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Upgrading ATM Software for a Financial Solutions Provider

Financial Services | Managed Services



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TEKsystems provided a managed services solution for a financial products and services provider in support of an ATM software upgrade that had an aggressive timeline.

Founded in 1976, our client provides approximately 300 financial products and services that help more than 11,000 customers process transactions, automate business processes and manage business-critical information. TEKsystems has partnered with this client since 2004.

When choosing a bank, individuals and businesses have a lot to consider: the bank’s interest rates, fees, locations/accessibility and the in-person and on-demand services available (e.g., online, ATMs). With more than 6,000 banks in the U.S., consumers have plenty of options, while banks are forced to compete.

This landscape requires financial institutions to strategically invest in their infrastructure and services to remain competitive. However, for regional and community banks—which may not have the capital and resources as readily available as larger, national banks—these investments can be logistically complex and high-cost endeavors.

Partnering with specialized IT services vendors can help banks and banking solution providers protect their assets by providing the short-term skilled resources and expertise they need to implement and update technology in a cost-effective manner. These partnerships can help banks protect their investments and ensure that they are delivering a consistent, high level of service for their existing clients and provide an attractive service offering to potential customers.

Agilis® 3, C (programming language), .NET, QNX

Our client, a leading provider of information processing technology for local and midsize financial institutions, received a mandate from one of its vendors to upgrade the software operating on their ATMs to Agilis® 3. The vendor was ending product support for the software within a few months. In order for our client to continue to provide high-quality, consistent service to its member banks, they needed to move quickly in developing, testing and delivering the upgraded software to approximately 1,500 ATMs. If the unmovable timeline was not met, they would risk losing their bank customers.

The client did not have the internal bandwidth to complete the upgrade by the deadline. Their internal team was spread thin; they were trying to enhance new and existing applications, and it was becoming an increasingly larger time commitment to support those applications. When the compliance mandate for the software upgrade to the ATMs arrived, the client did not have a project manager or the support resources needed to dedicate to the project. The client also did not want to make a long-term investment in hiring full-time resources for what would be a brief engagement.

Since the client had a shortage of available resources to align to this project, they needed to partner with a third-party services provider who would be able to quickly assemble a team to deliver the scoped solution on time, within budget and without any downtime for its ATMs. The provider would need to oversee the hiring, onboarding and daily oversight of skilled resources, while allowing the client to design the solution and maintain ownership of the final product.

Having partnered with TEKsystems for staff augmentation services since 2004, the client had very positive experiences with our placements, noting their attitude and delivery quality. In fact, several supervisors at the client, including a senior manager, had started there as TEKsystems consultants.

Upon recognizing the need for support for this ATM initiative, we proposed a managed services solution to support the client’s upgrade to Agilis 3 on the QNX platform that resided on their member banks’ ATMs. We would source, screen, hire and onboard skilled resources to perform the development work for the upgrade. We would also manage the resources, provide performance reporting and conduct any knowledge transfer activities post-implementation.

TEKsystems would act as an extension of the client’s internal team while allowing internal resources to focus on other high-priority, strategic initiatives. Under the client’s direction, we would use an Agile development methodology, identifying specific user stories to create sprints for each deliverable. Each sprint would be tested and all documentation would be presented to client management for signoff. We would work with the client to define business, functional and technical requirements, communicating with the client constantly and presenting for approval before going live.

The client chose to partner with TEKsystems based on their previous positive experiences with our resources as well as the cost-effectiveness of our managed services solution. They saw a lot of value in managed services, as this model gave them control of the outcome while also enabling access to high-level QNX skill sets. Moreover, a delivery manager would manage the team’s day-to-day functions and serve as the client’s main of contact, relieving them of assigning one of their full-time project managers to the initiative.

The Agilis 3 software was written, thoroughly tested (passing a stringent quality assurance audit) and implemented before the deadline, enabling the client’s ATMs to stay operational and maintain a high level of service for their member banks. Extensive testing ensured that following deployment to production, the software has operated defect free.

The client wanted to maintain control of the project, but didn’t have the internal resources with the right skills and enough time to devote to the project. Due to the compressed timeline, the managed services model was an ideal solution. We quickly assembled our team within just one week; the team included a delivery manager, a business analyst, a lead C developer and two additional C developers.

Our team acted as an extension of the client’s internal team and quickly integrated into their environment. For example, our team proactively took the lead in establishing direct communication with the ATM vendor’s senior engineer. As a result, the team was in a better position to work through the issues and positively impact the schedule. The delivery manager served as the single point of contact to communicate daily progress and make sure the team was working on the right activities. We managed all of the human resources functions which enabled the client to focus on other projects while feeling assured this project was completed properly.

When we came on site, the client did not have documentation regarding how the code related to business requirements. We leveraged our own templates to start producing documents with requirement and functional specifications, creating an ISO standard technical document to present to the client. The documents are now being used as a standard part of their internal process throughout the company.

The client decided to reengage TEKsystems for an additional three months for ongoing support of the Agilis software. We also were brought on to support additional projects in a managed services capacity: iSeries mainframe development and EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) implementation (the encryption and chip protocol on credit cards). Further demonstrating the high quality of our resources, the client requested that two of our consultants who had worked on the Agilis project be moved onto these subsequent engagements.

Single point of contact

The client appreciated having an on-site delivery manager to handle the day-to-day management and oversight of the development team. Having the delivery manager on site also gave us greater insight into how the client operated so we could anticipate and address their needs. This was how we were able to recognize the need for greater documentation—addressing pain points they weren’t aware they had.

Transparency

We were upfront with the client when the project hit any hiccups so they could be addressed immediately and not negatively impact meeting the deadline. When there were communication issues between our client and their ATM vendor, we also intervened so the technical resources could resolve the issue and again, not delay the project.

Aligned with their business needs

By offering a managed services solution, TEKsystems was able to provide the required expertise to get the job done while giving the client control of the project; by combining the best of both our staffing and project-based delivery models, we were able to provide a cost-effective option that would still meet the desired ROI. We understood that their focus was on speed to market, and we delivered around that focus.