Open Solutions upgrades core processing platform

Source: Open Solutions

Open Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), a provider of integrated enabling technologies for financial service providers across the United States, Canada and international markets, announced the availability of the latest version of its relational core data processing application The Complete Banking Solution (TCBS) and The Complete Credit Union Solution (TCCUS) - release 2006.1.

This latest release further enhances Open Solutions' advanced open platform by exploiting the strength of its unique universal data model, its customer/member-centric processes and adds additional functionality to further Open Solutions' goal of making its open platform one of the standards in the world.

This new release of Open Solutions' system incorporates the latest version of the Microsoft .NET platform (v2.0), further improving scalability and security as well as interfacing to a "Smart Client" design. The .NET architecture offers the ability to separate the system applications into multiple tiers to improve program performance and reduce deployment time.

St. Louis-based Aerospace Credit Union, with $160 million in assets, 3 branches and approximately 27,000 members, is beta testing this release of The Complete Credit Union Solution. "The system has an entirely new look and feel," Kaye McMullin, Process Improvement/Applications manager of Aerospace Credit Union. "It's going to save time and make our daily operations more efficient by reducing the amount of clicks and the number of screens we have to access. The single sign-on feature is another important, timesaving aspect of this upgrade. This new version has far exceeded our expectations. I feel our staff will embrace the changes. Once they see it and begin to maneuver through the programs, they will realize how much time they're saving."

This release introduces Shared Application Framework (SAF), which is designed to allow for the connectivity of all Open Solutions products. In addition, the new release offers improved navigation and workflow, a simplified single sign-on, improved screen design and layout as well as an overall simplified delivery of applications. The underlying functionality remains unchanged - the release further builds upon the great strength of Open Solutions' powerful relational database model, improves feature functionality and processing capabilities and makes the system even easier to use.

"We expect this release will provide our clients with a more enhanced and more streamlined positive end user experience," said Esther D'Albero, director, Financial Product Management. "Because enhanced functionality, improved navigation and help wizards make the system more intuitive, we believe employee training should be minimized. The functionality and the processing behind the scenes are the same."

This release introduces Open Solutions' clients to an updated and improved look and feel. Each redesigned screen contains the product title bar, a navigation bar, a banner area, the work area, left and right side slide out panels, a processing task bar and a status bar.

"One of the benefits of working with Open Solutions is the opportunity to encourage change and make recommendations for workflow and process improvement," McMullin said. "We get instant support, and Open Solutions is with us every step of the way. We also have the opportunity to correspond with other bank and credit union beta testers and learn from each other."

"We reduced the number of screens by 60 percent, thus reducing processing time for the thousands of financial institution front line employees who use the system each day," D'Albero said. "We were able to consolidate the process and offer increased functionality within one screen because of the tools offered by the .NET architecture."

Version 2006.1 offers numerous navigational improvements and wizards. The wizards deliver workflow processing related to functions such as creating new persons or organizations, opening deposit and loan accounts, opening retirement plans and teller balancing.

Winston-Salem, N.C.based Piedmont Federal, with $850 million in assets and 11 branches, is beta testing The Complete Banking Solution. "Part of being a beta tester for Open Solutions is self-serving; the learning opportunities are so much greater," said Mike Hauser, senior vice president, Operations of Piedmont Federal. "As our employees learn the system, they learn more about their own job as well. In today's world, the better your software and the better you understand it, the more you can deliver to your customers. Being a beta tester is also a commitment to the ongoing enhancement of our product. When Open Solutions is successful, it trickles down to our customers."

"Our 2006.1 release takes our industry proven data model and further adds to its functionality thus setting the future direction for our processing operations and hopefully for the industry for many years to come," said Mike Nicastro, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Open Solutions. "The value of our platform is not only what we've developed today, but what we've developed for the future. We will be integrating all our strategic products so they will all be one click away."

Finally, comprehensive system user documentation is available through the completely redesigned help function. Readily available on each screen, the help menu guides users through the manual.

"The Quality Assurance staff we work with at Open Solutions are a great group of people," Hauser said. "When you call them, they want to listen. You get a real sense of their commitment to getting their product right. Another benefit to being a beta tester comes from the weekly phone meetings with other banks involved in the beta testing. It's helpful to hear their experiences and I have made some excellent contacts who I can call on anytime during the year. There's a real bond between us."

"The delivery of this release is the culmination of almost two years of planning and development," said Louis Hernandez, Jr., chairman and CEO of Open Solutions. "We're pleased to continue our efforts in striving to set the standard in the industry and we are extremely excited to bring our clients a continually enhanced product-line that further allows us to better meet their financial services needs. We believe that this product is unlike anything else available in the industry. Open Solutions is dedicated to delivering a truly intuitive enterprise-wide data processing platform and ensuring through research and development that the system continually improves."

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