CMC brings its revolutionary collections services to the UK market

With a private cloud solution from Vissensa, based on trusted IBM technology

Published on 08-Feb-2013

"Moving to a private cloud platform underpinned by trusted, reliable IBM hardware has been a massive advantage when it comes to extending the FlexCollect platform to UK- and EU-based financial institutions. In this way, we are helping more lenders to engage greater numbers of customers and take control of their collections operations." - Vytas Kisielius, CEO, Collections Marketing Center

Customer:
Collections Marketing Center, Inc. (CMC)

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Business Resiliency, Cloud Computing, High Availability , Security and Resiliency - Cloud Delivered Offerings

IBM Business Partner:
Vissensa

Overview

Collections Marketing Center, Inc. (CMC) is an independent software vendor based in Wilmington, Delaware. The company was founded in 2006 in response to a growing need among financial institutions for more effective debt collections management.

Business need:
As Collections Marketing Center (CMC) prepared to launch its FlexCollect platform in the UK, it needed to meet strict security and reliability requirements in order to win over prospective clients.

Solution:
CMC partnered with Vissensa to host UK clients’ systems on a private managed cloud platform. Based on IBM® System x® servers, the solution offers high availability and resilience for growing workloads.

Benefits:
Trusted, reliable IBM hardware provides a secure platform for hosting sensitive customer data at a competitive price. Highly scalable architecture supports the changing demands of a diverse client base.

Case Study

Collections Marketing Center, Inc. (CMC) is an independent software vendor based in Wilmington, Delaware. The company was founded in 2006 in response to a growing need among financial institutions for more effective debt collections management.

Revolutionising collections operations
CMC pioneered adaptive collections services for lenders with its FlexCollect platform. An integrated suite of collections services, CMC FlexCollect enables creditors to reach and engage with individual borrowers more effectively, thereby increasing collections and reducing delinquencies and charge-offs.

Vytas Kisielius, CEO of Collections Marketing Center, states: “Financial institutions today face significant challenges when it comes to managing their collections operations effectively. Typically, lenders lack a co-ordinated strategy for engaging with borrowers, resulting in reduced productivity, wasted channel spend, poor regulatory compliance and disjointed communication methods that end up frustrating and alienating customers. All of this has created a perfect storm of problems: institutions are spending more on collections operations, but still find that they are not collecting enough and not keeping up with ever-changing regulations.”

He continues: “We developed FlexCollect to help lenders address these challenges, so that they are able to collect more and spend less while ensuring compliance. With our platform in place, lenders can manage the entire customer experience from one point of control and create a unified strategy for collections. Offering customers more options for managing their repayments and tailoring specific interactions to each individual helps lenders boost their rate of collection, improve agent productivity and reduce the costs of outgoing communications. Moreover, FlexCollect keeps track of all these customer interactions in a way that enables the lenders to prove compliance with regional and federal regulations.”

Reaching a wider market
Response to CMC’s FlexCollect offering has been impressive: many leading financial institutions in the United States have been quick to adopt the innovative platform, including six of the nation’s top ten banks.

Encouraged by this success, CMC seized the opportunity to take the platform global, and looked to extend its reach to lenders in the United Kingdom. The company sought a data centre hosting provider whose experience and skill could meet CMC’s high expectations, and found the ideal partner in Vissensa.

“Vissensa had considerable experience of working with large financial institutions, which gave us a lot of confidence that they could deliver exactly what we needed,” notes Vytas Kisielius. “We also take a very hands-on approach when it comes to service delivery, and wanted to find a partner who was just as proactive as we are. Vissensa absolutely delivers on that front, and we couldn’t be more pleased with their level of efficiency and collaborative approach.”

Bringing UK clients on board
Entering the UK market required CMC to make a number of adjustments to its operating strategy. For customers based in the United States, the company takes a platform-as-a-service approach to delivering FlexCollect, and uses a large number of commodity servers to build high levels of redundancy into its infrastructure.

CMC found that financial services organisations in the UK were more sceptical of this approach, and needed more assurance of the quality and reliability of the infrastructure. With guidance from Vissensa, the company decided to change its plan.

Steve Groom, CEO of Vissensa, elaborates: “When it comes to working with UK-based financial institutions, managed service providers have to go above and beyond the norm in assuring clients that their data is secure, and that the system has the integrity to maintain availability 24x7. In light of this, we encouraged CMC to adopt our VsX platform – a private managed cloud environment, built on trusted IBM technology.”

Ultra-reliable IBM infrastructure
Working with CMC, Vissensa designed and implemented a fully managed private cloud solution, running on IBM System x 3550 class servers. Vytas Kisielius remarks: “Vissensa proved that IBM could really provide the best platform for supporting our UK- and EU-based clientele. As a fast-growing company that is fairly new to the UK market, being backed by the IBM brand is a huge boost for us: customers feel much more reassured when they learn that our services are underpinned by IBM technology.”

For maximum availability and resilience, Vissensa established a dual-site configuration for the cloud environment: CMC’s primary systems are hosted at a Tier 4 data centre in Slough, guaranteeing higher than 99.995 percent availability for round-the-clock operations. A secondary site in Amsterdam provides backup and failover capabilities.

Greater flexibility at a competitive price
The new private cloud platform, based on highly-scalable IBM System x3550 class servers, provides CMC with the flexibility it needs to meet the changing demands of a growing client base. The company has deployed more than 50 servers to support its operations, a number which continues to increase steadily. With efficient management, support and monitoring from Vissensa, CMC can be sure that its systems are running smoothly at all times.

Vytas Kisielius says: “The support we receive from Vissensa is key in enabling us to maintain a high level of responsiveness as we continue to grow. We support a diverse range of clients, whose requirements vary significantly, and we need a great deal of flexibility to ensure optimum service levels. With Vissensa helping us to manage efficient IBM systems, we can create exactly the right combination of servers, space and power for each one of our clients.”

This high level of agility and responsiveness also comes at an attractive price point. As Vytas Kisielius explains: “When you factor in the high performance, quality and reliability, IBM really delivers a winning solution that is also extremely competitive from a financial point of view. This is ideal for us as a growing company that is constantly looking to keep operational expenses low.”

Solid foundation for success
With reliable IBM System x servers supporting a flexible private cloud environment, CMC has gained the agility and credibility it needs to quickly establish itself as a rising player in the UK’s financial software market.

Vytas Kisielius concludes: “We have built up a valuable partnership with Vissensa that has allowed us to get our UK operations up and running very quickly, and to guarantee top levels of service and security for clients. Moving to a private cloud platform underpinned by trusted, reliable IBM hardware has been a massive advantage when it comes to extending the FlexCollect platform to UK- and EU-based financial institutions. In this way, we are helping more lenders to engage greater numbers of customers and take control of their collections operations.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System x, System x: System x3550 M3

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM United Kingdom Limited PO Box 41, North Harbour Portsmouth Hampshire, PO6 3AU Produced in the United Kingdom February 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and System x are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml FlexCollect is a trademark of Collections Marketing Center, Inc., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. IBM and Vissensa are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Vissensa makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation.