Intelligent banking

When the Central Bank of Lebanon brought in new compliance rules, the First National Bank of Lebanon began a three-year process to find and integrate a business intelligence solution. CFO Antoine Wakim explains why the company went with Misys.

Tags: Banking and financeMisys Banking Systems
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Intelligent banking FROUD: Misys’ business intelligence solution has been designed to be deployed quickly.
By  Ben Furfie Published  January 12, 2011

When the Central Bank of Lebanon brought in new compliance rules, the First National Bank of Lebanon began a three-year process to find and integrate a business intelligence solution. CFO Antoine Wakim explains why the company went with Misys.

In these days of instant decisions and rapidly changing business environments, it’s increasingly important for organisations to have the most accurate data available, as quickly as possible.

When the First National Bank of Beirut decided that it was time to invest in a business intelligence solution, it was quick to recognise that it would be a long-term project, one that it couldn’t – and shouldn’t – rush.

The bank, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has grown from a small family-owned bank to one of the largest in Lebanon with a multinational board. The bank’s size is now such that the company feels it is large enough to justify a fully-fledged business intelligence system. In addition, it needed to find an effective way to monitor its performance and ensure full compliance with the Central Bank of      Lebanon’s new directives.

The company conducted a lengthy evaluation of four business intelligence packages, but eventually settled on Misys Business Intelligence, reveals chief financial officer at First National Bank, Antoine Wakim, the driving force behind the implementation.

“As the foundation of our MIS programme, Misys Business Intelligence will help our managers to monitor our bank’s performance closely against our established operational targets,” says Wakim. “One of MBI’s greatest strengths is its ability to provide the proper level of detail to a particular user so that they see the exact type of information needed to make critical decisions.”

Despite recognising that the project would take a number of years to implement, the company was keen to avoid unnecessary delays in the new system going live. “One of the significant feature [in choosing MIB] was the speed at which it can be implemented, which will enabled to derive business benefits faster than through other alternative,” he says.

Another reason for the time it took to implement the new system was that the software wasn’t the only thing that needed integrating. “While, the scope of the project was a business intelligence solution, it did require some restructuring of our company databases, as well as some new hardware – in particular new servers.

“The main business benefit of the project is that it allows the First National Bank group to create a data warehouse for the information that we generate daily. The new business intelligence system from Misys will allow users within the company to manipulate the data, and view it in multiple dimensions – which ever is the best way for them to find the information they need to be able to do their jobs,” he adds.

“The system will be used exclusively by the bank’s management,” reveals Wakim. “In terms of the exact people who will be using it, it will mainly be senior management with some of the bank’s middle management using it where needed.”

The new system will be used across the bank’s three main offices, including its headquarters, which is based in the Beirut itself according to Wakim. The new servers that were introduced were largely brought in to accommodate the new system across the sites.

While the software is being delivered by Misys, Wakim is quick to point out that the system is another layer that sits on top of the bank’s existing systems in order to pull together the information being generated. According to Wakim, the solution will pull data from Infosphere, IBM Banking Data Warehouse and its solutions from its Cognos subsidiary, and Microsoft’s SQL server.

Despite the project being almost three years in the planning, the actual integration only took only six months – something Misys put down to the amount of planning and mature approach to the project by First National Bank’s executive team.

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