the successful implementation of a brand new core banking system, Equation from Misys Retail Banking, within the Bank's Doha operation. This complete core system replacement project was completed from scratch in less than eight months and is already delivering real business value. The Bank's corporate customers have sophisticated demands and the new solution delivers a richness of services for relationship management, trade finance and loan application processing that enables it to meet their precise needs.
In the past, GQB was reliant on the IT infrastructure supported by its shareholder Standard Chartered Bank. On the 1st June 2003, Standard Chartered Bank sold its 40% equity to the remaining shareholders as all were in agreement that the joint venture was no longer appropriate to their strategic aims. Whilst it was agreed that Standard Chartered Bank would continue to provide support services, including information technology for twelve months, GQB would need to have its own infrastructure in place at the end of that time. Whatever solution the Bank selected, it would have to maintain previous levels of functionality and service, whilst enabling the Bank to adopt the new electronic delivery services they needed to challenge local competition.
The Bank quickly identified an opportunity to capitalise on the change to simplify its IT operation, reducing the number of suppliers of both software and hardware and this became a key factor in the Bank's evaluation process. With the exception of two very specialised applications, GQB now relies entirely upon Misys Retail Banking Systems for software and IBM for hardware. As a result, the number of compatibility problems has been cut dramatically.
Speed of migration was a major consideration. The implementation took under eight months, despite a six week interruption due to the war in Iraq. According to Ian Murray, General Manager, GQB: "There were two main contributors to this success. One was our ability to make decisions without going through numerous committees. The other was the professionalism of the Misys implementation team."
In choosing to partner with Misys, GQB was conscious that the Bank's size meant that they had limited availability of in-house IT expertise. Any solution that the Bank adopted therefore had to come from a stable software provider with a proven system and a strong local support infrastructure. According to Ian Murray: "As the Equation suite is already used by five other banks in Qatar and hundreds of banks elsewhere in the world, the question of stability was easily answered. Support too was not an issue as Misys maintains an office in Dubai with over 35 dedicated professionals."
Now the new platform has been deployed, GQB is working with Misys to further
strengthen its competitive position in the field of electronic delivery services. In the meantime, the system is enabling GQB to respond rapidly to the Qatar Central Bank's drive to introduce electronic solutions and to meet any new requirements for information provision.
Ian Murray concludes: "Our experience with Misys has been excellent and we look forward with confidence to working with them in the future as the bank grows it business on the back of the Equation suite of software."