Launching a new UK retail bank

Leading UK Retail Bank

 Our client, originally launched as a joint venture with an established high street bank, decided to end the long-term partnership so that it could trade independently as a Bank; its products and services were currently available via many channels including in-store, by telephone and online.


With an extremely ambitious three year launch plan, the Bank set out to build a new Retail Banking model in the UK to offer customers more choice and better value. In order to deliver this vision, the Bank decided to appoint a Systems Integration (SI) panel – a preferred set of suppliers within the SI space - to ensure both that relevant SI expertise was available when required and that the work packages were awarded on a competitive basis. After an exhaustive tendering process, Sopra Steria was awarded a place on the final panel of three, alongside two other IT industry heavyweights.

Client situation

The banking landscape is subject to very strict and regularly changing regulatory requirements and is by its very nature extremely complex: at the start of the Bank's launch programme there were nearly 100 banking components that made up the banking platform. The major challenge was how to bring all of these together quickly and correctly within the required timescale, while managing both the business and technical risk. The Bank decided to focus the launch programme on two key areas:

Transitioning the existing business from the previous joint venture to 100% ownership and creating its own banking platform.

Expanding its portfolio of existing products such as insurance, savings, loans, credit cards as well as launching its own new products (newly branded) including mortgages, current accounts and savings (ISAs) etc.

As soon as the SI panel had been established work began immediately with delivery of the SI framework focusing on three main streams:

  • Banking: savings & loans, credit cards, current accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Customer Programme: focused on customer service


Sopra Steria quickly established itself as a core supplier that is integral to both the Bank's launch and future Business as Usual requirements. This was largely been down to a strong cultural fit: from the outset the Sopra Steria teams really took the time to understand the client-side perspective in terms of the Bank's approach to addressing its objectives and challenges and then adapted their behaviours to suit the particular needs, and style of this client. 

What Have We Delivered?

The scope of our participation over the years has included:

  • Fixed-price SI projects
  • Consultancy
  • Test Management and Services
  • Project Management
  • Business Analysis
  • Environments Consultancy and Deployment
  • Batch Integration
  • ETL Consultancy and Deployment and Technical Analysis

Preferred ETL Supplier

At a critical point just prior to the launch of the savings and loans stream, the Bank realised it couldn't establish the technical infrastructure in time, which would leave it unable to meet the agreed delivery timescales.

Sopra Steria responded to this significant client challenge with real agility by building our own development and test environments for the ETL solutions to be developed by Sopra Steria Steria on behalf of the Bank, which enabled the delivery targets to be met. This also highlighted our genuine commitment as a proactive SI partner that is focused on ensuring successful delivery of the Bank's business, and is willing to invest substantially in support of mitigating risk on the Client's behalf.

Soon after this, Sopra Steria achieved sole supplier status in the ETL Technology space within the Credit Cards, Mortgages and Customer domains.

Client benefits

Some of the benefits of this relationship include:

  • Shared risk profile: we shared a significant amount of risk with the Bank to ensure it can meet its challenging delivery targets – on time and on budget
  • Client-side approach to delivery: we adapted to this client's particular ways of working in a very fast-moving and challenging environment, again to help ensure delivery targets are met
  • Fully integrated Sopra Steria teams: there were multiple suppliers working with the Bank to ensure delivery – our teams worked hard to integrate closely with the Bank's internal teams and those of other suppliers; again helping to reduce the risk and management overhead for the Bank
  • Local supplier with global reach: our strong local presence in Scotland (where the Bank's HQ is located) enables us to engage with the Bank's personnel, very quickly face to face, as required to address any priority situations, as well as being able to call on our extensive Group experience

Current situation

The programme was completed successfully in June 2012 and Sopra Steria continues to work closely with the Bank, supporting the launch of new products.