Standard Life says single platform holds key to cost savings

Standard Life has said its establishment of a single groupwide IT platform and the centralisation of development of key processes is paying dividends as it strives to cut underlying costs by £100m by 2009.

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Standard Life has said its establishment of a single IT platform and the centralisation of development of key processes is paying dividends as it strives to cut underlying costs by £100m by 2009.

The insurance company, which this week beat forecasts by delivering a 71% rise in first-half operating profits to £353m, also said it was increasing its usage of shared services, which had help it to cut its staff headcount by more than 250 in the first six months of the year. In the same period UK life and pension sales jumped 45% to £6.95bn and worldwide life and pension sales reached £8.18bn, up 31%.

The insurer is currently migrating all its operations onto a single IT platform and said the first phase of a new policy administration system for small and medium sized enterprises was developed on the platform and went live recently to support the firm’s SME product launch in July.

Other product lines, including business acquired from FirstAssist in April last year, are expected to move fully onto the new platform during 2008. Full policy migration onto the new platform is still slated for completion by the end of the third quarter 2009, the financial services firm said.

Standard Life said that establishing a single IT platform had “long-term strategic advantages" as well as paying off more immediately with its SME product launch.

“It enables us to launch new and flexible product propositions [and] also positions us for joint customer proposition development with other part of the UK group,” it said. It added that the platform should improve operating efficiency and reduce costs through the development and use of e-commerce.

“The benefits of the platform will start to come through in the rest of 2007, with the full benefits being realised from 2008.”

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