It’s hard to believe, it’s over five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers that brought the global financial system to its knees. While the financial sector is emerging from one of the worst periods in its history, the global financial landscape has undergone a significant change since 2008. The markets have witnessed major shake-ups with long-established brands swallowed up in mergers and acquisitions to save their distressed financial assets. Many household names within the banking industry have disappeared from the High Street only to be replaced by well-known retailers looking to diversify by offering financial services products.
Clearly, all this turbulence is set against a backdrop of an increasingly complex and rigorous regulatory environment that requires the financial industry to reshape and transform their business processes and operations. At the same time, technological innovations are driving a change in customer behavior with an increasing shift towards the use of self-service channels such as smartphones or tablets for making transactions rather than the traditional branch and call center networks. According to the research firm Gartner, the number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012.
Unarguably, this change in customer behavior and regulatory environment demands financial institutions embrace technological innovations to drive back growth to the pre-crisis levels and add more value to their business. Ultimately, the ability of financial institutions to keep pace with this changing environment depends upon the speed with which they can evolve their IT systems. However, significant changes to core banking systems invariably bring additional cost and involve high business risk. As a result, we have a paradox where instead of being a powerful business enabler, IT infrastructure is often seen as a barrier to moving forward. So, how can financial institutions leverage technology-enabled transformation to deliver best services to customers while minimizing cost and risk?
Driving Innovation with New Technologies
Recent innovations in secure cloud computing and server technology have allowed Unisys to offer a new way of delivering mortgage and savings system capabilities that solves this paradox. This ‘Software-as-a-Service’ offering is built around the Unisys UFSS Mortgage and Savings servicing system and incorporates Unisys’ branch support systems as well as DPR’s mortgage and savings origination software. Hosted in secure Unisys data centers, this solution delivers market-leading processing capabilities (UFSS is used to service approximately 40% of all UK mortgage loans) supported by a team of Unisys application specialists taking responsibility for all aspects of system management from operational support though to application enhancement and development. With a clear development roadmap and a commitment to maintain regulatory compliance, all included in the monthly service charge, Unisys customers can be confident that the service will meet their future needs.
This innovative approach to highly secure and robust banking is proving to be attractive with three UK building societies having already opted for the Unisys ‘Software as a Service’ solution during 2013. As Paul Winter, Chief Executive of Ipswich Building Society observed, “Our priority is to provide top-quality service to our customers, and this new approach will allow us to focus on the business while relying on Unisys to deal with the management of our core IT systems.”
With more UK and European regulatory changes already in the pipeline and the pace of technological change unlikely to diminish, this problem will remain a top priority for the boards of financial institutions. A close partnership with the right technology partner will go a long way in fixing the problem and Unisys, with its long term commitment to the financial services industry, proven solutions, flexible delivery options, and highly experienced teams of industry and product specialists, is well placed to fill this need.