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By outsourcing its applications and IT infrastructure to Accenture, Caixa Catalunya has reduced costs, improved its function and, most important of all, created a platform for achieving high performance.
In its efforts to achieve high performance, Caixa Catalunya recognized the need for IT excellence, especially given that market conditions required more speed and flexibility than ever before. Moreover, the bank recognized that any product or service offered to its customers needed to be "right the first time; every time.”
To this end, in 2000 Caixa Catalunya teamed with Accenture to help reduce its costs, streamline its business processes, create custom IT solutions and improve the quality of its service within existing business functions—while helping the bank extend its offerings into new product areas including insurance policies, pension plans, securities and investment funds. A key component of this improvement program involved building and deploying Accenture's Alnova Financial Solutions, a core banking application with a special focus on retail banking needs.
Following the successful implementation and deployment of the Alnova Financial Solution, Caixa Catalunya then sought to further reduce its IT costs by outsourcing the support of its applications and infrastructure. Simultaneously, the bank aimed to raise the level of IT services delivered while taking advantage of new technologies and leading practices.
To help design and implement this transformation, Caixa Catalunya wanted to tap the experience of a service provider with deep industry skills and the range of capabilities needed to deliver a project of such broad scope. Accenture was the logical choice.
Accenture and Caixa Catalunya formed a new services company called Informació i Tecnologia de Catalunya (ITC), which they jointly own. Accenture leverages deep industry experience and capabilities to manage ITC’s operations, while the bank retains ownership of the assets.
Regarding applications, ITC not only maintains the bank’s Alnova Financial solution—its core banking application—but is also responsible for the maintenance and operations of Caixa Catalunya’s departmental applications and technical help desk. In addition, ITC is fully responsible for the support of the bank’s IT infrastructure.
The 230-plus member ITC team was initially built with 35 employees from Caixa Catalunya and 196 employees from Accenture and the market. The 150 bank employees that chose not to transfer to ITC were deployed to other branches or departments of the bank. In a demonstration of Caixa Catalunya’s social responsibility and in recognition of its obligation to the community in which it operates, all ITC staff work in Barcelona, thereby helping to grow the number of IT jobs in the region.
In 2005, Caixa Catalunya extended the original seven-year engagement with Accenture for an additional 10 years.
Efficiency gains obviously generate cost savings, but more importantly, they create the platform for high performance. By simplifying internal systems and processes, banks are better equipped to deliver differentiated products and services to customers more effectively, thus maximizing growth.
With Accenture as its service provider, Caixa Catalunya has flexible access to world-class business and information technology. As a result, the bank now enjoys a higher service level, with fewer incidents and greater platform availability. The bank has improved its operating efficiencies, as well as its sales and risk management capabilities. Furthermore, new technologies, leading practices and advanced innovations are continually introduced; helping Caixa Catalunya build on its successes and create sustainable competitive advantage.
By the end of the fifth year of the engagement, Caixa Catalunya had realized service cost savings of 29.5 percent—almost twice the 15 percent reduction that Accenture committed to initially—contributing to a greater than 30 percent reduction in the bank’s total IT budget. ITC also helped Caixa Catalunya reduce its cost-income ratio by 14 points in three years—outperforming its savings bank peers. The 10-year extension of the relationship by Caixa Catalunya supports the tremendous value of the collaboration to its business.
By teaming with Accenture, Caixa Catalunya has reduced its costs and enhanced its performance as well as achieved greater agility and flexibility in a dynamic market—the bank now has a firm foundation to further its journey to high performance.
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