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Management Strategies

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BSI Bank Turns to Open Source Content Management System

BSI Bank turns to an open source content management solution to ensure its web presence keeps up with its high-net-worth image.

To ensure its web presence matched its growing profile as a bank focused on high-net-worth clients and wealth management, Banca della Svizzera Italiana (BSI Bank) in Ticino, Switzerland, needed to enhance its online content delivery capabilities, suggests Gianluco Balo, BSI's head of web communication. In searching for a content management system in 2009, he says, the bank elected to go open source, selecting the Magnolia (Basel, Switzerland) CMS as the backbone of its platform.

"It's not as expensive as other solutions," explains Balo. "And the functionalities it offers are similar."

But going for a lower-cost solution was by no means the bottom line for a bank with US$76 billion in assets. In addition to evaluating Microsoft SharePoint as a solution for in-house collaboration and web content management, BSI "also evaluated other content management systems, some of which were open source," Balo says. "At the end we decided that Magnolia was the one that best fit our needs."

Generally, he adds, Magnolia won because it was simple to use and offered the functionality the bank needed. "It surprised us when we saw the functionality because it was really simple," Balo says. "For a banking environment, where not all the people sharing content have technical skills, it is important that you have something that is user friendly. If not, we would not have reached the objective of the change of CMS."

At the heart of BSI's adoption of the new CMS was a desire to increase collaboration and more smoothly delegate responsibilities across business units to create and publish content to the web, according to Balo, who notes that the bank was working with a four-year-old website and a CMS that created bottlenecks. "Our old website had to be dismissed because of problems with the infrastructure," he says.

Balo's vision of a content management system was something flexible enough as a platform that it could be used for web content management, collaboration on the intranet and project management. At the same time, he adds, his department internally needed "more control over what's published, and wanted to delegate abilities to different areas of the bank, different areas around the world."

But as the bank grew into more of an international business over the past five years, Balo explains, it had established more international offices, and had more people who needed to access the system from more places. Among Magnolia's draws, he points out, are its integrated workflow capabilities, which allow his team to delegate responsibilities yet maintain centralized control of what ultimately gets published to the web.

Keeping it Simple

While content delegation and improved web collaboration were critical for BSI Bank, so was maintaining simplicity throughout the whole process, Balo notes. That extended from the Magnolia CMS' implementation in early 2010, to its ease of use and maintenance.

BSI hosts Magnolia Enterprise on its own web servers, according to Balo. The solution, which is built on the Java Enterprise Edition Platform, allows the bank to combine web content management and document management through a web-based interface; assign metadata and access rights; and publish, store and retrieve documents efficiently. Balo says training users across business lines has been simple and inexpensive. "All they primarily need to do is upload documents," he relates. "It's really easy."

And Balo doesn't forecast big costs on the horizon, even as BSI prepares to launch a redesigned website in March. The Magnolia system has been easy to maintain, even for his small team responsible for web management. "It's not such a big cost," Balo says.

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