Clear view of ICT Costs at the Banque Générale du Luxembourg with SAS®
The Banque Générale du Luxembourg (BGL) is using SAS technology to gain a clearer insight into their ICT costs – essential in a period of ever-tighter budgets. This knowledge also provides internal IT customers with more transparency so that they can, in turn, improve their cost management. With SAS, the information is readily available, without having to implement any other new tool. SAS simply collects the data from each existing system, whether it's the mainframe, NT servers, or Unix. BGL set up the new system quickly and within budget and is now ready to use the information for future projects already waiting in the pipeline.
BGL: A Leading Name in Luxembourg
BGL is a leading player in the Luxembourg financial sector. The Société Générale de Belgique and a group of private investors founded the bank in 1919. Fortis acquired 98 percent ownership in 2000. With a staff of 3,200, BGL offers Network Banking, Private Banking and Asset Management, Merchant Banking and Life Insurance. The IT department can count on 330 employees to keep its two mainframe systems, 180 Unix machines, 350 NT servers and 4,000 PCs running smoothly.
BGL has always tried to keep the allocation of IT costs to the different business units as straightforward as possible. Until recently, they charged business units an IT cost per user, calculated as the total IT cost divided by the total number of PCs, a simple, clear and mostly fair system. But the merger with Fortis put IT costs under pressure. The change in the economic tide raised this pressure even higher. Internal customers of the IT department also needed to lower their IT costs, which required a more accurate picture of what they were paying for rather than just a lump sum. A new approach was definitely needed.
Exploiting Existing Infrastructure
"Obviously, the first condition for any new approach was that it should itself be as cost-effective as possible," states Colette Lacrosse, project manager at the Infrastructure and Operational Operations Department of IT at BGL and responsible for the charge-back project. "We needed a new cost calculation system that covered all of our IT infrastructure and incorporated our existing tools as much as possible. With upcoming cross-border projects already planned for the near future, we needed not only a strong foundation for the future, but quick results as well. We also wanted to keep everything as easy to understand, fair, and replicable as our former system."
SAS Singled Out by YPHISE Study
When BGL decided to work with professional tools and IT experts for this project, it certainly didn't take the choice of technology or its IT partner lightly. "I studied the possibilities of available charge-back and capacity planning tools very closely – the latter as part of a follow-up project – and had several suppliers present their solution for our situation," says Lacrosse. "SAS came out as the clear winner, particularly given our limited time frame. They had no problems with our mixed environment of mainframe and open systems, and could collect data without any special adaptations to any of our systems. A comprehensive study by YPHISE (an ISO 9001-certified software product assessment organization) confirmed my conclusions and restated SAS as the best tool for capacity planning. Hudson Williams was our preferred consulting partner for this project because of their experience, knowledge of the SAS technology, and their excellent relationship with SAS."
SAS Keeps Its Promises
"Our trust in both companies was confirmed throughout the entire project," emphasizes Lacrosse. "Hudson Williams' expertise proved very important during the analysis phase. What I especially appreciated was the fact that once the project was completed, my staff was able to perfectly execute any changes requested by a business unit or the Financial Department. The knowledge transfer was clearly successful. Both the approach of Hudson Williams and the qualities of SAS are to be thanked for this. The technology utilizes a lot of macros, making it very user-friendly, and the programming language – although very specific – is easy to learn."
More Detailed Invoices, Based on Resource Usage
BGL can automatically calculate the resource usage per business department and even per user with the new system. The necessary information to perform this calculation is gathered with SAS IT Resource Management. The NT version collects data from the NT server, the COLD archiving system, communication systems (telephone, mobile phones), and the Swift server. The mainframe version collects data regarding CPU usage, storage, printing, etc. This information is then processed by SAS IT Charge Management, providing reports for the IT department and management, and input for Finance and Control to generate the invoices. At the moment, the monthly IT invoice gives them information on their usage of 15 "products;" for example, space used on the mainframe, number of phone calls, number of batch transactions, and more. This helps them to identify where their costs come from – the basis necessary to detect saving opportunities.
The structure set in place is the foundation for a further extension to 38 products in a cross-border project with Belgium and the Netherlands. The ultimate goal is that the information for IT charge-back will be collected in the same way in each country involved, thus making comparisons much more straightforward. BGL will also expand the use of the collection mechanism to cover data sources needed to complete the charge-back system for business units other than IT. Further, a new management reporting system will be introduced using SAS IT Resource Management, which will add to its value as central repository for all IT reporting. "Our real-life experience with SAS has proven its value," says Lacrosse. "It is clear to us that the combination of SAS IT Resource Management and SAS IT Charge Management is the perfect foundation for all future projects."
"We already see a significant difference in the attitude of business units towards IT costs," concludes Lacrosse. "We now receive much more precise questions like: 'Why were our printing costs much higher than the previous month?' Using SAS IT Charge Management, we can drill down and give them exact information on which applications initiated print jobs and then, for example, advise them on how to lower the number of print lines. So even in this first, preliminary stage of the project we have clearly reached our main goals of better insight for ourselves and for our customers."
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