flag of Mexico

How far is Mexico from Turkey?

Well, it is so far, there is not even a direct flight yet. In spite of the fact that Turkish Airlines brags about flying more countries than any other airline and flies all the way down to Buenos Aires, there is no direct flight between a country of 120 and 80 million people.

It is so far that the time difference is 8 hours. So when people in Mexico City come to work at 9 am, many people in Istanbul are about to leave the office.

And Spanish and Turkish languages don’t have much in common either.

Yet, BBVA Bancomer and Garanti proved that all these are not unsurmountable issues. In November we brought a very interesting project live in Mexico with Bancomer after almost 2 years of work.

Mexico and Turkey may be far way from each other physically yet there are many similarities. Both have large lands and populated cities. (in fact the traffic in Mexico City and Istanbul are equally bad). Both have young populations. Both have similar per capita incomes of around 10,000 USD. And both countries have neighbors with powerful economic blocks. NAFTA and EU.

Bancomer and Garanti both are leaders in card/payments business in their countries with millions of cardholders. (30 and 18 million respectively) While Bancomer has become a better expert in risk based models and CRM on the issuing side, Garanti developed a very aggressive model with the acquiring side. (200,000 and 600,000 POS terminals respectively)

When Garanti become part of the BBVA family and we established a Global Payment Systems Line of Business, one of our goals was to pass on the synergies. Yet some synergies need software development and changes in organizational structure. And this is exactly what we have achieved.

Garanti helped Bancomer to focus on acquiring as a business line along with key metrics. Many workshops were held to pass on that knowledge. After Bancomer adopted a fast increase in signing and servicing merchants, we have decided to leverage the famous VidaBancomer program with many promotional capabilities that the Garanti POS terminals through the bonus card program have.

Hence the project “Campaign Module” was born.

The project involved the analysis, design, development, testing and maintenance of the Campaign Management Module – a complex system consists of four different modules:

The primary aim of the task was to integrate Garanti Bank’s point of sale campaign management module to BBVA Bancomer’s system. During the analysis phase which took place between August and November 2013, several meetings took place in both Turkey and Mexico to tailor the current design to customize for Bancomer’s needs, and the analysis of the module along with some technical documentation (CCRs) have been created.

Development process started with the conversion of the programming language of the source code to another one in order to follow BBVA coding standards. Actual development then started, and it took place between September 2013 and mid-February 2014. Testing and development phases continued simultaneously in order to keep the project time plan shorter. In order to minimize possible installation problems on Bancomer’s side, a pre-installation phase took place between March and May 2014.

Therefore then the real the installation was achieved by Bancomer in a week. After the installation, integration tests consist of two parts were took place between June and July 2014. The first phase of the integration testing was done remotely in Turkey by modifying the work hours to adapt to local Mexico time zone. The second phase of the integration testing was done on site in Mexico in July. During all the phases, several parties from Garanti and Bancomer including project management, architectural, system administration and network areas supported the project. Followed by the integration tests, as the last step of the project before the production, user acceptance testing by BBVA took place until mid-October.

Finally, by October 22, 2014, the deployment phase has been started, and the system went live by November 7, 2014.

Now what are going to do with this system?

Bancomer will be able to deal with almost any request from any merchant to increase volume at the point of sale; big or small:

A petrol chain asking for a campaign for a month that involves 2000 outlets and 4 repeat transactions? Done. ✔

A retail chain asking for additional 3 installments and 20% more puntos? Done. ✔

A shopping mall asking for cross campaign in any of its stores to earn more puntos? Done. ✔

A small shop asking for 2 more installments and/or 15% more points? Done. ✔

A branch trying to increase acceptance in its neighborhood asking for a bundle of campaigns that give cardholders airtime for 25 of its small merchants only for women cardholders between 22 and 30 and live in that area? Done. ✔

In a country of 115 million with only 600,000 merchants and card penetration (of the expenditures) of below 20%, I believe these promotions will prove to be very useful and down to the point to expand acceptance. Which in turn will increase financial inclusion, tax income and registered economy.

Good things happen when we learn from one another and achieve better results through collaboration.

I am grateful to all Bancomer and Garanti teams who made this happen.


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