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Page last updated
February 15, 2003




Outsourcing A case study


As of December 1st, 2000, the Egyptian Misr Bank-Europe (MBE) in Frankfurt had no further use for its EDP department - but still uses the latest state-of-the-art IT technology. The Bank's whole IT processing is now supported by the ACTIS.BSP IT Services computing centre. As a pleasant side effect of this decision, Misr Bank now also uses the latest standard release of PABA/Q. The switch to IT-outsourcing required only 40 man-days effort. Wolfgang Schäfer, one of Misr's two managing directors, states: "It went well, no overtime, no week-end work required and more importantly no problems".

"We are bankers, not EDP specialists", adds his colleague and joint managing director Volker Löser. "We can now concentrate on our core competence. No more headaches for us about maintaining our IT at the forefront of the dramatic evolution in banking!. We obtained this result by our outsourcing partnership with ACTIS.BSP IT Services and also by a simultaneous upgrade from our former PABA/release to the current standard version of PABA/Q".

During the past eight years, the task of maintaining an efficient IT capability inhibited the enterprise to quite a large extent. With at least 20 employees, as this is the case at Misr Bank-Europe, even the smallest EDP team also represents an important cost factor.

The decision to implement complete IT outsourcing at ACTIS.BSP IT Services was unusually a unanimous one - and "unusually without any scepticism from our holding company", the management team explains with a smile.

The sister company ACTIS in Frankfurt, already has a business relationship since

Misr Bank-Europe opened in 1992. The Bank back then decided on a former version of PABA as a software solution. The system was implemented on September 1st 1992, and went live several weeks later, on October 20th.

The burden of enhancements
Our practical experience with the former version of PABA was very good, affirms head of EDP department Harald Neitsch. However own version control and the constant stream of necessary enhancements to meet legal requirements became more and more of a burden. "After the consecutive 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the German Banking Act" explains Harald Neitsch, "we found ourselves increasingly less interested in constantly updating our software ourselves..." a new, better solution had to be found especially since increasing the EDP team to three or four employees was the only alternative.

Nobody considered such a cost justifiable. In addition: "For a small house like ours", according to managing director Volker Löser, "it would also have become more and more difficult in the future, to keep up with the pace of change within our own EDP department." and: "With outsourcing, we simultaneously freed ourselves from all operational risks."

From now on, Misr Bank will never need to be involved with modifications or necessary maintenance tasks. Also software administration is no longer necessary as it is now handled remotely if it is required. IT outsourcing also ensures that there are robust backup procedures in place at all times. "It takes a lot of worries away from us enabling us to do what we do best", Volker Löser states.

Good response time and friendly user-interface
In the Bank's premises, there is now only a PC-network connected to the ACTIS.BSP Computer-Centre over a dedicated line. The PABA/Q application runs there on a high-performance AS/400. This guarantees good response times as Harald Neitsch approvingly confirms. "The whole system runs very steadily."

IT Outsourcing had another further advantage apparent to all employees: because they now work with the latest release of PABA/Q, they also benefit from the current user-interface. With this interface, says Harald Neitsch, " help prompts are much more user friendly ". He also considers it as "a real support tool". In 30 years of banking experience, Harald Neitsch has already worked with ACTIS solutions in other finance institutes. His conviction: "PABA/Q is the right way."

The following PABA/Q modules are in use at Misr Bank-Europe:

n Core module including accounting, general ledger and data management for statutory reporting

n Domestic and international Payments

n Letter of Credits

n Money Market and Foreign Exchange.

The bank expects to achieve greater operating effectiveness through its outsourcing partnership with ACTIS.BSP IT Services especially for payment transactions, and accelerated implementation of the numerous necessary enhancements in this market space , key to the international bank, particularly with the related redesigned components of PABA/Q.

The bank managers were surprised by the fact that the migration to PABA/Q and the outsourcing service went "tremendously fast" and smoothly. All participants, have co-operated closely in a very engaged manner and the "few problems" that occurred, were for manager Wolfgang Schäfer "very normal".

For him and for Volker Löser, it is of key importance that all resources within the Bank have been set free of the initial tasks. New and extended activities should above all enhance further significance of the word "Europe" in the name of Misr Bank. The German-Egyptian finance institute wants to implement a marketing initiative in the important European neighbouring countries this year. The prerequisites for an expansion of the finance businesses, Wolfgang Schäfer and Volker Löser are convinced, are now securely in place. Egypt might be on the way from the "non-investment-grade" to the "investment-grade" country and the attractiveness to European investors increases from year to year.

According to Misr management: The decision to reinvest the money required for an in house IT department into an outsourcing partnership proves to have been exactly right. "We save no money", clarifies Wolfgang Schäfer "but we save our minds for our core business!"


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