REVIEWER: Gary Williamson, manager of operations control for WestLB.

BACKGROUND: WestLB is one of Germany's largest banks, with group assets of almost 400 billion euros and capital and reserves of 18 billion euros. It provides institutional investors, corporate and high net-worth private clients with the full product range of a universal bank.

PLATFORMS: We currently run Pegasystems' PegaPAYMENTS on a Sun Solaris UNIX platform with NT at the desktop.

PROBLEM SOLVED: WestLB's main issue is dealing with high transactional volumes, over 200,000 payments annually. This, coupled with the legacy investigation system, resulted in lengthy investigation time. Less than prompt investigation can cost the bank a lot of money. We also needed to consider the impact of the lengthy investigation process on customer service. Our existing investigation process was time-consuming and imprecise and treated all investigations the same.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: WestLB installed Pegasystems' PegaPAYMENTS solution at its UK branch to automate payments investigations processing and provide a single point of contact for all customer payment inquiries. With Pega-PAYMENTS, every payment discrepancy is recorded as a new investigation case. The system prioritizes each case using predefined, predetermined criteria, i.e., currency or value. As a result, high priority payment inquiries are automatically attended to first. PegaPAYMENTS has helped users locate payment histories more effectively. When asked for a particular search, it will automatically populate the users' desktop fields with this information. Since each case is recorded under a unique code, the process of finding payment details is very fast.

STRENGTHS: Because of its rules-based structure, virtually all aspects of PegaPAYMENTS can be controlled by non-programming staff and it is highly adaptable to changing business needs. It is fast and efficient when locating data and highly scalable (able to handle thousands of investigations daily). The user-defined, predetermined criteria options allow users to prioritize investigation cases. PegaPAYMENT's high level of straight-through processing reduces manual intervention and it has good speed of implementation.

WEAKNESSES: During the course of the PegaPAYMENTS implementation there were very few weaknesses identified. From a business perspective, we were satisfied with the implementation, but we did feel that the support materials could have been more technical and tailored for our needs.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After evaluating a number of payment investigation products, the choice was PegaPAYMENTS. We wanted a solution that could provide us with a level of straight-through processing within our investigations function, but also have the ability to meet our changing business needs. PegaPAYMENTS has very powerful workflow capabilities and is very scalable allowing us to handle higher volumes and improving our customer service offering.

DELIVERABLES: Since the system went live, managers have been able to track the progress of investigations far more effectively. The solution has allowed us to start analyzing payment errors in greater detail so we can find out whether certain types of errors are occurring more often than others. This allows us to intervene further up in the chain and stop an error from resulting in a payment investigation. It's a case of prevention rather than cure. Further enhancements include the automatic routing and retrieval of transaction data based on information held within incoming SWIFT messages. These cases will be filtered directly into a user's in box and outgoing correspondence generated without any operator intervention. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a single exception handling solution for all transactions and potentially utilize the system as the back-office customer service solution.

VENDOR SUPPORT: In terms of vendor support, the team from Pegasystems was on-site up to and beyond the implementation date and developed an excellent rapport with our team. We have maintained excellent contact with the main consultant who is on-call at all times. During the implementation phase there were numerous decisions WestLB had to make in relation to processes and development of the system. Pegasystems offered several different solutions in each case and guided us to the most effective solution.

DOCUMENTATION: We received numerous technical documents from Pegasystems, but because the system was built to our specific requirements there were not any off-the-shelf documents that Pegasystems could supply for procedural issues. However, due to the high level of vendor support and the excellent relationships built between Pegasystems and WestLB, we were able to work through any product queries very quickly.

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