Success Story: Barclays

Axway and Barclays: A Winning Team for EBICS Time-To-Market

  • Headquarters

    London, United Kingdom
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Implement EBICS connectivity and migrate corporate customers within a tight time frame

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Complex project completed in time for X.25 phase-out
    • Enhanced security protocols guarantee highest available protection and compliance
    • Fully redundant platform ensures 24x7 operation
    • Robust and reliable platform
    • Fast customer on-boarding
    • Excellent experience with Axway Professional Services team leads to long-term relationship
    • All stakeholders including senior management, internal customer-facing teams and customers highly satisfied with the project outcome and EBICS connectivity services
    • Satisfaction of Barclays’ customers creates cross-selling opportunities

We found in Axway a company that was not only capable of providing one of the best solutions on the market, but was also able to accompany us on an international level and throughout complex organizational changes.

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, and wealth and investment management. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. In 2011, Barclays Group’s profit before tax amounted to £5.9 billion.

International ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s recently rated Barclays Bank PLC at A+ and Aa3, respectively. As a result, Barclays is one of the most highly rated financial institutions in the world.

With operations in France since 1917, Barclays France now serves more than 170,000 customers and maintains a network of over 120 distribution points across France.

Critical EBICS¹ Implementation

Achieved in record time with Axway Financial Integration

Grégoire Comte, Head of Cash Management Products — Development & Implementation at Barclays Corporate Banking France, is responsible for developing and launching new products for the corporate market and cash management. He explained how Axway Financial Integration (Axway FI) was chosen to help Barclays with its EBICS implementation. "We needed to find a partner that could commit to our tight time constraints while providing a superior EBICS solution. Fortunately, Axway was quickly identified as the right partner to ensure full functional scope and speed-to-delivery for this highly critical project. Axway adapted to our time and organizational constraints beautifully. Thanks to Axway’s expertise and readiness, we succeeded in implementing secure and stable EBICS connectivity for our customers in 5 months, faster than any other financial institution in the market, and within the required timeframe. From a financial point of view, we were able to protect a substantial amount of income and significantly grow our business."

From a financial point of view, we were able to protect a substantial amount of income and significantly grow our business.

A Challenging Backdrop

Project requires more than just a great solution

The X.25 protocol Barclays had been using was scheduled to be phased out. If Barclays did not succeed in implementing EBICS, the bank could lose customers. The short timeline and potential business impact of the EBICS migration project presented some tough challenges for Axway and Barclays.

In addition, Axway and Barclays had to contend with:

  1. Adapting to and manoeuvring within a multi-site and multi-cultural environment, as the project was managed between UK and French teams
  2. Mobilizing the team to work during year-end holiday time-off periods
  3. Being the first entity worldwide to implement EBICS, a relatively unknown protocol outside of France and Germany
  4. Being the first entity worldwide to launch Swift 3sKey certificates

Teamwork Pays Off

Positive feedback from internal teams, management and customers

"Due to the challenges we were facing and the business at stake, the EBICS migration project had high visibility within Barclays," said Comte. "Thanks to the rigorous and intensive teamwork with all teams involved and with Axway, the success of the project was widely acknowledged by senior management at Barclays."

Barclays’ customers also praised the success of the project thanks to quick on-boarding and reliable service. "We designed the service to enable quick and smooth on-boarding of customers. All the procedures and processes were set up ahead of time to ensure customer satisfaction. We can on-board customers smoothly within the day without IT teams intervention," Comte continued. "Our clients have given testimonials at international events such as Eurofinance with regard to their satisfaction with the EBICS connectivity offered by Barclays. Our customers are extremely demanding. They are multi-national corporations with yearly revenues exceeding €500 million. In addition, they are often multi-banked and they can easily compare services offered between banks. The success of the EBICS implementation reinforced Barclays’ professionalism and credibility in the eyes of our customers."

Cash Sales (cash management sales experts), Customer Implementation and Product Management teams at Barclays are also delighted with the product. The three teams work closely together throughout the sales cycle and product implementation. The teams are autonomous with Axway FI, which means they do not have to rely on IT to on-board customers. "Our sales and implementation teams are both customer facing, and the teams work closely together with each customer. The fact that the EBICS connectivity service based on Axway FI delivers what we promised to our customers brings credibility and confidence in the service to these key teams. In this context, a satisfied customer is more likely to purchase additional services. The success of the implementation of Axway FI enhanced mutual trust and created multiple cross-selling opportunities. This is another important advantage in working with a recognized market leader and expert such as Axway."

The success of the implementation of Axway FI enhanced mutual trust and created multiple cross-selling opportunities. This is another important advantage in working with a recognized market leader and expert such as Axway.

Rigorous Security and Reliability Requirements

To ensure safe transit of several hundred million euros per week

EBICS is a protocol that was devised in Germany and France, relatively less known by IT departments in the UK. Barclays Bank is particularly rigorous in terms of security, and therefore Axway had to prove to Barclays Group Information Security that the EBICS protocol would meet their stringent requirements. Axway was challenged by Barclays to bring several security improvements to the product. "Of the many banks using Axway EBICS connectivity today, we were the only one who required such a level of enhanced security. Once again, Axway was able to adapt to our specific requirements. We now have an offer that is the best on the market in terms of secure banking host-to-host connectivity. The improvements made through our collaboration with Axway have since been copied at many other banks," said Comte.

Axway Financial Integration is hosted at Barclays UK within the Investment Banking branch, and is configured for 24x7 availability. "Thanks to Axway’s vast experience with many major banks, its products are designed to offer high availability as a standard. We have been able to offer a solution that is perfectly stable, secure, and highly available in an extremely short time frame," said Comte. "Time to recover files has been reduced to a couple of minutes."

Finely Tuned End-to-End Monitoring and Operations

Sentinel helps ensure safe transit of several hundred million euros per week

Barclays uses Axway Sentinel for live, proactive service monitoring. The alerts are set up so that any service incidents are spotted and handled immediately. Customer service has end-to-end monitoring on the payments flow. Using Sentinel ensures there is never a situation where a payment is on-hold between two applications, and each application reports to customer service "no incident". As a result, no file has ever been lost, and the service has a level of incidents as low as that of the SwiftNet FileAct offering (zero incidents recorded since Go Live). The process has also been improved with automated controls, enabling full straight-through-processing (STP) of payments.

Throughout the EBICS migration project, Barclays had an excellent experience with Axway Professional Services. Comte concluded, "We found in Axway a company that was not only capable of providing one of the best solutions on the market, but that was also able to accompany us on an international level, and throughout complex organizational changes. Through our success, we want to further collaborate in the future."

¹Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard

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