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World Firsts For Jade At Uk Financial Leader

World Firsts For Jade At Uk Financial Leader

Skipton, England. – Jade Software Corporation has achieved several world firsts in its roll out of a new 80-site, $NZD3 million branch automation system for Skipton Building Society.

The Castle system, which is connected to the Society's core information system, enables more than 400 tellers at 80 branches throughout the United Kingdom to manage customer transactions.

Castle replaces a Windows-based branch automation product from Unisys Corporation.

Jade's Director of Sales and Marketing, Peter Helms, said the project was pioneering in several respects, "We believe it is the world's first branch banking system based on a single software technology, the first to run on an object database and the first to be deployed using thin clients."

"By using JADE's native Smart Thin Client, the Building Society can centrally manage all aspects of the branch network, with software upgrades handled at a centrally run JADE application server.

"Castle only requires one technology skill set in order to manage all aspects of branch automation. This saves on staff overhead, increases speed, flexibility, reliability and cost," said Mr Helms.


Skipton Building Society's Operations Director David Cutter said Castle had solved some key business issues. "Products and compliance requirements are constantly evolving in our business, so we needed a system at the coal-face with the tellers that could be easily and cost-effectively changed.

"We also wanted to exercise real-time central control over the branch system, so we could for example run auditing logs to investigate discrepancies.

"All of this had to be achieved while minimising the impact on our computer hardware spending." Mr Cutter said it was great to go from an expensive and inflexible system to one that changes with their business. "It is also saving us money."

Castle was rolled out several weeks ago, said Mr Cutter. "It has been very well received by users and I'm delighted to say that it has met its objectives and exceeded my expectations."

Training was quite straightforward, said Mr Cutter. "In fact one branch, who had missed the training course, were very proud when after just thirty minutes using the system they were ready to face the customers."

The system uses the Building Society’s existing 166Mhz PCs, printers, screens, data communication lines, servers and Microsoft NT Operating System. "It was a major benefit that Jade enabled us to use our existing infrastructure without having to do the usual expensive and complex infrastructure upgrade," said David Cutter.


Skipton already use JADE-based mortgage application and customer relationship management systems, and signed a major deal in early 2002 to convert all of their LINC-based customer information and transaction systems to Jade's technology platform. This includes HomeLoan Management Limited, a member of the Skipton Group, the largest third party mortgage processing organisation in the UK. The HML client base of 35 mortgage providers will also be processing through JADE systems by the end of 2003.

Skipton also runs a bureau for three other building societies in the UK, who are also using the Castle branch automation system.

"As a significant player the Society is looked up to as an innovator in the UK financial sector," said Mr Helms. "That they are building their information technology strategy around JADE's single technology approach is very significant."

"In the dynamic and competitive market they operate in, the traditional best of breed technology approach to building information systems is too cumbersome for the Society to protect their leadership position, particularly in the area of superior customer service."


Castle has been a great proof of Jade's advanced programming technology and its capability in the financial sector, says Mr Helms. "This complex system was built by a team of five developers in a matter of months, with most of the development done by the core team in Christchurch, New Zealand."

Mr Helms said JADE's development technology allowed the team to work very closely with the customer to iteratively build a system that neatly fitted their needs. "We also delivered some innovative user interface deployment along the way, delivering the same system connecting to the same back-end but offering different screen branding for the different building societies.

With a 15-year background in banking technology, Mr Helms said he understood how complex systems for the sector could be. "JADE simply makes it much easier, by breaking down this complexity while providing the technology to support all aspects of running a bank. That's important to banks that want to save time and money while providing leadership and differentiation. This is one of the reasons I originally joined Jade Software Corporation."

Castle had wide potential in banking sector, and Jade were considering its release in the Australasian and the US financial sectors in the near future, said Mr Helms.

"It may be a bit to advanced for the local branch automation market which is currently held together with #8 fencing wire and ever changing, best of breed, client server PC technologies, and given that saving lots of money doesn’t appear to be as high a competitive priority for many banks in Australia and New Zealand".

ABOUT SKIPTON BUILDING SOCIETY Skipton, the UK’s 6th largest building society, is one of the nations established financial services providers. Founded in 1853, Skipton Building Society continues to offer a range of attractive mortgage and investment products and is dynamic in its approach to growing its business. In particular, Skipton has embarked upon a successful diversification strategy, leading the way in "modern mutuality", benefiting members not only through group activities, but through product and services enhancements. Over the years the Society’s customer base has grown to accommodate the needs of many thousands of people, with 80 branches across the UK, and Skipton Group is now comprised of 16 businesses including the Society.

ABOUT JADE Established in 1978, Jade is an enterprise software company. It produces an enterprise application development environment called JADE, solutions for healthcare, higher education, ports and shipping, and provides custom development services. Jade employs 350 people in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The company's founder and Chief Executive is Sir Gil Simpson.

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