Postbank - 'Short project run, good result'

Manfred Löw, director of Postbank Systems AG

As the IT service provider of Deutsche Postbank AG, Postbank Systems AG and its workforce of about 1,500 is responsible for all IT projects and all products of the IT operation. Some 14.6 million Postbank customers are already using the different channels, which include local branches, the internet, telephone, post or call centres, to handle their bank transactions. A good three million Postbank customers use the online facility.

The leading multi-channel bank, whose philosophy translates as “All ways – one bank”, makes high demands of its in-house IT systems. Postbank Systems collaborated with SAP to develop a standard software for large retail banks (bank core system) and thereby strengthen its USP of an integrated multi-channel service. One of the strategic aims of Postbank is to achieve cost leadership – which means constantly optimising its own cost structure. “It was high time we took stock of where we were”, explained Manfred Löw, the director of Postbank Systems with responsibility for the Operations portfolio (platforms, applications, service delivery). “The purchase of BHW and its subsidiary BHW-IT also brought in another IT service provider whom we had to include in our considerations, given that synergy potential also had to be identified”, Löw continued. Postbank Systems consequently decided to instigate a benchmarking process and, on completion of the tendering phase, commissioned Maturity Consulting with the project. The benchmarking was applied to the Postbank Systems Classic and BHW-IT departments. Maturity analysed all platforms, the infrastructure and the middleware. One of the key areas of focus was the cost structure of the two applications, the bank core system and the online banking of Postbank Systems Classic. The process model of Postbank was also put under the microscope.

Comparing apples with apples

Maturity won the contract primarily because of its own benchmarking concept. It is based on the principle that no company is so similar to another that direct benchmarking is possible. Only by “harmonising” the comparison group at customer level can comparability be achieved. “This is comparing apples with apples”, explained Löw, who also praised the composition of the comparison group and the freshness of the data. Maturity’s concept also had the advantage that it incurred less expense than traditional benchmarking methods and hence tied up fewer personnel. Löw professed himself just as happy with how the project was conducted, as even difficult project phases were handled quickly, expertly and constructively because all the relevant counterparts were always contactable.

The benchmarking confirmed the overwhelming cost leadership of Postbank Systems. “We hadn’t anticipated such a result”, said a delighted Löw. Postbank will implement the vast majority of Maturity’s recommendations. “Although we had identified some of the recommendations given by Maturity in advance of the project and had set up the relevant projects, the project also revealed gaps and weaknesses that we had not yet discovered.”

Despite the enormous complexity of the project and the rather unfavourable timing issues – the benchmarking process began in mid-November 2006, i.e. at a time of each year when internal resources are traditionally gearing up for the new year – everything proceeded very smoothly. Maturity presented the results at the end of March 2007. “Short time, good result”, was Löw’s summary. “Maturity completed the project quickly and efficiently without tying up expensive resources and with excellent transferability.”

Download the case study IT benchmark at Postbank Systems as a PDF file

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