Barriers are falling, market requests are increasing: banking solutions that can be implemented internationally are more and more sought after. ACTIS.BSP Germany therefore initiated a global offensive to analyse the market opportunities for PABA/Q and BSP TRADE both in Europe and on other continents, to determine specific product requirements and to network contacts with potential customers. The first successful results of this offensive are already showing, such as for example the sales and development co-operation agreement with SSI Technologies (SSIT).
Gabriele Schreiber, Managing Director of ACTIS.BSP Germany, considers this initiative offers excellent perspectives and promising conditions – concerning the markets as well as the products. "There are still significant national differences in the banking world", she says, "but the similarities become more and more obvious. Even the requirements for statutory reporting resemble each other to a certain extent in some countries".
Through new communication standards such as SWIFT ISO 15022, this process might further develop driven forwards by cross-border payment transactions and clearing systems. "We shall experience", Gabriele Schreiber is convinced, "a stronger harmonisation".
Open to changes
If national software components are not replaced, it must be possible on the other hand to integrate - via open interfaces- the corresponding software modifications. This required openness capability of the systems' to adapt to local markets is guaranteed to a considerable degree by the core banking solution PABA/Q and the securities system BSP TRADE. Both solutions master the high complex requirements of the German market. Since often the requirements in many countries only represent a part of the German requirements, the necessary adaptations are therefore simplified.
PABA/Q, initially intended for the German market, was meanwhile further developed to be multilingual and has, according to Gabriele Schreiber, "managed the leap to an international solution". BSP TRADE on the other hand was from the very beginning developed for international businesses. Deutsche Bank was one of the first clients and used the solution abroad.
With the creation of the new company department "Product Strategy", headed by Dr. Peter Wassum, BSP managed an important condition for the further "internationalisation”. Careful analyses of potential markets and the development of a catalogue listing all necessary criteria for the further software internationalisation meanwhile prepared the next activities.
"On site solution"
"However", Managing Director Gabriele Schreiber clarifies, "such an accurate study of the markets and the consequent product planning are not sufficient to be internationally successful." "We must", she adds, "supply an ’on site solution' that includes both the necessary support facilities and other services such as education." The question raised here is, whether the company should be present in the respective country itself or be represented by a partner.
Exigent criteria to select the right partner
Neighbouring countries like Luxembourg, Austria or Switzerland can be efficiently supported in the first stage from the main location in Germany. After the second or third client in one of these countries, it is reasonable to establish at least a support facility on site, in order to guarantee an efficient clients maintenance. On the opposite, for projects on other continents ACTIS.BSP Germany only considers reasonable to close a partnership with a qualified company or to acquire such a suitable company. "We need", underscores Gabriele Schreiber, "in all cases a partner of the same industry type who speaks the language of the bankers in the respective country, experienced in our specific market segment and who understands the local culture."
There were already numerous offers for partnerships. To select one partner "not only for sales but also totally competent for support facility and training", ACTIS.BSP Germany set the bar very high.
Partnership with SSI Technologies
The group found an ideal partner for BSP with the Indian company SSIT. SSIT globally sells software and consulting services and is perfectly positioned by its strategic partnership with NASDAQ and Clearstream. As unique SWIFT partner SSIT is ISO 9001: 2000 certified and is responsible for distribution, sales, support and education for SWIFT products on the south Asiatic sub-continent. BSP installs swiftCONNECT, the proven middleware solution by SSIT, to be compliant with ISO 15022. However, the co-operation partnership goes far beyond. In a Memorandum of Understanding, SSIT and BSP decided to establish a sales, distribution and development partnership with the following goals:
-The internationally successful sales network of SSIT in North America, Europe, in particular in the APAC space and in India will take over the sales of BSP systems in some countries,
-BSP is in Germany local partner of SSIT,
-Both firms plan an on-going development partnership.
First common projects should already follow in the course of year 2002.