Pexim Solutions decided to create new banking software solutions in the Microsoft® environment. Partnering with Microsoft helped this Belgrade-based solution provider almost single-handedly turn around a mainframe- dominated financial services market. Today, more than 60 percent of banks in the Balkan region use Pexim financial solutions built with Microsoft tools to run on integrated Microsoft software.
Pexim Solutions has come a long way since 1995 when the company opened shop in Belgrade with three developers and a single banking application. Today, Pexim is a market leader in turnkey banking solutions for the Balkan region. With more than 45 customers in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, Pexim is well known for using new technologies to create flexible solutions in core banking, e-banking, and banking business intelligence solutions.
Pexim offers its customers the accumulated experience of more than 20 years of software development for banks and a deep understanding of the financial services industry. Understanding the banking world from the inside out gave Pexim an advantage in forecasting industry needs and was the reason the company decided to align itself with Microsoft early on despite the prevailing IBM dominance in the banking industry.
"Not a single bank in the Balkan region ran their applications on a Microsoft® platform, but when we experimented with the Windows® operating system, [Microsoft] SQL Server™, we were so impressed with their power and flexibility compared to IBM DB2–based solutions that we could see the benefits this technology would bring to our customers," recalls Miodrag Mircetic, Chief Executive Officer at Pexim Solutions. "We were looking for a technology platform that would carry our business forward, and that platform had to be flexible, functional, and affordable. At the time, our choice was revolutionary. So for our first three customers, we had to make a compromise and we installed our Windows-based application with IBM DB2 running on AS 400 servers."
Pexim’s decision to align its business with Microsoft grew out of clear-headed foresight in the face of changes occurring in the financial market and a prescient awareness of the political and social upheaval that occurred in the Balkan region during the last decade of the twentieth century. Armed with a rapid development environment to craft solutions based on flexible, functional, cost-effective, and integrated Microsoft software, Pexim gained a competitive edge that it has never lost.
"We watched as the financial industry in ex-Yugoslavia transformed from an old-fashioned market environment to a very modern, Western-aligned banking industry," says Mircetic. "The destruction of old boundaries and the creation of new countries, new centralized banks, new regulations, and more advanced products and services: we survived this upheaval because Pexim was ahead of the game offering Microsoft Windows−based solutions. Traditional solutions running on IBM and Oracle failed to help banks negotiate these troubled times because they were too expensive, unwieldy, and inflexible."
In the beginning, there was no Microsoft office in the Balkan region, so Pexim reached out to a group of sympathetic Microsoft developers who had spent time in the West. "These local guys worked hard to support us here in the neighborhood for three or four years," Mircetic remembers. "Then Microsoft established an office in Belgrade and we became a partner, and they really backed our efforts to become the top player in the banking industry on the Microsoft platform. We’ve gone back and replaced our first customers’ DB2 platforms with our solutions running on SQL Server. From almost 90 percent market saturation, today only a few banks run IBM DB2 software. In the Balkan region, more than 60 percent of banks rely on Pexim banking solutions on the Microsoft platform."
- Partnering with Microsoft is integral to Pexim’s success. The combination of a group of forward-thinking developers and Microsoft software that offers a rapid development environment, built-in flexibility, and functionality at an appealing price continues to form the basis of a win-win relationship. Today, Pexim is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and was the global winner in the Server Consolidation category in the Microsoft Winning Customer Awards in 2005.
- Technical support to beat the market.Pexim describes Microsoft technical support as the most important element of the partnership, both through developer training—on Microsoft .NET connection software, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Windows Vista™ operating system, 2007 Microsoft Office suites, and the WinFX™ application programming interface—and through events such as Synergia that helped kick-start a healthy partner ecosystem in the Balkan region. "The Belgrade office is very solution oriented, and Microsoft encouraged us to participate in five early adopter programs," says Aleksandar Milosevic, Product Line Manager for Pexim. "This way we benefit from a proactive approach to developing on the Microsoft platform, bringing out new solutions well ahead of the market."
- New products satisfy customer needs and improve sales. Tezauri, Pexim’s integrated banking business intelligence solution based on the SQL Server 2005 platform, was first installed in production on the beta version of SQL Server 2005 six months before the official launch. "Our last few solutions were deployed in production as betas, showing the level of trust we built with Microsoft technologies," adds Milosevic."Tezuari’s integration with the Office environment through XML integration with [Microsoft Office] SharePoint® Portal Server 2003 and Excel® is a competitive sales point for us that increases customer touch points."
- Marketing support to reach new markets. Co-marketing and joint activities that promote Pexim’s solutions are helping the company drive business internationally. "Microsoft is incredible in helping us expand our market, providing leads in Southeast Asia and generating prospects in Russia and Lithuania. "We’re growing by more than 30 percent annually," concludes Mircetic. "And Microsoft has been there every step of the way."
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Document published June 2006