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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Microsoft exchange for FCMB

By Remmy Nweke

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has deployed the latest information technologies, Microsoft Exchange 2003, to provide an advanced email, messaging and collaboration solution.

This, the bank said was in a move to reposition as one of the top three banks in the country in the next four years.

The Microsoft-based software infrastructure has improved the bank’s internal processes, and allowed its internal stakeholders to communicate and collaborate more effectively. He listed some of the benefits of the new deployment.

Speaking on the software deployment, Mr. Ladi Balogun, the Managing Director/CEO of FCMB, said: “Technology is crucial to our business. To streamline operations, be efficient in all areas and allow customers to interact with us around-the-clock, via alternative channels, not just branches, we need a stable technology platform.”

The move also signals a shift in the relationship between the bank and its technology suppliers. Balogun says he prefers to see Microsoft as a key strategic partner and not just a company that simply drops off boxes of software.

“With a larger-scale business, we can offer customers a lower cost and higher quality banking service. We can also start effectively using technologies such as customer relationship management to improve our customers’ experience, and to identify new products and services,” the bank chief emphasizes.

Balogun justified the strategic alliance between the bank and Microsoft saying, “We are also working on a roadmap that will give us strong MIS [management information systems] such as business intelligence, document management, knowledge management and CRM. A partnership with our technology suppliers is therefore vital.”

“We are working with FCMB via our business partner, TITIS, over the next two months to provide an advanced email, messaging and collaboration solution based on our Exchange 2003 platform,” explains Mr. Adefolu Majekodunmi, the financial services industry manager at Microsoft Nigeria.

He explains that the Exchange 2003, “not only allows employees and management to communicate when they are at branches or the head office but allows them to be in contact from wherever they are.”

FCMB also lent its voice to the issue of software piracy and lauded Microsoft leadership in this.

“The market for ICT in Nigeria is huge, yet many multinational technology companies choose to ignore it. Microsoft is one of the few US software firms that has a direct presence here and, as such, they are well positioned to ensure compliance by users of their software and this is welcome. One of the benefits of enforcing piracy laws is that the international community will become aware of the attractive statistics of the Nigerian market,” he said.

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