‘UPC created a dedicated SEPA team’
Telecoms company UPC completed its migration to SEPA ahead of schedule, and the service went live in November 2013
Carol Grennan, chief financial officer of UPC
According to Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO) it was the first telecoms company to do so and the third in the country overall.
UPC prioritised the implementation plan so that it was completed in advance of the February 2014 deadline as it has significant volumes of payments being processed electronically every week (more than 300,000 direct debit transactions per month).
“The conversion to SEPA in November was relatively seamless from our customers perspective, with no visible change to their direct-debit payment schedule,” said Carol Grennan, chief financial officer of UPC.
As with any big change to the way a company works, UPC faced a number of challenges in the migration to SEPA.
Grennan says the first priority was to outline an impact analysis, to match SEPA guidelines and requirements against the systems and software in place, to manage the changeover and to create a dedicated team to deliver the full programme from concept to delivery.
“UPC’s transition to SEPA required careful coordination with our banking partners and formalised feedback loops. UPC created a dedicated SEPA project team consisting of IT, PMO [project management office], billing, financial customer service, field operations and communications personnel.
“Frequent project meetings were held internally, in tandem with external meetings with our banking partners, and attendance at a series of industry forums.
“One of the key challenges was that this transition and the relevant software upgrades were being undertaken by the banking sector in parallel with the implementation programme being followed by UPC, which required close co-ordination with our banking partners and IPSO.”
While UPC has already migrated, Grennan believes that the decision by IPSO to extend the deadline will help companies who are struggling to get compliant on time. “Much has been written about the European Commission wanting to push the SEPA deadline back to August 1, 2014. We also note that IPSO and its member banks have set a new deadline, which seems reasonable.”