Legacy system overhaul mitigates risk, enhances user experience

Fisher & Paykel Finance’s consumer lending application Core Risk Assessment module had reached the end-of-life. The company needed to replace the legacy system to improve scalability, maintainability, ease of configuration and enhance the customer buying experience.

The Challenge

The Fisher & Paykel Finance Group (FPF), provide high-quality financial services to New Zealanders through its Q Card, Farmers Card, Equipment Finance and Consumer Insurance products. Today, these services are delivered to over 400,000 people and are focussed on the financial needs of customers – both investors and borrowers. 

A key element to successful lending is effective risk assessment. However, the company’s Core Risk Assessment (CRA) module was outdated and required an overhaul to meet future business needs. Originally launched in 1997, this important module was used to assess credit applications and provide credit approval decisions that ultimately determined the quality of the Debtor’s Ledger.

Over time, the CRA module had become unwieldy to update due to continuous modifications introduced to support changing business needs.  The reference data was hard to manage and the aging technology (Visual Objects) prevented the processing of concurrent requests – resulting in performance issues and ‘timing out’ of systems in dealers’ stores.  Maintaining the currency of system documentation became challenging and only a limited number of staff had the understanding and skills necessary to maintain this important system.

The Solution

As a result of being involved in a number of previously successful projects for FPF, Datacom was invited to collaboratively re-develop the CRA module.  Working closely with the in-house FPF Information Services team, Datacom applied their pragmatic ‘can-do’ approach to the ORiginating Credit Assessment (ORCA) project.

The project aimed to provide a custom built replacement CRA system that would meet a number of new objectives for FPF.  To deliver on these objectives, the team used Java technology and the Agile project management methodology, allowing easy integration and any issues to be identified and remedied early in the development.  This meant delivery timeframes were met and a quality solution was developed.

The ORCA system design adheres to the principles of integrity, security, reliability, scalability, performance and maintainability and represents a true transformational leap forward from the previous CRA module.

The ORCA system is now flexible (allowing business rules to be easily configured or changed), and well structured (built on an easy to maintain technical framework).  Building the new application also allowed architectural compliance with FPF’s preferred application platforms of Ingres and Java.

Today, all FPF consumer credit applications are processed by ORCA.

“The enhanced risk assessment system has made a huge difference to our business. Customers’ applications are now accurately processed faster in-store, making it easier for them to buy things. Our business growth ambitions are supported by the concurrent processing and assessment of multiple customer applications. We worked collaboratively together with proactive communication, regular progress reviews and timely attention to resolve issues as they arose resulting in a quality, problem free implementation.”

Colin Smith - CIO, Fisher & Paykel Finance


  • Lower overheads were achieved as support time and the associated manual recovery costs from previous stability problems were reduced.