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Nottingham Building Society to overhaul core systems

Arif Mohamed

Nottingham Building Society, established in 1849, is about to embark on the biggest IT upgrade in its history, which will modernise its IT system and give customers access to online banking for the first time.

The building society's IT manager and a project manager will oversee 14 IT and business-led work streams over the next two years.

The business streams cover issues such as compliance, risk and auditing. The IT streams include establishing a new network, storage area network (SAN), and disaster recovery centre.

The firm will also replace its central mortgage system and other key applications, and implement Windows Server 2003 with Active Directory and Exchange Server 2003, and Citrix thin client software.

The project will have many challenges beyond normal "scope creep", anticipated IT manager Jack Cutts.

“It’s a very complex project. It’s like crossing the Atlantic and trying to change a jumbo jet engine: I’ve got to keep the business going,” he said.  

“Also, every single process in the business is going to change and we’re going to have to train every single person,” said Cutts. Nottingham has 500 employees.

To prepare for the IT overhaul, the firm has frozen all IT changes for three months “so we can go through and make sure everything is stable. That will enable us to buy some time,” said Cutts.

Systems integrator Esteem Systems is designing the new IT infrastructure and will project manage the installation of new servers, storage and software, as well as the migration of data.

The key driver for the change was the need to upgrade the core savings and mortgage system, Unisys Smart Channel Manager, which Nottingham has been using for eight years.

It will replace this with TietoEnator Summit, which will allow the firm to offer customers online products and instant quotes, and allow products to be added and changed easily, said Cutts.

Nottingham will run the legacy system alongside the new one, going live in phases. The mortgage application will be operable in the third quarter of 2007, and the savings system by the second quarter of 2008.

At the same time, Nottingham will consolidate all its servers onto blades and go live with a new branch network covering 33 branch offices.


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