13 July 2010
In this Q&A, Ben Schol, project manager at Unilever, explains why the company decided to switch to SWIFT connectivity.
Unilever uses Fundtech's ServiceBureau for SWIFTNet connectivity. It migrated its inhouse solution in the shared service centre (SSC) to Fundtech's ServiceBureau in October 2009 in less than three months.
Q (gtnews): What made you decide to switch to SWIFT connectivity?
A (Ben Schol, Unilever): Each bank provides its own platform for connectivity, with its own protocol and file formats. This adds complexity when interfacing your back-end systems with these platforms. SWIFT removes a lot of this complexity. In addition, adding another bank becomes a breeze.
Q (gtnews): What method did you use to connect: Standardised Corporate Environment (SCORE), Member Administered Closed User Group (MA-CUG) or Alliance Lite?
A (Schol): At the moment we decided to use SWIFT, the only available method for connecting was through a MA-CUG. We had a look at SCORE when it came available, but didn’t see any advantage in switching. If we were starting now, we would definitely go for SCORE because the administration is much easier.
Q (gtnews): Why did you outsource the connectivity to a service bureau?
A (Schol): Maintaining and supporting a SWIFT environment requires highly trained and skilled personnel. After running the environment in-house for two years it became clear we were not able to build up these skills and thus started to look for alternatives, i.e. outsourcing maintenance and support or outsourcing the entire environment. Given the internal policies around remote access for maintenance and support, outsourcing the entire environment seemed to be the best solution.
Q (gtnews): Were there specific hurdles that had to be overcome?
A (Schol): First of all, of course, you will have to specify your requirements - both from a technical and business perspective. Next you will have to find a partner who best fits these requirements and your company culture.
Q (gtnews): Are there plans in the pipeline to expand your use of SWIFT?
A (Schol): Unilever currently uses the FIN, FileAct and Accord services. There currently are no plans to expand this.
First published on www.gtnews.com
- Joy Macknight
- I am deputy editor at The Banker, a Financial Times publication. I joined the magazine in August 2015 as transaction banking and technology editor, which remain the beats I cover. Previously I was features editor at Profit & Loss, an FX and derivatives publication and events company. Before that I was editorial director of Treasury Today following a period as editor of gtnews.com. I also worked on Banking Technology, Computer Weekly, and IBM Computer Today. I have a BSc from the University of Victoria, Canada.