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Q & A with John Russell, Central Bank of Oman

John has been based in the Middle East for the past 20 years, but made the trip to ACI Exchange 2012 in Monaco to offer a central bank perspective on implementing BASE24-eps as a national payments switch. In this Q&A, he touches on some of his key thoughts.

How have banks traditionally developed their payments systems? How has this led to cobbled together and siloed legacy systems?
Banks have generally bought software packages, rather than developed their own software. However, they have frequently bought separate applications to meet separate needs. How to integrate those individual applications is now achieving an increasing amount of attention. The more “siloed” approach of the past is starting to break-down.

What challenges do banks face in this context and why should they consider moving to new systems?
There are two main threads here: Firstly, banks are investing in systems integration software to facilitate greater software integration across the enterprise. Secondly, banks are avoiding “single service systems” and are favouring systems that support multiple services, as standard. For example, some banks in the past bought a system to handle their ATM service and a separate system (often from a separate vendor) to handle their Point of Sale (POS) service. These older, single service systems are being replaced with a single system, such as BASE24-eps, that supports both an ATM and a POS service.

How does BASE24-eps allow banks to achieve better payments?
A great deal depends upon what we mean by “better payments”. Banks are continually striving to drive down the cost per transaction. Deploying BASE24-eps can help them achieve this and so help to make their payments more cost-effective. From the point of view of reliability and resilience, BASE24-eps can help the banks move to a new level of customer service when BASE24-eps is used to replace older, less reliable, systems. This can translate into enhanced customer loyalty through superior customer service. Another aspect of “better payments” is a seamless customer experience from channel to channel. A flexible, yet well integrated service delivery platform, like BASE24-eps helps a bank to achieve this much more cost-effectively than a collection of disparate systems.

What are the examples of innovation that can drive real value for banks?
The innovations that drive value for banks will vary from bank to bank and from market to market. A key aspect of successful innovation is for the bank to ensure that it’s services are closely aligned to its strategic goals and that those goals are well defined and persistently communicated.

Do you have experience of banks that have migrated from BASE24 to BASE24-eps – and how it has benefitted them?
I have never worked on such a migration myself, however, generally speaking the skills needed to support a BASE24-eps system should be cheaper and more widely available than those needed for BASE24. This may translate into reduced operational costs for some banks.

Payments Expert

ACI Worldwide powers electronic payments for financial institutions, retailers and processors around the world with its broad and integrated suite of electronic payment software.

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