer Focus Strategy. But how did we reach this point and what is likely to happen next? The initial phase of our international growth was marked by a proliferation of different computer systems, control procedures, and organizational structures poorly suited to an integrated global enterprise. By early 1996, it was recognized that superlative data management held the key to our future strategie success; after all, in a complex and interdependent global web, the transfer of data and exchange of knowledge is (quite literally) the lifeblood of organizational wealth. STREAMLINING INFORMATION The first and foremost of the concrete actions that emerged from this realization was a strategie decision to push towards common systems throughout our network - systems designed to help us serve our customers in better and more inspired ways. It was also considered crucial that we streamline information exchange and that we expedite the (often costly) accumulation and delivery of data to regulatory agencies. IT was recognized as an essential tooi for standardizing risk management as well. MEETING OBJECTIVES After a painstaking selection process, Coopers Lybrand won the mandate to devise our long-term IT business plan. Later that same year, preparations were well ^inderway for the implementation of the Fltlas back office system, the information exchange platform, and the Devon derivatives trading software. Common 'operational excellence' (or OPEX) standards defined for the entire organization - together with a series of careful business reviews - were used to tailor the aforementioned systems to offices with varying size and complexity. The operative principle was (and remains) that technical systems and standards are implemented for the sole purpose of meeting clearly-defined business objectives. Budapest's system went 'live' early this year. Dublin followed in November. Currently, we have implementations going on in London, Frankfurt, Antwerp and Shanghai. THE TEAM We have seen important administrative changes as well. In the middle of this year, Global IT was established as headquarters support function. Jo Knippenberg (responsible for Infrastructure and Service Management), Rein Stulemeijer (Information Management Services), Niels Diehl (Business Systems), Jaap van Caspel (Implementations), and Chantal van Oers (Management Support) all work under Global IT chief Emy Kahle. In a related development, a new Global Operations department has been set up in order to insure that we not only make the most efficiënt use of the skills and resources available throughout our network, but also that we avoid a needless duplication of effort in IT and other operational spheres. EURO CHALLENGES Although we have successfully transformed Emy Kahle expanding our Customer Focus Strategy. The service management team apart from Emy Kahle, from left to right: Rein Stuhlemeijer, Chantal van Oers, Niels Diehl, Jaap van Caspel and Jo Knippenberg. ourselves into a fully 'wired' enterprise - and done so within a remarkably short space of time - substantial challenges have appeared on the immediate horizon ahead. These challenges are essentially three-fold, as Emy Kahle explains. 'First, we have to adapt our systems to the hurdles posed by the impending arrival of the Euro - not only as a common currency for Europe but also, in many cases, as a base currency for internal accounting purposes as well.' MILLENNIUM BOMB 'A second challenge,' continues Kahle, 'relates to the so-called "millennium bomb." This is a pervasive global problem associated with the fact that many older mainframe computers and certain software was designed to use a simple two-digit dating system. This makes it impossible to teil whether 00 represents the year 2000 or 1900. This deceptively small glitch has the potential to substantially disrupt business and banking activities around the world; and if information is disrupted, then the information economy, or large parts of it, can screech to an immediate halt as well. There are also profound implications in the spheres of risk management and law. Coming into compliance with year-2000 guidelines is a substantial task both for ourselves and many of our clients.' INTERNET THINKING As if the aforementioned issues were not important enough, there is still a further, third challenge: one that perhaps ranks highest of all in its strategie significance. It can be reduced to just one word - the Internet. 'Make no mistake about it; the Internet is going to radically transform the way we do business,' Kahle predicts. 'As an organization, we will have to be doing some very serious long-term thinking about how to adapt ourselves to the emerging net- worked world. Here,' says Kahle, 'one of the most important issues - not least in light of our Customer Focus Strategy - is how to design the electronic interface between ourselves and our existing and future clients.'

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blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1997 | | pagina 3