Two years ago, the IT staff at Huntington Bank had faced a problem similar to many other banks its size. "We were spending 85 percent of our time maintaining current systems," says Tim Scholten, senior vice president, Huntington Bank (Columbus, Oh., assets of $30 billion). "As a result, we spent very little time moving forward."
But the shift to a web services environment in 2002 as part of the deployment of eBank's MaxiFI solution and IBM Web services middleware helped to change that.
To begin, Huntington deployed a new online banking service. But the application logic was not locked away within a morass of online banking code. Rather, by developing the software using the Web Services programming model, commonly-used functions, such as referencing account data and updating information, could be made accessible to other channels using separate applications. "What that allowed us to do was stop and build services, one time, in a way that we could deploy it in every single channel," says Scholten.
Huntington's foresight paid off when it came time to roll out those same services to the call center and its new ARGO teller application. "It was a very quick deployment of new systems to the bank," he says.
The benefits have been tangible. For instance, making a stop payment at a call center had previously required eight or nine separate events. Now, says Scholten, "we've got to find the customer, we've got to find the account, we've got to apply the stop payment - that's three."
The response from the field: "Our bankers have told us in the pilot, 'You've just given me back 30 to 40 percent of my day'," says Scholten. "That's a real win for us."
The next phase involves an enterprise sales and service platform for front-line bankers in the branches and call centers. Also, Huntington intends to provide deeper self-service capabilities, again using the web services that it developed for its branch and call center staff.
"In the past, each channel would have to go scurrying to react to a change," says Scholten. "Now, it's one Web service that has to change."
Scholten spoke at a panel sponsored by IBM (Armonk, N.Y.).