September 26, 2006

In Monday's second presentation, Gary Greenwald, managing director, global head of information products, global transaction services for Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, shared with attendees the journey of transforming Citigroup to an integrated bank, a project that lasted five years.

The first step of the process, he explained, was to build an expansive information warehouse to bring all information to a central location, Greenwald related. Connectivity, he added, ultimately drives visibility.

He explained how customers need visibility in certain areas, and they will need answers to important questions, such as: Where are my bank accounts ...globally? Which legal entities and business units own them? Who are the authorized signatories on my bank accounts? How much cash do I have in the banking system? What are my banks charging me for?

Greenwald went on to say that connectivity is what drives straight through processing (STP). There is an increasing focus on STP connections to/from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and treasury management systems, he said. "Corporate treasurers are looking to their partners to answer these questions," Greenwald said. "Corporate want banks to hook in directly with their ERP systems" and don't want to continue using proprietary systems offered by their financial institutions. "When you plug into the backend of an ERP system, you raise the par on the industrial strength [solution] concept."