XRS Looks to the Future Through the Cloud

Debt collection has been around longer than the existence of money itself. Today, debt recovery plays a central role in the credit industry as more and more people apply for mortgages, auto financing, student loans and healthcare assistance. Thankfully, the days of nagging telephone calls and repetitive paper reminders are becoming a thing of the past. Technology has taken their place, improving everything from processing times and financial accuracy to cyber security and improved regulatory compliance. More importantly, financial institutions can write off fewer bad debts.

One company leading this charge is Dublin-based Expert Revenue Systems (XRS), a credit management software services firm that helps businesses improve their debt recovery and credit control. Their specialized software is used by major Irish and international banks, as well as more than 60 credit unions and major consumer telecom providers to improve their credit management and recovery processes.

XRS offers advanced functionality, automation and insight to dramatically improve efficiency and reduce costs. But as anyone in the IT industry knows, state-of-the-art technology can become outdated faster than a bitcoin transaction on payday. As the company’s 30th anniversary ticked by, XRS identified the need for several major IT upgrades to their hosting environment.

XRS turned to Sungard Availability Systems (Sungard AS), its long-time technology partner for resilience and recovery, to put together an AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud solution that would help them drastically enhance their responsiveness and security. Their goals for the project were straightforward but aggressive:

    Build better resilience
    Achieve higher performance
    Improve security
    Increase flexibility
    Remove limits to growth
    Take advantage of cost savings

The Catalyst for Change

For XRS, the name of the game is persistence: producing a debt recovery solution that does what it says it will do, without being annoying. Their flagship product – the RMS Recovery Management System – makes sure the collection process is performed at the perfect time while remaining flexible enough to allow clients to make payment arrangements that work for both sides. With RMS, nothing gets forgotten or falls through the cracks.

That’s the same principle that guided the technology refresh process with Sungard AS: putting together a cloud recovery solution that’s as flexible and scalable as the XRS products demand, but with ample security and resilience to recover at a second’s notice should an incident alter the equation.

With a rapidly shifting customer base, XRS’ IT team needed to adopt the latest Windows 2016 environments since their existing servers were running on older 2008R2 technology and nearing end-of-life. This was the most urgent item on their to-do list. They also determined they needed to further strengthen their security posture, bolstering their disaster recovery capabilities and building in greater resilience.

But the biggest change was their desire to move to the AWS public cloud. The agility, scalability, resilience and reliability were all attractive to XRS. What’s more, the speed of transformation was particularly appealing. Knowing Sungard AS was rapidly expanding its public cloud footprint and gaining AWS certifications and capabilities at a breakneck pace, XRS knew they were up to the task.

Taking the First Steps

XRS started the project by asking Sungard AS to perform a GAP analysis to measure current performance and plan for improvement. They soon discovered that AWS had far more to offer than any other data center solution, with the greatest agility. Armed with this insight, Sungard AS then designed a technology transformation plan that built upon its Cloud Recovery – AWS managed solution, providing immediate improved resiliency with a 4-hour Recovery Time Objective (RTO) SLA. With Sungard AS’ solution, workloads can be hosted on-premise or within another AWS Region, and then recovered to the customer’s desired AWS Region.

Cloud Recovery – AWS lets customers combine the power of hyperscale cloud with the IT resiliency expertise of Sungard AS into a complete recovery solution. This includes onboarding, implementation and ongoing monitoring and management, so they can decrease recovery time, get ready access to business data, prioritize apps and data, and consolidate and simplify recovery.

Sungard AS served as XRS’ backup system, which made sense having architected the new solution in the first place. Thereafter Sungard AS would manage day to day activities for XRS – a process they were already familiar with. By relying on Sungard AS to manage their hosting environment, XRS could focus on configuring apps for their own infrastructure versus worrying about hosting requirements.

The Results

When the IT transformation was complete, XRS achieved all its goals – lower costs, a state-of-the-art cloud environment, speedier response times and best-in-class security – without losing a minute of up time. Storage is mirrored across multiple AWS availability zones, guaranteeing XRS will be protected through any type of catastrophe. The ticketing process (logging changes or making upgrades to the technology infrastructure) takes place instantaneously. More importantly, XRS can scale their solution up or down based on a moment’s notice.

The hard work of revamping their entire technology environment gave XRS the peace of mind to move forward with their next project: a web-based solution that will disrupt the market and produce significant savings for customers. It’s too soon to release details, but XRS is sure that once again they will shake up the market – with the confidence they will deliver enduring customer satisfaction.