Banking Giant Bucks Trend to Complete IT Merger Programme on Time- Major two-year programme at Fortis Bank involves 1500 IT staff

Fortis Bank the banking giant formed in mid-1999 by the merger of five European banks, has completed its massive IT merger programme in Belgium. The programme has been completed on time, with the help of the latest generation of programme management systems, says the Bank.

Fortis Bank has successfully completed the migration and integration of hundreds of systems, involving hundreds of staff and contractors, to the exact date and timescale as specified in the original plan. The Bank took the decision at the outset to use programme management to manage the complex set of multiple projects. With programme management still in its infancy in 1999, Fortis chose Hydra software from UK-based The Program Management Group (www.pm-group.co.uk), to handle the programme.

"We were aware that mergers and takeovers in the financial community have failed in the past due to an inability to integrate differing systems from different organisations," commented Benny Brems of Fortis Bank. "Adopting programme management techniques helped us to manage complex sets of projects more efficiently and predictably than with traditional project management tools."

Typically, projects have multiple dependencies, with outputs from one project forming inputs to many others. Fortis Bank was heavily reliant on strong programme management to control development costs and delivery timescales for these disparate entities. To cope with the scale of the task, Management Support Consultancy, XANSA (ex-OSI), and the Bank established a small central Programme Office working in parallel with Project Support Offices.

PMG's Hydra product helped Fortis Bank to model and predict where IT resource bottlenecks could occur well before they would become critical and also offered alternative scenarios to allow the organisation to handle and resolve the complex interactions involving hundreds of staff and contractors.

The programme made great use of Hydra's unique delegation model where senior
managers delegate packages of work to other managers. At the lowest level of
the hierarchy, detailed plans contain tasks, which are allocated to individual employees. The data in the low level, detailed plans is automatically consolidated into the higher-level plans. At the highest level the Programme Office maintained an overall, departmental programme plan, which was kept up to date by the consolidation of data from below.

The integrated design of the Hydra system allowed all levels of management
to have a relevant and up to date picture of their actual and forecast effort together with a good idea of the development schedule for all of their projects.

Fortis Bank combines the banking activities of Fortis, an international financial services provider active in the fields of insurance, banking and investment. With a market capitalization of EUR 37.7 billion and around 69,000 employees, Fortis ranks among the twenty largest financial institutions in Europe. At year-end 2001 Fortis had total assets of EUR 483 billion and its net profit amounted to EUR 2.6 billion.

Present in some 65 countries, Fortis Bank has a cross-border organisation, a
staff of more than 40,000 worldwide, 2,500 offices and 7 million customers.
In it's home market, the Benelux countries, the bank occupies a leading position and offers a broad range of financial services. Outside it's home
market, it concentrates on selected market segments.

Fortis Bank continually strives to find the best financial solution for it's
customers: consumers, companies, institutional investors, financial professionals and the public sector. To fulfil this ambition, it draws on a
wealth of complementary, mutually supportive expertise in numerous areas,
from network banking over merchant banking to asset management and private
banking.

Fortis Bank is managed with a view to sustainable economic growth and a
commitment to the community and the environment. Its commitment to the welfare of its millions of customers keeps Fortis Bank anchored in the local communities in which it operates. By combining know-how and experience with
global strength, Fortis Bank supports its customers worldwide in an ongoing
process of personal, social and commercial growth.

Lisa Benecke
01937 54 71 71

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