|BUSINESSONE has gained considerable recognition for its successful deployment of e-based banking solutions
|Under the corporate umbrella of one of the Middle East’s stronger IT solution providers, Jordan’s STS Group, BUSINESSONE started just 2 years ago and has in that short time gained considerable recognition for its successful deployment of e-based banking solutions.
Counting a number of key institutions among its growing client base, the company operates out of Dubai Internet City and is one of the few companies based there to actually develop not only a useful and needed product but also, and probably more importantly, produce financial returns sufficient enough to fund internal growth. This in itself stands testimony to the quality of the company’s product range and level of expertise.
While it could be said that the company had something of a head start, in so much as its parent STS was already heavily involved with the Middle East banking sector as the local distributor and support team for Mosaic Software’s range of ATM and payment systems, the team at BUSINESSONE are autonomous and to a degree, by nature of their location, separated from the group. "It was not a story of a business starting from scratch and learning as things go. Instead it was a case of learning and building and modifying on already well-built and well-paved bases," comments Mr. Amjad Rahhal, Chief Operating Officer at BUSINESSONE.
"This was STS’ gift to BUSINESSONE, which we translated by first venturing into e-Government by delivering a full-fledged infrastructure for the State of Qatar, and then as part of our solution to Fastlink, Jordan, we implemented a Security and Authentication solution based on Vasco Hardware tokens technologies." explained Mr Rahhal.
From this starting point BUSINESSONE began work on the development of their own software offerings. ReTAILONE came first. A scalable e-banking solution enabling banks to offer their clients a wide range of innovative products across multiple delivery channels on one open platform. ReTAILONE was then followed by their second solution PayONE, a payment gateway that provides Account-2-Account transfer as well as Card Payment processing, through both Peer-2-Peer and conventional EFTPOS mechanisms.
Putting the blocks together
Much of the groundwork for ReTAILONE was carried out during their Arab Bank e-banking project, which was awarded to BUSINESSONE and its parent STS in Jordan. This particular project has evolved in to a full Internet and WAP banking system used by Arab Bank throughout its worldwide operations. The success at Arab Bank resulted in a steady stream of orders from regional banks, including an Internet and Kiosk banking application for the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance in Jordan, an IVR and SMS banking project at Egypt’s Cairo International Bank and moving further a field, an ebanking support and integration project at Bank of Valetta in Malta.
Jordan’s Housing Bank for Trade & Finance, is ranked first among Jordanian banks in terms of capital, shareholders equity, and geographic coverage, and is an excellent reference for BUSINESSONE’s capabilities.
"In order to attain a larger share of the market, Housing Bank saw it imperative to unify all customers’ interactions across different touch points," said Mr. Khaled EL’Saeed, Internet Banking Project Manager at HBTF. "Adopting a two phased approach we aimed in phase 1 to provide web and Kiosk access and then in Phase 2 to integrate that information with customer contact data stored anywhere else in the institution."
BUSINESSONE was awarded the contract and completed the first phase in a period spanning just 90 days using a number of components from ReTAILONE, with a further 60 days allowed for security consultants to finish penetration and security tests. All HBTF clients are now able to access their accounts through the Internet, as well as the bank’s Kiosks. In November of last year HBTF contracted BUSINESSONE to implement the second phase of the project.
"What we are after is to reach a point where we have an easily expandable, deployable and easy-to-use solution allowing us to write once and deploy everywhere thus allowing our clients seamless interaction and benefit from our services. And I believe with this last phase of our eBanking project, we are almost there." said Mr. Abdel Qader Dweik, General Manager at HBTF.
For this particular stage of the project BUSINESSONE turned to IBM and their WebSphere environment. "In order to better support the Bank’s future goals we are in the process of migrating the existing e-Banking platform to WebSphere, a more durable, re-usable J2EE technology-based platform, and one which is easily scalable to integrate new delivery channels." said Mr. Rahhal.
A different challenge faced BUSINESSONE at Malta’s Bank of Valetta (BOV), the Island country’s largest banking and financial services group, were the bank was already using a mix of products running on both centralised and distributed platforms. "There are an enormous number of Maltese living and working around the world and the Internet allows us to significantly extend our reach, while also giving our customers immediate access to home based banking facilities." says Victor Denaro, Executive Head of IT at Bank of Valetta. "What we needed to achieve was overall efficiency in the management of our customer interactions regardless of the medium used and that’s where BUSINESSONE came in."
"BOV has relied heavily on technology driven customer service since the 80’s when we were the first bank in Malta to adopt PC driven branch automation," continued Mr Denaro, "Our application of technology in customer service and delivery areas has been one of the key contributors to the bank’s success and the Internet was a logical progression."
BUSINESSONE custom integrated systems from Altitude Software with DataDesign e-finance products providing centralized e-Service strategy to facilitate more efficient information sharing. In turn this resulted in faster and more cost-efficient real-time processing of financial transactions for BOV. With its new multi-channel banking system, BOV now delivers services via high-performance alternative delivery channels such as the Internet, IVR, Mobile devices and its Customer Service Center.
Building on their foundations
With these and other successful projects under its belt, BUSINESSONE is squarely focused on the banking sector. A focus that the company is keen to support by continuing to develop its own products as opposed to simply adopting building blocks from other vendors or becoming an extension of another vendors marketing arm. This development work is carried out at both the company’s Dubai Internet City headquarters as well as at their parent’s facilities in Jordan.
"BUSINESSONE’s paramount concern is to focus on supplying customized offerings to its customers, and these are differentiated in terms of flexibility and scope," explains Mr Rahhal. "By meticulously following a Quality-based, well-proven and professional Software development methodology, based on Rational Unified Process (RUP) with Rational Tools, we build components that adopt reusable architecture, and hence save our customers both time and money." he continued.
Based on the company’s track record the company’s business model has resulted in offerings that more than meet their customer’s expectations, and, is ultimately paving the way for continued success stories. However, Mr Rahhal and his team don’t intend to loose sight of their goals.
"Success is a relative term," says Mr Rahhal, "it directly depends on who is saying it and what they truly mean by it. To us success means continually enhancing our delivery methodologies by making sure that what we offer is not just the best we can produce, but guaranteeing that it is what the client truly wants."