Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq:FISV) has achieved early success with an initiative designed to create strategic technological integration across the company's wide-ranging suites of products, as well as with Fiserv's many technology partners.
Rod Poskochil, President of the Fiserv Banking Systems and eProducts Group, and Chairman of the Fiserv Product and Technology Committee, said technology integration is a major component of Fiserv's growth strategy, and will provide substantial benefits to both the company and clients.
"I look at integration as taking a group of separate pieces - for us, separate products - and creating exceptional value," Poskochil said. "Each of those pieces are valuable in and of themselves, but, when tied together, they create new functionality and new benefits that result in unique competitive advantages for Fiserv and for Fiserv's clients."
Starting in 2002, Fiserv began to aggressively pursue company-wide technology integration through the Fiserv Integration Framework. The initiative was part of a strategic plan to enhance efficiencies in software development, create additional security when dealing with technology partners and provide a common technology methodology to integrate Fiserv's many products.
Fiserv offers hundreds of products to the financial institution, securities, insurance, investment adviser and lending industries, as well as to self-funded employers - making integration a high priority and a major focus for development. Fiserv has built its product offerings through more than 125 acquisitions since its founding in 1984, as well as through significant development initiatives.
The Fiserv Integration Framework uses XML, Web services and other industry software programming standards to create an efficient, cross-product architecture that incorporates message protocols, security, and the content rules needed to pass data or transactions between disparate applications.
In addition to all the benefits to clients, Poskochil said Fiserv's integration initiative will help reduce the cost of developing and supporting Fiserv software solutions, and will reduce integration breakage when releasing software upgrades. In addition, Fiserv will be able to more easily integrate technology from newly acquired companies, Poskochil said.
"Overall, this integration initiative does three things: First, it allows greater functionality of our products. Second, we can develop software more quickly and in a more robust manner because we can reuse technology. Third, we create well-defined interchange points. In other words, we can move smoothly through new software releases," Poskochil said. "All of these provide real value to the client."
Among initial projects, Fiserv business units IPS-Sendero and Information Technology, Inc. (ITI) leveraged the Fiserv Integration Framework to integrate products and deliver new functionality. By integrating IPS-Sendero's customer profitability software with ITI's Premier(R) core processing system, customer profitability metrics and rankings can be viewed instantly from any desktop. These customer profiles enable financial institution personnel to make better decisions related to product pricing, portfolio management or waived fees -- any profit-based decision that can benefit relationships with key customers.
Other projects include:
-- Fiserv Lending Solutions and Integrated Loan Services incorporated the Fiserv Integration Framework to more efficiently place orders for title searches, flood certificates, mortgage recordings, title insurance, appraisals, automated property valuations, loan processing services and other related closing services.
-- Fiserv Credit Processing integrated its Credit Decision engine into Fiserv's CUSA Technologies credit union processing system to enhance a credit union's ability to promote and service more loan requests from members.
Fiserv has more than 60 other integration projects under way, with a goal of integrating significant portions of the company's products by the end of 2005.