by Pradeep Singh Bisht, Consultant, bfsi consulting
This is my experience of implementing FCUBS (FLEXCUBE Universal Banking Software version 12.0.3) in a small upcoming Bank, Debub Global Bank, Ethiopia. I had some time back left Banking after a long innings of 14 years where I had a chance to see gamut of Retail and Corporate Banking products and Services. Wanting to try something new, different and challenging but related to Banking I got a chance to join bfsi consulting as a Consultant.
bfsi consulting, an Oracle Gold Partner started in 2007 by three industry experienced professionals. bfsi consulting was one of the Ist Oracle partners to single handedly implement Flexcube from start to finish. Over the years we have delivered more than 30 projects in 20 countries in Africa, Latam, Middle East, Caribbean, Europe and South East Asia. With a strong team of 60 consultants both Functional and Technical the company equipped to take on any challenge small or big.
After 3 months of going through various Oracle Module Manuals, trying hand on locally created environments I got a hang of the product and its features. In the middle of August I was asked to be a part of project being implemented in Ethiopia for a period of 3 months. It was a little tight project in terms of timelines for the number of modules being implemented. I was a little sceptic for going to Africa and that too when the Ebola scare was running high. But after checking on Google and other sites I found that there were no cases in Ethiopia and also the country was the best in Africa in terms of stability and safety.
On the appointed day my colleague Ravi and I left for Ethiopia via Mumbai. On coming out of the Airport the first thing which stuck was the pleasant and up to a certain extent cold weather. We were staying at a guest house just 10 minutes from the Airport. While travelling towards the guest house initially the new modern area of Bole Road presented a great look but further down there were lot of small shops and underprivileged areas which showed the pangs of a growing economy. The guest house was by the name of Yesbabi Guest house and was quite a neat and clean place and comparable to a 3 star.
Coming to the Bank, Debub Global Bank, the same was found by a group of entrepreneurs around 2 years back and they were working on local software called Softbank which was standalone software and didn’t support new features like ATM, Internet Banking, single server etc. After comparing a lot of Banking software products available in the market and their features the Bank decided to choose Oracle’s solution, Flexcube, for both hardware and software. For the software the Bank chose the latest Sun Spark T5 and Flexcube 12.0.3 for the software with modules like CASA, Teller, Inventory, Standing Instruction, Funds transfer, Letters of Credit, Bills and Collection and Consumer Lending. The initial days of the project covered PWT (Product Walk through) for the various modules listed above followed by parameterisation sheets from the Bank for the various modules.
During the various activities undergoing in the implementation we got a chance to visit some of the local attractions like Entoto hill which has the palace of the Ist Emperor and the National Museum where the oldest human fossil around 3.4 million old named “Lucy” is displayed.
On the food front Ethiopians eat only veg on Wednesdays and Fridays called the “Lent Days”. On these days the traditional meal of ‘Injera” is enjoyed. Injera is fermented flat bread in circular shape covering a big circular plate on which some 8-10 vegetarian dishes are kept. All guests on a table are expected to share from the same plate. From my experience I found it quite a delicacy. The other popular meal on other days is the raw beef which is eaten with a local spice called ‘Berbere’. The other non-veg dishes like chicken and mutton are popular on special occasions.
For shopping there are a few malls in and around Bole Road which is a popular destination with foreigners. Ethiopia is famous for leather and coffee. Ethiopia is the country where coffee was found and then spread across the world and is now the world’s most preferred hot beverage. One of the famous places to buy coffee in Ethiopia is “Tomaco”. Here one can get both coffee beans and coffee powder.
With support from the Bank and from OFSS support we were able to deliver the project as required on the due date with no time or cost overrun. This fact was hugely appreciated by the Bank as the timelines for various milestones were very challenging and they had heard of projects being implemented on other Banking software platforms which were behind their implementation schedules for a long time.
Overall it was a great learning experience as it was my first implementation project on Oracle Flexcube 12.0.3 at bfsi Consulting. It also gave me a chance to refresh and learn concepts on various modules implemented. I also experienced that for a successful implementation the support of the Bank is the most important thing at all times in understanding the issues and solutions offered.