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key selling points. Cook envisaged that vendors, confronted by more widespread deployment of CRM-specific tools on the users’ desktops, would adapt by accommodating greater flexibility on the front-end.

• The choice of T24

After functionality and openness was evaluated, Blueshore selected Temenos and its offering.

The selection team concluded that T24 best supported its banking products and high-touch customer service. It boasted the wide range of functionality that fitted Blueshore’s needs, yet provided the best environment for real-time integration with its crucial CRM, ECM and BI systems.

‘Every banking system has its own CRM functionality. I am sure it works well. But if a credit union or bank is seriously into CRM – if it is changing its culture to a CRM culture – it needs to talk to a CRM company.

‘No matter which standalone CRM system an institution uses, and we use Pivotal CRM from CDC Software, it approaches that system with a whole different thought process than a core banking system. With T24, we could choose how we wanted to use other systems to create a unique banking environment. We wanted to have that choice.’

Blueshore was not blind to the risk. T24 was claimed to have been localised to the Canadian market and the vendor reassured Cook of its commitment to that market, but, at the time, Temenos lacked a Canadian office.

‘It was not for the faint of heart,’ said Cook, ‘but we were focused on buying the right solution’.

The two parties signed contracts in December 2006. Temenos managed the implementation. The team included professionals from Temenos, Blueshore, HP and Microsoft.

• Project kick-off

The project kicked off in March, 2007, with a scoping phase and gap analysis, conducted jointly by Blueshore, Temenos and HP.

While on the outsourced Visionwest system, Blueshore had run a lean-technology shop, but, for the conversion, Cook beefed up the team with new hires.

Luckily, Cook himself understood in-house systems, coming over to Blueshore from a large Canadian credit union with an in-house core.

Cook established a temporary quality assurance (QA) department for the conversion, tasked with keeping the process on track. He deputised members of Blueshore’s central services department and transferred them to QA.

In-house versus outsourcing

‘The project was starting to roll. We were doing the gap analysis,’ said Cook.

Suddenly, the project was interrupted in April, when Blueshore and Prospera Credit Union began discussing a possible merger that would have formed British Columbia’s third largest credit union.

Prospera already used an in-house system, Fincentric’s Wealthview, which Cook’s team had evaluated as part of Blueshore’s selection process.

The option to consolidate onto Wealthview rather than convert to Temenos’ T24 appeared on the table.

‘We stopped the project and conducted a mini-review, similar to our initial system selection, of Wealthview,’ said Cook.

Wealthview was compared directly to T24 Model Bank for Canada. Cook admitted that the situation was unique in his career, and distracted his team.

However, just three months later, all discussions ceased and the original conversion was back on track, albeit drastically slowed by the interruption.

Then, a new paradigm crept into discussions, the ‘better way’ that Cook imagined earlier.

Core Banking Systems Case Studies: North America 19

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