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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BMI activates Equinox

Mozambique-based mercantile and investment bank, Banco Mercantile De Investimentos SARL (BMI) is now live on Equinox Banking System.

The bank went live on the solution within a record implementation time of 16 weeks.

Champion Infotel recalled that mid last year, BMI struck a deal with Neptune Software Plc for the translation, conversion and development of a Portuguese version of Equinox Banking System.

Owing to the weight of the project, which required full translation and conversion the solution originally available in English and French languages, were estimated to last about nine months.

It was gathered that Neptune devised a sophisticated project management strategy and committed huge resources that transformed the whole scheme including translation, data conversion, platform migration, customization and implementation completion within a period of 16 weeks.

Commenting on the deployment, Chairman, Banco, Mr. Matabele, recalled that the decision to select Neptune’s Equinox for the bank was a balance between Neptune’s long standing reputation in software translation and migration as was witnessed in the work done in SIAB Bank Togo and its commitment to serve the African market, using resources that have deep experience in implementing Equinox.

Head, Business Development, Neptune Kenya, Mr. George Agu, described the development as a rare one.

“Rarely can a project fail if various stakeholders work with the right mindset and cooperate well in areas where there inputs are required,” he said, adding that the company is very impressed with the response of BMI team, which he said reduced the envisaged language barrier to a non-issue during the project.

“We’re well aware of the potentials in the Portuguese market and we will be riding on this momentum in carving our niche for ourselves in the Portuguese market within Africa and beyond,” he enthused.

Disclosing that the implementation and conversion strategy adopted by Neptune Software towards this project meant that several task-works had to run in parallel.

At first, he said, Neptune arranged for preliminary super-user training for senior managers of the bank in their training facility in Nairobi, Kenya, which enabled the transfer of high level product knowledge to the bank and appreciated the capability of the BMI team in regards to computer literacy, business knowledge, product branding and configurations.

“The feedback provided by the BMI team after the training exercise was very useful in understanding their expectation and key pressing issues and focus areas of the bank,” company sources said.

In addition, a phased approach was adopted in deploying the various deliverables to the bank, citing for instance, the translation that took place in Neptune’s United Kingdom (UK) office, while a parallel implementation of the product was being executed in English by the bank’s product owners and the technical consultants.

Likewise, end user training, he said, was being organised in a training facility in Maputo with the help of an interpreter, just as the final converted products were test-run as at early October, followed by a pre-go-live data audit to ensure that the account balances and transactions are correct, even as the user acceptance test was completed by mid-November, which enabled it to go-live on December 1, 2007.

IT manager of BMI, Mr. Antonio Alafo, commended Neptune’s effort on the whole project, saying “Surely, we have seen for ourselves the reasons why Neptune has been extremely successful in its projects.”

We all knew that we had a lot of work to do in this project but Neptune’s approach made it look very simple. We were able to relate well with their consultants and they worked seamlessly with the bank. We are now geared up for our aggressive marketing campaign and launch programs on multiple value add services for our loyal customers, as we have extensively tested the Equinox UBS and are confident of its ability to stand the test of time.”

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