AEGON’s Corporate Financial Center is a long-term user of Wallstreet Suite treasury management software for its in-house treasury management. When a major systems upgrade was due – from version 6.5 to 7.3 –Danny Verboom, AEGON’s Head of Back Office and Suppo t, wanted to take the opportunity to thoroughly clean the legacy data, and to completely re-think how the transactions and data were structured in the treasury system. But this proposal would add considerable complexity to the project.
So Verboom asked SkySparc, a trusted and valued partner of AEGON, to check the feasibility of the proposal. SkySparc’s consultants specialize exclusively in advising users and have extensive knowledge of the system. Critically, SkySparc has developed a specialist tool, called OmniFi, which is able to automatically fetch specified data from the treasury management system, analyze and amend it according to pre-built mapping tables and extensively test the amended data.
In this case, SkySparc analyzed the existing data and proposed a methodology to clean it, removing redundant or inaccurate information, and re-configure it to meet AEGON s requirement for a completely new set-up. This preliminary work gave Verboom the reassurance he needed to make the decision: “We decided to go ahead with a thorough clean-up of data and to re-implement version 7.3 with a reconfigured database, as opposed to upgrading the software using the existing database,” he explains.
The proposed project was challenging, comprising a thorough restructuring and data migration alongside a major systems upgrade. It also involved a technology change, since the decision was also taken to move to a hosted environment, to provide more systems resilience and allow the Corporate Financial Center to outsource the technical platform. The project would also need to be accomplished without any disruption to business-as-usual in the treasury center.
With the decision made, the contract for the upgrade and ASP implementation was awarded to ION and quickly got underway.
SkySparc’s consultants were key members of the project management and implementation team, responsible for aspects of the business configuration, and the mapping, cleaning and testing of all the data which would then be migrated to the new system. Verboom says: “Because we completely changed our set-up and reworked the instruments framework, the mapping was extremely complex. In some cases it was necessary to group a number of deals against one, while codes and IDs were also different between the old set-up and the new. As a result, we knew the testing would also be particularly critical and demanding. We adopted SkySparc’s methodology for the testing – they determined the test cases and scenarios and presented the necessary comparisons for business sign off.”
The SkySparc team brought to the project a unique combination of financial knowledge, expertise in Wallstreet Suite and the capabilities of OmniFi, and all of these were highly valued, says Verboom. “We’ve worked with SkySparc before and knew them for their expertise, but I was still really impressed by the quality of the SkySparc consultants. Everyone, including their younger, less experienced team members, came with a level of skill and knowledge which is rare in the industry. They were very adaptable and very client-focused. I can say they became indispensable to the project.”
OmniFi was used to fetch the transactions from the treasury management system, map them to the new requirements according to the pre-built mapping tables, execute the transactions through their lifecycle in the test system and reconcile everything before importing the transactions to the new ASP environment.
OmniFi really is a unique tool. It wasn’t just a case of doing the testing faster; without it, we simply would not have been able to test the volume of data necessary to get the quality and efficiency we needed.
Danny Verboom, Head of Back Office and Support, Corporate Financial Center, AEGON
Eight months on from the completion of the project, AEGON’s treasury is running version 7.3 ASP in business-asusual, and it is going well, says Verboom. “This was the first time we had implemented anything in the ASP environment; it was a large project with many different stakeholders and parties involved, but the teams worked well together.” He considers the contribution of SkySparc to the project particularly strong. “The testing and data migration involved detailed checking of very large amounts of data. Without the ability to automate the testing with OmniFi, I doubt we would have been able to achieve it. It wasn’t just a case of doing the testing faster; without it, we simply would not have been able to test the volume of data necessary to get the quality and efficiency we needed for the migration.”
The pre-implementation analysis undertaken by SkySparc was also critical to the success of the project. “The up-front investment in setting up OmniFi certainly paid off – the flexibility and speed was impressive. It really is a unique tool,” says Verboom.
Verboom is also pleased that OmniFi is now installed in the ASP environment, where it is an invaluable tool not only for testing, but also for automating the creation and output of ad hoc and regular reports. He says: “SkySparc and OmniFi are continuing to deliver for us in our business-as-usual environment. We really value the skills they bring to our treasury operation.”