Geldservice Nederland (GSN) was established by the country's three largest banks – Rabobank, ING and ABN AMRO – to provide for flows of physical cash in the Netherlands. "Our challenge is to keep cash available and affordable in a safe way in the longer term," says CEO Geert Eikelboom. The inevitable changes in this field require a stable basis in IT.
In 2011, 65% of transactions at the till were paid in cash. That has now fallen to about 45 percent. "Everyone in the Netherlands should be able to access a cash dispenser within five kilometers, but if demand declines and the provision must remain the same, that will lead to problems," says Geert Eikelboom.
GSN ensures that the cash dispensers always work and that there's enough money in them. "It's a dynamic process in which we issue contracts to specialist companies and orchestrate their work. We also count the money deposited in cash dispensers in our cash centers. These three core processes must be right, down to the smallest detail, and that involves a lot of IT: networks, systems, and software. Our product is actually an integral part of our infrastructure, comparable to tap water."
When someone puts their card into a cash dispenser, data begins to flow immediately. "Even before you are asked how much you want to withdraw, the cash dispenser knows the balance in your account. That is a real-time, mission-critical process," according to Geert Eikelboom.
Rogier de Rooij, Customer Director at Schuberg Philis, emphasizes that the IT environment must function one hundred percent day and night. "We feel a heavy responsibility for this. That stability is a central theme in the 'Cash2020' transformation project, which is intended to guarantee that cash remains available."
Banks use different types of cash dispensers offering various forms of service. The banks themselves determine the content and location. "That means that a town center or city center may have eight or nine cash dispensers operated by three different banks," says Geert Eikelboom. "You might ask whether that still makes sense, given the declining use and higher costs per transaction. Meanwhile, in rural areas the dispensers are disappearing one after the other."
To be able to retain this infrastructure, GSN wants to organize it more efficiently. The Cash2020 project is intended to standardize the location, appearance, and servicing requirements of the dispensers. "That will enable us to continue to offer cash to consumers in the longer term with the same level of service."
According to Geert Eikelboom, the quality of the existing business, executed and granted to Schuberg Philis, will determine whether Cash2020 will succeed. As a result of Cash2020, steps have to be taken now. Schuberg Philis plays an important role in this. Today it is difficult to say how their role is fulfilled in the Cash2020 project, we are not at that point yet. “We can make endless plans but, if the foundations are not sound, we’ll never get the chance to carry them out. A continually working IT system gives us the necessary confidence. Schuberg Philis is instrumental in ensuring that.”
GSN wants to gradually move toward a robust, high-performance, agile IT environment. There will also be an agile transformation in the organization. Partners play a key role in this. Geert Eikelboom: "If others can handle parts of the implementation better then we can, we'll let them do it. That might be for reasons of scale, knowledge and experience, or innovative capacity. But we'll always maintain sufficient knowledge in-house to be able to take the right decisions."
For the outsourcing of the new IT infrastructure, GSN looked for a partner who complied with their criteria (the three p's): partnership, performance, and passion for our business. Schuberg Philis scored best on these points. "Reputation for availability and technological leadership also played a role. Since we took the decision in 2016, we have been hard at work on the migration from the existing IT environment."
"The remarkable thing about the partnership is that everyone can play a leading role based on their own expertise," says Rogier de Rooij. "We lead as experts in missioncritical operations, GSN as experts in the field of cash, and the other parties in their specific areas. Everyone does what they need to do, and we know where to find one another."
When it's all online, Schuberg Philis will need to have the capacity and servicing ability to respond to the level of demand. Geert Eikelboom: "We don't know what our requirements will be in two years. Some elements may be dropped from the package but, as Cash2020 proceeds, new elements may be added. The Schuberg Philis Customer Team will presumably see in advance where things are heading. That's their specialty."