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Case Study: Alliance Data Systems Overhaul Leads to Greater Efficiencies to Better Compete in a Changing World

Case Study: Alliance Data Systems Technology Overhaul

As businesses grow, updating technologies oftentimes falls to the bottom of a strategy list.

Yet, to effectively handle substantial growth, reduce costs, and to meet the ever-increasing demands of consumers, upgrading and implementing to the most advanced technologies is imperative.

I was able to assist Alliance Data Systems with their upgrade and offer it here as a case study for you.

An Upgrade to Compete in an Evolving Market

Situation: Alliance Data Systems (Bread Financial) needed to perform a technology overhaul to:

  • reduce operational costs
  • improve system effectiveness
  • simplify its business model

These steps would allow ADS not only to focus on delivering innovative payment, lending, and saving solutions that consumers demand, but would also allow it to effectively compete in an evolving market.

After a thorough review of their systems, I was able to analyze the situation, offer expert advice and monitor successful implementation of new practices.

Alliance Data Systems: Historical Background

Case Study: Alliance Data Systems Technology Overhaul

ADS started as JC Penney credit card division. Once independent, it began to dominate the integrated credit and marketing services which included private label, co-branded and commercial credit card programs for vaunted mall brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Limited, Pottery Barn and many more.

As the shopping mall business model came under pressure, many brands began to suffer. New credit competitors entered the market and consumers began to demand more.

It created a perfect storm for ADS.

A Major Core Replacement Amidst Other Projects

Situation: ADS needed to replace its aging systems with new technology, with the ability to make changes quickly to satisfy marketplace demands. They chose Fiserv Optimus to replace their aging and highly customized TSYS based systems.

Problem: ADS had slimmed its operations over the years to remain cost effective. A major core/card replacement project demanded the capacity and competency of expert resources.

All this needed to happen fast.

Additionally, there were inflight projects and major branding overhauls occurring at the same time. The question arose: How do we stand up a quality (test) organization quickly and effectively for the program and improvement – and build the existing quality organization at the same time?

Advice: Bring on a self-sufficient testing team with tools and expertise to work with businesspeople in support of the technology program. Also, bring on a separate team of quality experts to assess the existing organization and use the change being pushed by the new technology program to grow and improve the existing quality organization.

Action: I brought on and stood up a full program testing team to perform quality testing services for the technology program. Another team of experts was brought on to assess, assist and transform the existing quality organization.

Outcome: In four months, a fully functioning testing team was entirely operational and performing. This team delivered a very successful technology conversion on schedule.

This allowed ADS to rebrand itself and provide many more services in the marketplace. The existing QA organization was transformed into a vibrant and effective quality team.

Mission accomplished.

Patrick Martin is an industry expert in banking technology, deciphering the elements that work collectively towards progress. He builds roadmaps for successful execution. Contact him today to see how he can use his innovative strategies and industry expertise to help your organization.

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