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Scotiabank Reshapes For Commodity Business of Banking

Every advantage counts in the competitive banking marketplace. And that especially includes technological advantages.

"We've commoditized a lot of our products, and we've trained our customers to search for price," says Peggy Mulligan, executive vice-president, systems and operations, Scotiabank (Toronto). "At the same time, myself and my colleagues sitting around in the CIO jobs have continually delivered more functionality, through more channels, with higher availability -- so we've trained our customers quite methodically to expect absolutely outstanding service."

Adds Mulligan, "Those two things are great from the consumer's perspective but they start to collide in banks' ability to continue to improve and to differentiate themselves."

Scotiabank's strategic response: a new branch architecture that uses a server farm from Citrix Systems, terminal server software from Microsoft, and integration from IBM Global Services. "In essence, we've changed all of our branch machines to a thin-client model," says Mulligan. "We can now get functionality shoved out to our 1100 branches, virtually instantaneously."

This type of front-office flexibility has been a much-anticipated dividend of the bank's decision to outsource its technology infrastructure to IBM. Even before it did so, Scotiabank enjoyed "outstanding productivity ratios and superb availability," says Mulligan.

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