Banking in Latvia was mostly paper based, non-integrated, cumbersome for clients, and strictly adhered to former Soviet standards which were totally different from US and European versions. Latvian banks needed to communicate with European and US banks but at the same time also still communicate with the Former Soviet system. This was a challenge as it required absorbing two different accounting standards simultaneously and also integrating the banking functions.
BTG asked Unisys to provide their latest technology, Micro A’s, and their flexible fourthth generation development language, Linc, to the Riga office. Unisys also provided their trainers from the US, who trained the BTG Riga employees in this new technology. BTG management also sent employees to a successful banking software company in Lincoln, Nebraska for training to learn the US banking rules and software development and installation procedures. US Banking professionals also came to Riga for additional seminars and consultation. Unisys IT professionals also visited Riga to review the solution being developed. The most difficult challenge was the concept of user documentation and installation training, which had not been used in Latvia. Most software developers kept the information to themselves and did not document. Also, customer support was a new concept.
But, tenacity and focus on these new concepts resulted in an integrated retail banking system which could handle both the former Soviet and western accounting standards. The BTG team members followed Unisys’ software development standards and were ready to install the software after two years. The system called SBS was very flexible and parameter-driven, included ad hoc reports, multi- language (Latvian, English and Russian) capability and included a range of retail banking functionality—General ledger, loans, deposits, savings, payments and transfers, currency exchange etc. User manual and installation training procedures were also provided.
SBS was successfully installed in eight commercial Latvian banks. Part of the installation included onsite training for bank employees. One of the client banks had a weekend emergency where a non-trained user was able to pick up the installation training manual and obtain the desired information without calling a technical person. This was a nice testimonial for the documentation.
Unisys financial marketing executives also positively reviewed SBS and decided to market it in Russia and Ukraine as a branch solution to their wholesale banking system—GWB (URBIS) BTG executed a marketing agreement with Unisys and trained a Unisys marketing team.