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CIMB Group invests US$351 million in regional banking platform

AvantiKumar | Sept. 2, 2010
1Platform project is part of Malaysian financial group's major IT transformation plan.
KUALA LUMPUR, 2 SEPTEMBER 2010 -- Malaysian financial firm CIMB Group has invested US$351 million [RM1.1 billion] in a regional core banking platform called 1Platform to serve Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, it said.

CIMB Group's group chief executive Dato' Sri Nazir Razak said technology partners, which include Silverlake Axis, Accenture, IDS Scheer, and IBM, would set up 1Platform over the next five years.

During a signing ceremony that formalised the appointment of the IT partners, Nazir said 1Platform is the largest component of CIMB Group's regional operations transformation plan, which is expected to cost US$670 million [RM 2.1 billion]. "The other four main components of the blueprint are its financial reporting and management system, integrated human resource (HR) management system, all-new front-end sales management system, and regional transaction banking system."

Our significant investment in our operations transformation, and within it, 1Platform, reflects our commitment towards establishing the internal systems and processes for CIMB Group to operate as one entity across the region," said Nazir. "1Platform is the foundation for a regional IT and operations framework which unifies CIMB Group and enables us to compete as a truly regional bank. With the formal engagement of our partners in this major undertaking, we are ready for the implementation phase.

He said the IT partners include Silverlake Axis, a Malaysian-grown global IT solutions provider, which would provide the core banking system. IDS Scheer would supply the business process management solutions; IBM to provide the IT infrastructure, while Accenture would serve as the primary consultant for programme management. 

CIMB Group is Malaysia's second largest financial services provider and one of Southeast Asia's leading universal banking groups. It offers consumer banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, asset management and insurance products and services. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, its key operations are located in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

 Country-by-country rollout

Building a single operations and IT framework across the region will enable us to generate substantially more synergies from our regional business model, aside from realising significant operational efficiencies from the standardisation of skill-sets across the group. It will facilitate product development and proliferation across the region, enabling our people to more effectively bundle and cross-sell products, said Nazir.

He said that because of the scale of the project, the implementation of 1Platform would be completed on a country-by-country basis, starting in Thailand and followed by Malaysia, Indonesia and lastly Singapore.

"The whole group is expected to be on 1Platform by 2015," said CIMB Group head of group information and operations, Iswaraan Suppiah. We are very excited about this transformation; the implementation of 1Platform will revolutionise our systems and processes, and will provide the impetus for the group's regional agenda in the years to come.

The proven experience of Silverlake Axis, Accenture, IDS Scheer and IBM in handling large-scale technology integrations, combined with CIMB Group's two years of project research and development and its own experience in driving regional initiatives gives us the confidence that we will successfully implement 1Platform, said Suppiah.

This is a major exercise for CIMB Group and we do not under-estimate the enormity and complexity of the challenge," Nazir said. "We will also dedicate the human resources necessary to ensure its success. In fact, more than 300 employees are currently working full-time on our regional transformation agenda, and we expect this number to double in the implementation phases ahead.

The full impact of our investment in 1Platform and other transformation initiatives will only be felt progressively over the next four to five years," he said. "However, we want to ensure that we are building a banking institution that will be successful long after our own careers in the organisation.