Aktia: Improving Treasury Operational Efficiency
Aktia is a Finnish-owned finance group that offers banking, asset management, insurance and real estate agency services. It has about 350,000 customers who are served from more than 70 branch offices and via comprehensive internet and telephone services. The group is listed on the Helsinki exchange. It is a long time user of the Wallstreet Suite for its treasury operations, and has been a customer of SkySparc for upgrade and enhancement project support since 2004.
Several years after a successful upgrade to Wallstreet Suite version 6.5, which was done with SkySparc’s assistance, the Aktia group acquired a life insurance and a non-life insurance company that it migrated onto Wallstreet Suite using its own IT resources. Following the migration, some of the processes were not running as efficiently as previously, and alerts were not being generated in the treasury and limit monitors.
The group’s in-house IT department was busy with a number of other prioritised projects, and was unable to respond to the treasury department’s needs. Krister Widd, head of middle office at Aktia, was faced with a choice – either hire in-house dedicated treasury IT support for system maintenance, or retain an external Wallstreet local partner company to provide on-call business support. In making this decision, Widd considered overall cost, responsiveness and system expertise before signing up for SkySparc’s SkySupport service.
“SkySparc takes full ownership of all aspects of system support for our business. They liaise with our internal IT team, and directly with Wall Street Systems, saving us time and effort,” says Widd.
SkySupport gives Aktia a proactive financial and technical partner dedicated to maximising the availability and usefulness of Wallstreet Suite and integrated systems. For a low fixed monthly fee, SkySparc maintains automatic surveillance of Aktia’s operations – meaning it knows about any emerging problems before users do.
Aktia has direct phone access to true Wallstreet Suite solution experts with decades of experience. These dedicated consultants are on hand for time-sensitive problem solving, scheduled tasks, enhancement projects and strategic advice.
At Aktia, the SkySupport team’s first task was to install its auto surveillance tools to analyse system performance and identify any operating issues.
“Implementing the auto surveillance was our first priority,” says Widd. “We wanted to be sure that the real-time services were running efficiently. To speed up this process, I would recommend being very clear to your internal IT department about the associated requirements for hardware, firewall and mail server configuration.”
Once the auto surveillance tool was in place, SkySparc made configuration changes to core application and real-time processes – streamlining and ensuring Aktia was using Wallstreet Suite at optimum efficiency.
“Using SkySparc to analyse system processes is a cost-effective way of ensuring system efficiency,” says Widd. “We don’t have the requirement for a full-time support head-count, so by using SkySupport we’re saving at least 50% of the cost of the in-house support option. At the same time we have the benefit of knowing that our systems are being monitored proactively, and that we have a roadmap for making operational improvements. SkySupport gives us this.”
Another benefit of the SkySparc relationship is that Aktia can use its allocated time each month for other improvements or enhancements. The SkySupport team have completed a number of other projects for Aktia since the initial system optimisation. These include building a pricing interface.
“SkySparc takes full ownership of all aspects of system support for our business,” says Widd. “They liaise with our internal IT team, and interact directly with Wall Street Systems. Outsourcing this activity allows us to focus on our core business.
“A big value I get from the SkySparc support relationship is that I know I have someone checking all my processes in real time,” says Widd. “They know if we have a problem before we do, and they are very quick at getting to the root of a problem. I also value the personal relationship and the ability to pick up a phone and instantly speak with someone who is intimately familiar with our business and systems. It’s a great partnership in terms of the impartial advice we get in optimising our systems and processes, as well as the timing of our planned improvements.”