New name, lots of experience

Sopra Banking Software may be a new name on core banking’s world map, but it is certainly not a newcomer. Its formation was formally announced on the Sibos exhibition in Osaka, Japan, late October. The company is a merger of three entities: the Sopra Group’s bank software division, Delta Informatique and Callataÿ& Wouters. We had a talk with Marc De Groote, Managing Director.Marc De Groote

How did all the pieces fit together?
Marc De Groote: “The three constituent parts of our company were already very complementary in their solution ranges. At the same time, each business also brought in decades of experience.”

What needs does Sopra Banking Software address?
Marc De Groote: “Currently, the banking sector has plenty of challenges. Regulation is one example. Risk and business operations management is another. Banks also worry about customers switching between banks more easily or wanting access through a greater variety of channels than ever. We believe that we can help out here. Our solution range, the Sopra Banking Suite, help banks manage risk and operations more effectively as well as vastly improve customer profiling. In turn, this will help them create the innovations that meet their customers’ demands.”

What kind of banks do you expect to serve?
Marc De Groote: “Basically, due to our international reach, we can serve any bank, anywhere in the world. We’re already active in 70 countries, and further global expansion is high on our list. In terms of markets, we focus on retail, private and direct banks. We also have distinct value propositions for banking domains such as lending, compliance, card management, cash management and payments. The Suite can be implemented directly as a fully integrated core banking system, or an ‘à la carte’ basis that only installs modules as needed. Especially for larger banks with complex, aggregate IT systems, the Sopra Banking Suite supports a thorough ‘transformation approach’. In this case, banks can keep using what legacy systems they wish to retain, due to the Sopra Banking Suite’s service-oriented architecture (SOA).”

So is it right to assume that Sopra Banking Software will also be involved in implementation?
Marc De Groote: “That’s right. Implementation is just as crucial to successful core banking software as is the product itself. We strongly believe in our implementation methodology, which is the result of decades of experience with a proven track record, and is still tweaked with each new customer, creating a feedback loop of improvement. We also offer maintenance support and training.Of course, we partner up with third parties, too. In fact, we’re lucky to count a large number of global and local hardware, software, implementation and service partners in our network.”

Speaking of strategy, what’s the company’s outlook for 2013?
Marc De Groote: “Actually, it’s looking pretty good. As I said before, we already have our existing customers that we will continue to support and build relationships with. In addition, our increased reach will enable us to serve even more customers with a broadened offering, which was one of the primary reasons for the merger anyway. We were happy that two of our constituent parts were listed in Gartner’s 2012 International Retail Core Banking ‘Magic Quadrant’ as a ‘Leader’ and ‘Visionary’, respectively. They owed this status in part due to their business principles, project methodology and the backbone support of the Sopra Group, which to us proves that Sopra Banking Software is truly greater than the sum of its parts. In 2013, we will work very hard to keep our existing customers’ in our solutions, and convince many new banks how we can help them become better banks.”