The dream of implementing a new electronic banking system has turned into a nightmare for Western Australia's Home Building Society (HBS). The company had hoped that, by introducing the Telepac banking solution as the first part of its three-pronged enterprise-wide systems upgrade, it would realise substantial cost and organisational benefits. According to the manager of the project, however, the software supplied by Financial Network Services (FNS) is incomplete and more trouble than it's worth.
"The way [the project's] turned out, we've saved nothing. Actually, we've marginally increased costs. It actually takes more maintenance than our previous system did," said Ian Nicholls, senior manager of information systems at HBS.
Along with Telepac, HBS installed the FNS-supplied BANCS retail banking application as the first phase of an extensive upgrade project. After going live on May 5 this year, he said the system has experienced numerous problems, mainly due to what he calls an "incomplete" product set. He explained that HBS had originally purchased the BANCS banking system, but felt obligated to also incorporate the companion Telepac solution. "We bought BANCS and Telepac came with it, so we didn't actively choose it," Nicholls said.
Although it believed that Telepac was not ready to cope with the rigours of its business needs, Nicholls said HBS had no choice but to go live with the software. With the millennium issue staring it in the face, he said the organisation had to bite the technology bullet and go live with the solution in its current form.
"The problem was that our old system wasn't 2000 compliant," he said. "But we had to go somewhere. We reached a point where we couldn't go any further with the old system so we had to go live. I think eventually we'll end up with a decent system, but we just couldn't wait for FNS [to improve the software] so we had to go with what it had. We went live with a few features missing that were left out because they weren't completed on time. So no, we're not one hundred per cent happy with the way things have turned out."
Nicholls said HBS is currently working alongside FNS to "iron out" the imperfections of the software.