HBOS loans case study _version II_indd

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					 HBOS loans case study
                         Online and white-labelled
                         Helping HBOS Unsecured Personal Loans deliver new customers across
                         multiple sales channels

                         Background                               process and design continuity           and continuity; would it meet the
                         E-commerce and a multi-brand             between their pages and the             accessibility criteria required by law;
                         offering are two important levers        microsite. We knew we needed to         could it solve our day-to-day content
                         to growth for HBOS, one of the UK’s      make enhancements and future-           management problems?”
                         biggest banking groups.                  proof the service we were offering.”
                                                                                                          iE answered these questions with its
                         The Partnerships business is             Among other issues was the              NetFinance Montage content
                         composed of relationships with a         need to comply with Disability          management suite. Using Montage,
                         wide range of partner organisations,     Discrimination Act legislation          Partnerships staff can make changes
                         including The AA, British Gas and        for website accessibility, plus         to text, colours, logos, rates on loan
                         Home Shopping Personal Finance.          the increasing obligations of the       calculators and other elements of
                         The joint venture relationships          Consumer Credit Act.                    partners’ microsites at lower cost to
                                                                                                          HBOS and with a faster turnaround
                                                                  As partners sought to bring
                                                                                                          time for partners. iE ticked several
                                                                  their own sites up to speed with
                                                                                                          other boxes:
                                                                  impending regulation, pressure
                                                                  mounted for a more responsive           •Readily available outsourced
                                                                  process and system solution.             hardware platform
                                                                  Underlying all of these issues,         •Common software platform for
                                                                  according to Hardwick, was a central     range of financial products
                                                                  problem of version control. The         •Performance and scalability
                                                                  microsites had to meet as many          •Flexible development
                                                                  different design criteria as there       methodology
                                                                  were partners. Routine changes
                                                                                                          •System integration expertise
                                                                  requested by partners to the text
                                                                  and graphics on their microsites
                                                                  were taking up to three weeks to        The company proposed to solve the
                                                                  implement. Additionally, there          upgrade challenge by basing the
                                                                  was recognition of the need to          new loans system on a third-party
                                                                  update the existing technology,         hosting service and was able to
                                                                  which triggered a review of the         negotiate very competitive terms
                                                                  Partnerships e-commerce strategy.       on the strength of its existing
                         offer own-branded retail financial        Says Hardwick: “Faced with a            relationship with the service
                         products, including loans and            major hardware upgrade and with         provider. The prospect of using a
                         credit cards. These “white-labelled”     mounting business pressure to make      common online platform for loans
                         products are sold through call           the software slicker, more robust and   and credit cards was also appealing.
                         centres and, increasingly, online.       fully compliant, it was time to make
                         The same infrastructure, used to         fundamental changes.”
                         broker third party loans, is also used   The proposed solution
                         to deliver a large proportion of HBOS’   A review of approved suppliers
                         own loans brands, Halifax, Bank of       identified Intelligent Environments
                         Scotland and Intelligent Finance.        (iE) as a potential technology
                         Research firm Datamonitor indicates       provider. iE had already supplied
                         that 24% of UK adults would go on        a NetFinance online credit card

                         line to look for a loan and this figure   application and customer service
                         increases to 47% in the 18-24 year       platform to Halifax Card Services,
                         age group.                               which also offered cards for some of
                         During the summer of 2004                the Partners, so the technology and
                         Partnerships initiated a review of       the relationship were proven.
                         their web sites. As senior project       Hardwick says: “iE had good
                         manager Paul Hardwick puts it,           credentials, but the key factor was
                         “After four years, our approach          whether or not it could help us to
                         needed reviewing. A number               address the issues partners were
                         of partners were looking for             bringing to us. Could their system
                         improvements to the application          deliver better design aesthetics
The NetFinance platform also met HBOS’ criteria for future-      The project
proofing technology solutions used by the group, namely that      Core development of the loans system was completed
it would have the performance to cope with substantially         within five months – a demanding but not untypical
increased traffic loads and the scalability to accommodate        implementation schedule for NetFinance, according to Andy
new partnership brands.                                          Sloman, development director, iE.
                                                                 “E-commerce projects are infamous for frenetic development.
                                                                 This is because competition and the pace of change on the
                                                                 Web are so intense. Things have to be done fast, but they still
                                                                 have to be done right. It helps that a substantial proportion
                                                                 of code is common from NetFinance project to project, and
                                                                 that our .NET based development methodology produces
                                                                 rapid solutions for the remaining customer-tailored aspects
                                                                 of the project. It also helped that we had an existing working
                                                                 relationship with HBOS having helped them build the credit
                                                                 card system.”
                                                                 Post NetFinance implementation
                                                                 More than 40 sites, including HBOS’ own-branded products,
                                                                 are now up and running. The design was tested and
                                                                 accredited for usability and accessibility by an independent
As a strong advocate of Microsoft’s .NET web services            Another key metric for the success of the system is sales of
technology, iE was able to guarantee rapid implementation,       loan protection insurance. Protection is an important part of
efficient design and a high degree of flexibility as               the loan’s proposition.
fundamental characteristics of NetFinance. It was also able to
point to benchmarking tests, publicly endorsed by Microsoft,     As Hardwick says, “We needed to ensure that the internet
that demonstrate huge performance gains since the platform       sales process would provide clear information to better
was migrated to the .NET environment.                            promote the benefits of cover.
With its long track record of developing client/server           Hardwick believes strongly in the multi-channel approach.
and legacy-to-web delivery tools iE’s system integration         “What we see is that by managing the balance of channels
credentials were also important. A key feature of the            you can improve the service you deliver to the end customer,
proposed system would be its ability to give applicants          while helping control the overall cost to the business,” he
a rapid decision on whether or not their loans had been          says. “Our online system is vital in retaining high-quality
approved. In technical terms, the web server and the             partners and attracting new ones. It had to be best of breed
mainframe based HBOS FEPS loans processing system would          and capable of scaling to support cross sales of other HBOS
need to talk via an IBM MQ Series connection, against the        Group products to our partners. We believe we now have a
background of growing volumes and higher systems stability       system that can help us achieve our objectives.”

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