Woolwich buddies with Oracle to save £23m

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Woolwich buddies with Oracle to save £23m

Cliff Saran
A customer-tracking system originally co-developed with Oracle has saved Woolwich Independent Financial Advisors £23m.

Oracle has now begun selling the sales management and referral-tracking system to other financial firms.

Alan Keegan, commercial development director at Wifas, said Woolwich wanted a system that would allow it to create a close link with financial suppliers such as Standard Life.

He said the software was designed to manage the relationship between the company's IFAs and customers.

Commenting on the relationship with Oracle he said, "Our partnership has enabled us to create a best-in-class technology solution."

Keegan said Wifas has achieved productivity gains of 260% by using the software.

Work began on the system four years ago when Woolwich was looking to update its non-Y2K-compliant mainframe system. Rather than buying an off-the-shelf package, Keegan said, "We worked alongside Oracle to design the software."

One example of this collaboration was the work the financial services firm undertook with Oracle to ensure the software supported the Origo standard for electronic communications within the financial sector.

Keegan said 60% of his team spent time with Oracle to learn how it did consulting. "We developed the software by speaking the same language [as Oracle]."

This allowed Woolwich and Oracle to build the software using the technique of rapid prototyping, where users and developers work side-by-side on functionality and usability.

Keegan said the Woolwich staff who worked alongside Oracle were now occupying senior positions within Woolwich. "Our people have grown with the system."

"We have benefited by having a system that specifically meets our requirements," Keegan said.

While he would not be drawn on cost, Keegan said, "The cost of the software was very reasonable."

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