Baku, FinanceTime. Equipment maintenance is a prerequisite for the banking self-service network. The smooth operation of ATMs and POS terminals creates a positive image of a financial institution and guarantees the loyalty of its customers. Service outsourcing is a more profitable alternative to creating service infrastructure. More and more banks entrust equipment support to specialized companies that provide quality services timely.
What factors are most important choosing an outsourcing company? What affects the decision? Where and why are service centers being created? We are discussing this with Gintaras Petkevičius, Technical Department Head of the international company Penkiųkontinentųbankinėstechnologijos (BS/2), which has been working in the field of banking technology for more than 20 years. It has been developing software, supplying banking equipment, as well as providing systems integration services, maintenance and integrated outsourcing in different countries around the world.
— It is not easy to find and save highly qualified engineers. What difficulties do banks face in recruiting the specialists for equipment maintenance?
— The young specialists get only basic knowledge in institutes. The companies train engineers. In the modern world of IT technologies, professionals must learn continuously. We conduct specialized courses for our employees. They pass manufacturers tests confirming their qualifications every 18 months.
If the bank is focused on creating service infrastructure, it must have the necessary number of engineers. For effectively workforce use, financial organizations hire specialists of a wide profile, who often lack deep knowledge and specialized skills. BS/2 experts, of course, win the competition with bank engineers.
— When is cooperation with a service company more profitable than own service infrastructure?
— If the workload of banking engineers reaches only 20-40 percent, and the density of the self-service banking network is uneven, it is expedient to have a half-time specialist, but where can you find such? Then cooperation with service companies, providing multi-level support regardless of the customer's location, pays off doubly. Our technical support programs include a different set of services depending on client’s demands, the size and geography of banking network.
I would like to emphasize, that efficiency and speed are very important in the matter of technical support. To ensure it, a large network of service centers, highly qualified engineers and a warehouse of original spare parts are needed. The reaction time of the service company is strictly limited by the service level agreement.
— How many engineers do you have? How fast is the service network growing?
— BS/2 has 52 service centers with 140 engineers. BS/2 service coverage is 25,000 units of equipment. Our technological chain — from accepting applications to supplying spare parts from our own warehouse and troubleshooting —speeds up the maintenance process. The geography of the company's services is growing constantly.
— What is the principle of creating service centers?
— The location plays a decisive role in this issue. It is quite difficult to repair the ATM in a short time if the service center is 500 km away. In this case, the specialist needs to overcome about a thousand kilometers to repair a couple of ATMs. If you calculate the financial and time costs, it is more profitable to create an extra service center.
— BS/2 provides services in Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Uzbekistan. What are the similarities and differences of these markets?
— The market of banking services in some countries of the Caucasus and the Middle East is still at the formative stage. Banks struggle for the number of customers and cardholders, so financial institutions try to influence the consumer through the services' prism. Banks try to automate services for minimizing the use of human resources in the future by creating a network of ATMs. If we talk about the pursuit for innovation, the Caucasus countries are more active than the Baltic ones.
On the other hand, we can plan investments for several years, concluding long-term service contracts in Europe. In the Middle East, the situation is different: our company must find and train people in the shortest possible time. Certainly, it is associated with high financial costs. A year is too short time for a service provider, but such circumstances make our company more flexible. We can adapt to the particularities of each individual client.
— How large is the BS/2 service portfolio?
— Our clients are not only banks, but also many other organizations with specialized equipment: from POS terminals, ATMs, automated teller safes and information kiosks to computer equipment and servers. BS/2 is one of the market leaders in the maintenance of specialized equipment on-site service in Lithuania. Thanks to the high quality of work, service desk, wide geography and the qualified specialists, we became partners of the largest outsourcing companies that sign contracts with world players and provide services worldwide.
Our range of services also includes training and consulting in different languages. We are a multicultural, multilingual company, and this is another our advantage. BS/2 is always ready to help organize training for both partners and their clients
— List your other advantages over competitors, please.
— Despite the price competition, the number of our new customers is growing due to the large network and high quality of services. Our company works in accordance with the international standards ISO 20000. We are distinguished by an individual approach to each client and a team of highly qualified specialists. They are 100% interchangeable. The engineer from Latvia, Georgia or Kazakhstan can provide equipment repair services at the same high level. BS/2 guarantees high-quality maintenance regardless of the banking network size and allows financial institutions to reduce service costs.