The introduction of the Single European Payment Area (SEPA) focussed the attention of financial institutions on the payment instruments regulation in the sphere of SEPA (SEPA credit transfers, Euro and foreign currency credit transfers, SEPA direct debits and multi-currency operation management).
SEPA is, without doubt, an opportunity to strengthen competitive positions in payment and direct debit services at the European level. In order to adapt to the change, it will be simultaneously necessary to manage compliance to SEPA standards and implementation of new strategic goals including offering high added value Additional Optional Services (AOS).
Compliance to SEPA standards of itself does not appear sufficient to cover the revenue reduction forecast, considering the critical state of the current competitive scenario. In this, new profit generation by offering innovative payment instruments will be an essential condition in delivery of maximum benefit from the SEPA opportunity. To achieve this aim, it will be necessary, at the same time, to attract transaction volume from competitor banks and develop innovative proposals for both corporate and retail clients.
With this viewpoint, UniCredit has commenced an ambitious programme for total renewal of its ICT infrastructures in the GPE (Group Payments Engine) sphere, to improve efficiency and profitability in European payments management.
The focal point of the programme is guided by two main drivers:
- Extending the product range
- Reducing time-to-market for new products
- Producing a single product catalogue, which can be customised at a country level
- Increasing flexibility of offering
- Creating an innovative, advanced platform
- Reducing business costs
- Augmenting modular SW structure, facilitating integration thanks to SOA architecture
- Creating a multi-country software platform.
Unicredit chose NTT DATA as its strategic partner in this challenging project because of its’ specific know-how and experience in innovative, modular technology like VTPie. The implementation of an open and scalable GPE platform has been defined in detail. This enables the implementation of other domestic payments and direct debits typologies, as well as offering SDD services commencing in November 2009 and SCT services commencing in April 2010 to Italian and Austrian customers.
Open system implementation of Service Oriented Architecture based software satisfies the requisite of contained operating costs and the necessary speed of implementation of the basic modules and of high added value products which will deliver differentiation of the Unicredit Group offer.