Prolifics Helps Close Brothers' Digital Transformation
Prolifics helped Close Brothers Group, a British specialist financial services organization, overhaul its business model to bring it up to speed in the digital era. Its cutting-edge integration platform enables quick and easy changes to modular components.
Close Brothers saw the value in Prolifics’ approach and its understanding of the platforms in play. Plus, when coupled with competitive pricing and risk sharing, Prolifics became the natural choice.
Close Brothers Premium Finance is an organization that helps make insurance affordable. So we work with small businesses, large corporates, and personal customers, all of whom want to spread the cost of their insurance over a longer period and not pay for it up front. We finance that for them so that they can make it more affordable and make it easier for them to pay.
So my role as Chief Information Officer is to run IT and projects. So I look after business change projects, I look after application support, application development, architecture, business analysis, testing.
Integration, for us, gives us the capability to make change. If you think about our legacy architecture, like a lot of people’s, it’s quite classically a monolithic architecture with many point-to-point links. So when you change one thing in one place, the implications that might mean somewhere else in the system could be huge. So the testing in huge.
So by adding in an integration platform that enables us to link everything only once to the integration platform, we can decouple all the components of the architecture. And what we end up with an architecture with components like Velcro, that are tightly stuck when they’re in the right place, but if you want to extract them and pull them off, you pull them off from the right place and you can replace them with another component.
So for our business, that enables them to make changes quickly, enables us to react to what’s going on in the market, enables us to have commercial leverage over our suppliers because everything’s decoupled and we can change things now if we want to. So the benefits of it are far more wide-ranging than just having a neat architecture diagram with some, you know, clean lines on it.
We met Prolifics when I was out in India quite early on in the process, looking at test partners for actually a whole other project. I met with the Prolifics team, and of the offshore teams I’ve met, they were by far the most credible people I’ve met that week. And actually, I’ve been out to India 15, 20 times on these vendor tours, and they really understood their stuff. You know, really differentiated model, understand the platforms in great detail. They weren’t hiring, you know, 15,000 graduates a year and training them up, and six weeks later they’re all on account. They were hiring experts from IBM, from other organizations, that could really hit the ground running when you talk about delivering specialist technology.
We were introduced there, and then when we got back, IBM were keen to put together a joint proposal for the work for the integration suite and saying, this isn’t just about buying technology from us and we walk away, we want to deliver it in partnership with Prolifics. Prolifics will deliver your service and they’ll resell the IBM software so that you’ll get the leverage of their discounts with us. And ultimately, they put together a joint proposal that knocked the other ones out of the park from, you know, a cost and delivery perspective.
I think with a lot of these projects where they’re complicated, you know, you sometimes don’t know what you don’t know, and working with a partner who’s able to quantify that risk for you, say we’ll take on some of that risk, is really important. And working with a partner who understands it in far more detail than you and they’re willing to price for the risk, you get certainty with your business partners. It’s been really beneficial for us to be able to work with somebody who can take that on and give us the confidence that at least that area of our transformation program is going to run to time and to budget.