SinoPac Holdings is the fourth-largest, privately-owned financial entity in Taiwan. It has more than U.S.$30 billion in total assets and its subsidiaries include a broad-range of financial services—from banks and credit cards to venture capital and financial consulting. The company uses information technology as a strategic tool. The company recognized that its core banking system, which was developed using COBOL programming language on a mainframe computer, no longer met its requirements and hindered its ability to remain competitive. SinoPac chose a new core banking system built on Windows Server® 2008 and Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008. The Microsoft Technology Center helped SinoPac select a vendor and develop a proof of concept, while helping the company improve its understanding of the technology. As a result, SinoPac gained a competitive advantage and improved IT efficiency.
With more than U.S.$30 billion in total assets, SinoPac Holdings is the fourth-largest privately-owned financial entity in Taiwan. The subsidiaries under the SinoPac Holdings banner include financial services such as banks, securities, credit cards, customer service centers, insurance agents, venture capital, management consulting, financial consulting, futures, and leasing. The company also has the most active worldwide presence of any Taiwanese financial entity. SinoPac currently has branches or offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Shanghai, Vietnam, and London, and is sole owner of a bank in California, Far East National Bank.
Presently, SinoPac has its eye on the Greater China economic region, using innovative investments in information technology (IT) to assist its business expansion and mergers. SinoPac places significant importance on IT and has a strategy to use IT to gain a competitive edge. Such a strategy is completely different from that of its competitors, which see IT as playing only a complementary role in business development.
Core banking systems have long been dominated by the COBOL programming language and mainframe computers. The core banking system that SinoPac used was developed using COBOL on a mainframe computer. However, the system could not meet SinoPac’s requirements for transferability, flexibility, and hindered its ability to remain competitive in the market. In addition, because of different local situations, different systems were used at its overseas locations, creating work process inconsistencies at the Taiwan headquarters.
Opening up new business or implementing a new concept often requires modifying data and systems. In a mainframe environment, however, data routes that are too long lead to inefficiency, with requests only met after having to pass through various levels of checkpoints. In contrast, a more flexible platform allows the user to obtain data quickly, facilitating innovation with the user-friendliness of “what you see is what you get.”
A Wintel system technology architecture is more distributed, but it uses a design like a digital nervous system that joins disciplined management with agile business capabilities, which makes it easier to connect and share, facilitating the formation of a stronger consensus.
As overseas business became a growing proportion of SinoPac’s business, the need for internal integration became greater and greater. The company sought to implement a core banking system that would enable it to resolve work process inconsistencies brought about by different systems and to avoid using costly middleware as a stop-gap measure.
||Microsoft is not only a technology provider, but an excellent partner helping us to create competitive advantage.
||Eugene Huang Deputy Executive General Manager,
With future flexibility and competitive advantages in mind, SinoPac decided be the first in the world to deploy the Temenos core banking system solution on the Windows Server® 2008 operating system and Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 data management software. Because SinoPac has successfully used Microsoft products and technologies to develop other solutions in the past, the company did not hesitate to turn to Microsoft for the platform for its banking system.
To face the inevitable challenges and risks of being an innovative leader, SinoPac relies not only on its deep professional know-how in the financial arena, but also on long-term cooperation with the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC), whose technology and resources strengthen its experience and confidence. SinoPac sees the MTC as a vital, important partner in its deployment process.
SinoPac was unfamiliar with Temenos, but the MTC architects assisted during the selection process. “Microsoft helped us in reviewing the solution to determine whether it suited our future requirements for competitive development and in weighing the costs of the investment. This enabled us to have more confidence in the entire system,” explains Eugene Huang, Deputy Executive General Manager of SinoPac Holdings.
After taking on a review of the vendor product’s architecture, the MTC staff provided an evaluation report to SinoPac as part of the second stage of the vendor selection process. This helped SinoPac save a substantial amount of time on the evaluation and deeper understanding of the technology. In addition, the architects at the MTC assisted SinoPac to communicate its requirements to vendors and validate its technology, no matter whether it was dealing with foreign vendors, or with local vendors responsible for systems related to branches and ATMs. This substantially reduced potential inaccuracies and omissions.
The MTC architects also played a key role in the proof-of-concept (POC) stage of the implementation process, helping SinoPac to validate the core banking system as a feasible solution.
Through the collaboration with the MTC, SinoPac was able to implement a core banking system that meets its business needs. As a result, the company is able to gain a competitive advantage and improve IT efficiency. The MTC team helped SinoPac select a vendor and develop a POC, while helping the company improve its understanding of the technology.
“The MTC has an R&D-level technological capacity, and SinoPac Holdings has professional financial practices. Whether in terms of applications or the exchange of common images and resources, together we implemented and realized a win-win strategy,” says Huang.
Gained Competitive Advantage
SinoPac is expanding further, including its overseas operations. By moving to a core banking system built on Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, rather than rigid mainframe systems and remote terminals, the company can more quickly engage in additional regional expansion plans and activities. “The competitive capability that comes with the flexibility of Windows Server is absolutely more efficient than a mainframe system with remote terminals. Microsoft is not only a technology provider, but an excellent partner helping us to create competitive advantage,” says Huang.
Improved IT Efficiency
In addition, SinoPac was able to improve its IT efficiency and respond to changing business needs. “Whether it is a merger or opening a new location, we can start up operations as quickly as possible in each new location with a solid foundation of a unified platform and technology architecture. This allows business and IT to truly be closely integrated,” points out Huang.
Even more importantly, in the wake of the globalization of finance, SinoPac’s products need further localization, including hiring local personnel, getting a local market outlook, and developing products suited to local demand. IT is an important tool in the promotion of these new products, and it is necessary to use a system that allows SinoPac to have things in place quickly. By using products, such as Windows Server 2008, SinoPac recognizes that it can more quickly respond to changing business demands.
Reduced Workload for Vendor Selection
The MTC architects assisted in choosing and communicating with a vendor, thoroughly reviewing the technology architecture of the third-party vendor’s product, and verifying that it met SinoPac’s business and technology requirements. With the MTC architects’ help, SinoPac was able to substantially reduce the amount of work to conduct such an evaluation on its own.
Andreas Andreades, CEO, Temenos comments: “This is a very important win for Temenos and confirms its position as the premier provider of packaged core banking solutions for large retail and corporate banks. Our experience in more than 700 banks worldwide including Jih Sun Bank in Taiwan is giving other banks confidence that we can support their business growth and competitiveness advantage. We look forward to building a strong and long term relationship with SinoPac by providing the support they need to achieve their business objectives.”
Proved Solution Functionality
The MTC staff also assisted SinoPac to develop a POC that helped the company validate the functionality of the solution. One critical proof was testing the change of the database architecture from a tree-style architecture to a relational architecture. The MTC architects conducted simple tests on one million data transfers provided by SinoPac. In one example, it previously took two hours to close an account. But, with the new database architecture, an account could be closed in only a couple minutes—an impressive system improvement.
In addition, SinoPac also wanted to test the availability of the system as it was necessary for it to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The guidance from the MTC professionals helped give SinoPac the confidence and capability for this high availability.
Improved Understanding of the Technology
Using the available resources and expert resources from the MTC also allowed SinoPac to gain a better grasp of and more confidence in the new system.
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