Virtual Office gives BBVA Previsión more business and shorter queues
BBVA Previsión AFP, Bolivia's leading pension fund administrator, is part of BBVA, a multinational financial services group based in Spain with over 35 million customers in 32 countries. Previsión AFP implemented Sucursal Virtual, a secure LANSA Web-based "virtual office" so employers, employees and beneficiaries can view statements, update details and do virtually everything that in the past needed a visit to an actual office.
Gonzalo Zeballos Ferrel, IT Manager at BBVA Previsión AFP, says, "While business has increased by 35 percent, incoming and outgoing calls have decreased and we have shorter queues in our regional offices. This efficiency can be directly attributed to our secure Web site and LANSA. With LANSA, we delivered the solution very quickly and productively. In actual man-days, it took just one month to develop the site. With any other technology, it would have taken much longer."
"While business has increased by 35 percent, incoming and outgoing calls have decreased and we have shorter queues in our regional offices"
"Our competitive advantage in Bolivia and across Latin America is the regional and global strength of the BBVA group," explains Zeballos.
"Not only in administrating pension funds, but also in banking and insurance. We have a very good track record of safe investing and higher than average yield return, maximizing the value of our members contributions."
"Bolivia is still a very young market and we have grown tremendously over the last few years. Our call center was getting overwhelmed with standard requests, such as issuing member certificates, that we felt we could easily automate with a self-service member Web site."
"But a more important strategic incentive was our aim to grow more aggressively in the high income market. High income earners are usually computer savvy with access to the Internet, so providing Web self-service access to our members is one of the best ways to attract this demographic group."
"Management viewed the Web project as strategic for our company, as it would provide us with a way to improve our position against the competition. So, we got the green light and budget approval to work on a solution."
"We did not want to take the risk of offering a unreliable service, especially not with legal documents and sensitive financial information."
"We were looking for a tool that provided direct native integration with the database of our core iSeries-based system in real time. The response time of JDBC and ODBC just isn't good enough and we wanted to avoid duplicating data on a Windows server and creating all kinds of synchronization issues."
"While we had already developed some .NET Web forms to let members request a statement of accounts, we did not see this as a strategic development platform to carry through the entire project."
"We evaluated a range of development tools, mostly Windows- and Linux-based, but all of these had shortcomings, either in terms of development productivity or data access performance."
"After an extensive evaluation, we selected LANSA. It provided the best value for money and a truly superior architecture," says Zeballos.
"Management viewed the Web project as strategic for our company, as it would provide us with a way to improve our position against the competition"
BBVA Previsión AFP used Visual LANSA to develop Sucursal Virtual, its "Virtual Branch Office" self-service Web site. The solution integrates tightly with Heinsohn, Previsión AFP's core iSeries pension fund administration system.
Members can use the site to view or update personal and account details, get copies of statements, check contributions, change investments and do virtually everything that, in the past, required a visit to an AFP office. Members can also view and print a signed PDF copy of their membership certificate, a legal document that previously needed to be signed by a manager.
"The Web site and the core solution use the same database and run on the same server. This architecture is very easy to manage, with no data duplication, no additional servers and no data synchronization issues," says Zeballos.
"Direct real-time integration means our call center staff see exactly the same information as the member does on his computer at home or at work. The effect of contributions and other transactions are available to the customer representative and the member at the same time, as soon as they are processed."
"If we make a correction based on a member's phone call, the corrected information is immediately available online, while the member is still on the phone."
"LANSA's real-time integration offers a far superior architecture than the forms and email-based system we used before."
"One of the major advantages is that LANSA can invoke core system calculations directly. Not having to re-code and test complex calculations in LANSA saved a lot of time and guaranteed consistency between the call center staff's view of a member's statement of accounts and the member's view on the Web."
"We developed the site with our own staff, some who had iSeries RPG skills and some with a Windows and Visual Basic background. Visual LANSA was easy to learn for everyone. It is a highly productive tool and we feel it is much more efficient than Java or .Net."
"The LANSA Repository also lets our developers share all processes and validations. Another reason we achieved a high level of consistency and productivity."
"With LANSA we delivered a solution very quickly. We started training in July and developed the site during August and September. The developer wasn't even dedicated full time to the project and in actual man-days it took just one month to develop the site," says Zeballos.
"With LANSA we delivered a solution very quickly. In actual man-days, it took just one month to develop the site"
"Targeting the high income market, with the support of our Web site, we expect to grow our membership base by 30,000 to 40,000 people in the coming 5 years. We are already seeing the start of this shift happening," continues Zeballos.
"The site helps provide a better service to our members. Now members can look up their account status in the privacy of their own home and when it suits them. Our customer service representatives can focus on issues that need their expertise and leave standard queries to the Web."
"We are already noticing a decrease in the number of incoming and outgoing calls to our call center and shorter queues in our regional offices. At the same time, business has increased by 35 percent. This efficiency can be directly attributed to our secure member Web site and LANSA. Once members have been issued a user ID and password, they can do all their paperwork and access all their details and financial statements over the Web."
"But some members still prefer face-to-face service, so we do not plan to close any of regional locations. We will continue to offer customer service during office hours, but the Web provides our customers with more flexibility and a choice. And for those who want to visit our office, we now have shorter waiting times."
"The site's transparency and the accuracy of our service has enhanced the image of our company with our members. Nowadays, people expect 100 percent accountability and transparency from their financial institution. With LANSA's Web technology, we can deliver this with our own staff and from our existing core system."
"With LANSA's Web technology, we can deliver 100 percent accountability and transparency with own staff and from our existing core system."
"We have more than met the expectations of our management. The project is viewed as a big success," says Zeballos.
"We are now planning other projects that make use of LANSA's Web technology. Not only for our members, but also internally. The top priority is to give our regional office and headquarter staff access to statements and information about pensions and investments. We are assessing which applications we will Web-enable first."
"LANSA's zero-install browser interface gives our users a more modern and intuitive interface to our central iSeries, that is easy to manage from a systems point of view. Previously we had some Visual Basic systems with an ODBC connection to our iSeries. This would always create support problems."
"We can also see a future role for LANSA Integrator and Web Services in our communication with banks, contributing companies and regulatory entities including the Central Bank Of Bolivia and other institutions."
"It pays to have patience and thoroughly research Web development tools. Initially some people wanted to rush things, which may have resulted in an earlier start of the development project, but for sure it would have taken more time to develop than with LANSA," concludes Zeballos.
"We have more than met the expectations of our management. We are now planning other projects that make use of LANSA's Web technology"
- BBVA Previsión AFP, part of the multinational financial services group BBVA, is Bolivia's leading pension fund administrator with over half a million members representing almost 60 percent of the market. The BBVA group, headquartered in Spain, has 91,000 employees, 35 million customers and over 1 million shareholders in 32 countries. Net profit in 2005 was €3.8 billion.
- BBVA pension funds are well represented in Latin America and include Provida in Chile, Horizonte in Peru, BBVA Horizonte and AIFPC Progreso in Panama, BBVA Crecer AFP and Porvenir AFP in the Dominican Republic, AFP Horizonte in Colombia, AFJP Consolidar in Argentina, BBVA Afore Bancomer in Mexico and AFP Genesis in Ecuador. Through BBVA Prevision AFP, BBVA has had a presence in Bolivia since 1997.
- For more information visit: www.prevision.com.bo
- BBVA Previsión AFP uses an iSeries model 720 for development and 520 for production both with OS/400 V5R3. There are 220 internal users spread over Previsión AFP's branches and head office.
- The Sucursal Virtual solution integrates tightly with BBVA Previsión AFP core funds administration system from Heinsohn Software House in Colombia, which has been tailored to meet the requirements of Bolivian pension fund administration.