11/21/2003 - Banking executives gathered at the banking conference Retail Delivery Systems (RDS) 2003 to learn of the much-anticipated update to Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SUNW) low-cost IT strategy for branch banking. The strategy, once described by banks as 'too good to be true,' allows Sun's stateless client, the ultra-thin Sun Ray system, to reduce IT costs in bank branches by up to 70 percent by reducing vendor dependency and delivering an architecture that allows complete remote installation and administration. Sun also is announcing the availability of the beta version of the Java-powered Branch Controller for Retail Bank Branches, another new Sun innovation.
Sun's Java Branch Controller boosts the compatibility of the stateless client with legacy applications, teller applications and networked devices such as cash drawers and printers. According to industry analysts, Sun is responding to the banking industry's current operating priorities by providing technology such as Java which helps enable iForce banking partners to integrate multiple back-end systems. This provides tellers a single view of all of the customer's data, such as multiple account balances, including credit card, brokerage, and mortgage statements. The ultimate goal is to help change the role of the bank teller from transaction-oriented to sales-oriented. Additionally, this single view helps provide better customer service, as well as enable cross-selling and up-selling.
Standing beside Sun on stage is a diverse cast of leading banking technology vendors who are helping enable the solution. These include Sanchez, Kirchman, Polaris, Hartter, Dynasty, EPL, DeLaRue, among others. These iForce banking partners provide teller applications and services to banks.
"Despite the advent of ATMs, call centers, and online banking, the branch remains at the heart of customer interaction," said Jerry Silva, senior analyst for TowerGroup, a research and advisory firm for the financial services industry. "And as part of their customer retention strategy, banks are renewing the technology at this important interaction point. But with over half a million branches worldwide, banks also need to consider flexible technology that is easy to install and maintain. Sun Microsystems provides banks with a cost-saving branch technology that provides remote installation and administration, enabling banks to maintain revenue while increasing customer satisfaction."
"At the line of business level, banks are anxious to reduce costs of operations and accelerate revenue opportunities inside their branches," said David Moore, global banking manager, Sun Microsystems. "Leveraging the low-cost Sun Ray stateless client with the Java Branch Controller can more efficiently bring legacy information to the fingertips of branch employees."
Sun's Moore continued: "And from an IT perspective, the stateless client for tellers and platform officers, along with the new Java Branch Controller, promises to provide seamless fat-client co-existence and remote administration features."
Dozens of Bank Tech Vendors Join Sun's March for Lower IT Costs at Banks
The following banking vendors are endorsing Sun's ultra-thin client bank branch solution, the majority of whom are providing demonstrations at Sun's Booth #2459 at RDS:
"With the Sun Ray, along with the Java Branch Controller announcements for branch operations, the zero-administration branch is on the way," said Michael Stoekert, CIO/CTO, EPL, Inc. "These offerings, along with EPL's Java-based i-POWER system, will allow Credit Unions to see dramatic savings on IT, as well as accelerate their revenue streams. Credit Unions and Banks literally have to be willing to pay less for hardware and software to get better performance. EPL's full i-POWER Sun system running via Sun Ray and the Java Branch Controller in the Sun Partner Pavilion shows astonishing TCO: 50% reduction in costs for a Credit Union with a two-fold performance increase. For instance, with EPL's old client-server system, it took 25 hours to install new software in a branch. With the ultra-thin-client solution, it takes just four hours."
"Cost is a significant inhibitor to bringing aging branch banking systems to current levels of technology. The Sun Java Branch Controller is a major advance in support of lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Eontec Branch, a J2EE component-based solution, supports a centralized approach to managing a thin-client branch network (Teller and Platform). Unlike conventional client-server applications, the inherent flexibility in our solution facilitates the set-up of localized customer-focused branches with significantly reduced fixed costs and increased speed to deployment. Together with Sun's next-generation platform, banks can now more economically transition their branches into customer-focused, financial sales and service centers to better serve their customers," said John Randles, Eontec, chief technology officer.
Polaris Software Lab
"With the new Sun Ray offering, Polaris and Sun continue their 15-year history of delivering innovative technologies to the world's most trusted financial institutions," said Ram Bhagwat, president of Polaris Software Lab Ltd. "Polaris' Java-based Orbi One Direct front-end software works with the Sun Ray appliance to modernize branch operations and lower costs by seamlessly integrating multiple banking channels with the bank's host systems - thereby enhancing branch productivity and delivering a consistent customer experience at every touchpoint."
"DeLaRue is proud to run its teller cash automation solutions in conjunction with Sun Microsystems' breakthrough thin-client computing platform, the Sun Ray ultra-thin client. Together, our platforms bring flexibility and efficiency to financial institutions," said John Smith, vice president of marketing. De La Rue Cash Systems, Chicago, Illinois, offers Branch Cash Automation solutions assisting financial institutions in offering their clients a better banking experience while measurably increasing branch productivity, accuracy and security. All cash withdrawals, deposits, buys and sells can be fully automated, allowing front line personnel to shift their focus from what costs money to what makes money - the clients.
"The arrival of Sun Microsystems' new Sun Ray ultra-thin-client platform offers banking customers a glimpse into the future of branch-based, front-office banking," said Stefan Albert, managing director, Lutzwolf Systems. Sun's Java Branch Controller turns the future into the present by providing financial applications with straightforward, vendor-independent device access and control in network-centric environments." Lutzwolf Systems is a provider of platform and vendor independent device connectivity solutions to the financial services industry.
"Kirchman Corporation has been serving the banking industry for 35 years - that is where our strength is. We chose Sun as a partner for two primary reasons: Sun's drive for massive scalability appealed to us and is consistent with our own objectives; and Sun's desire to penetrate the retail banking market with an unwavering commitment really excited us. We believe that our alliance with Sun Microsystems will provide our customers and prospects with a brand new, cutting-edge operating environment in which to process Kirchman Bankway," said Rachel A. Landrum, president, Kirchman. Kirchman Corporation is a leader in bank automation and compliance. Its flagship product, Kirchman Bankway pushes out to every desktop a full complement of business tools to meet the needs of all bankers and their customers. Kirchman Bankway is a scalable total banking solution that meets the automation needs of the smallest de novo to the largest multi-billion-dollar holding company.
Hartter, the specialist for bank branch office software in Germany and Europe, recommends the Sun Ray banking branch solution," said Emmerich Hartter, chief executive officer, HartterGruppe. "Because Hartter has been focused on teller applications for almost 20 years and understands the power of Java, we expect the low-cost, secure Sun Ray along with Sun's Java Branch Controller to be a viable option to reduce costs and improve revenue in bank branches worldwide. It took only a single-day workshop at the head offices of Hartter in Oberwart/Austria to get the entire system running. Sun is changing the game for bank branches with this compelling offering."
"Global DS with Sun Ray offers financial institutions with a low-cost, readily available branch solution complete with peripheral connectivity and management," said Mr. Mikel Aguirregabiria, director responsible for International Alliances from Dynasty Technology Group. Dynasty develops and markets Java tools for financial institutions. They are specialized in the standards XFS (WSA) and J/XFS. They work in two different environments, ATMs/ self-service machines and bank branch automation.
Sanchez Computer Associates, Inc.
"Sanchez and Sun share a commitment to provide integrated financial technology solutions globally to financial institutions that want open standards, secure IT environments, fast and scalable performance, and continuity of business on cost-effective UNIX platforms," said K.S. Bhaskar, vice president, database products. The commitment pairs Sanchez's core banking and enterprise integration applications with Sun's Solaris operating environment to offer the world's largest retail financial institutions solutions that reduce technology risk, lower ongoing operational costs and improve customer management. Our mutual customer, Krung Thai Bank, the largest retail bank in Thailand, is expected to go into production in the near future with the Sanchez Profile(R) core processing system on Sun hardware."
Banks interested to learn more are requested to email: email@example.com
About the Sun Ray Ultra-Thin Client
Simplifying the desktop and lowering the total cost of ownership, Sun Ray ultra-thin clients not only bring the power of the server to the desktop, but are also easy to set up and deploy. Sun Ray appliances are stateless devices that consolidate resources on the server and require virtually no client administration or upgrades. The Sun Ray systems enable users to gain instant access to existing applications and resources on the network, regardless of the underlying platform including Sun's Solaris Operating Environment, Java technology-based, multimedia or Windows NT applications. Sun has installed Sun Ray ultra-thin clients company wide for its employees to share, and hundreds of companies in major industries rely on Sun Ray appliances for their desktops.
For more information about the Sun Ray appliances, please visit http//www.sun.com/sunray
About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com
Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, Sun Ray, iForce, Java and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
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