In 2004 Standard Life Group carried out a strategic review of its business and decided to seek a listing on the stock market this year.

It began life in 1825, and is now one of the largest financial services groups in the UK, providing life assurance and pensions, investment management, banking and healthcare insurance. In 2005 European Embedded Value (Group EEV) was £3,744 million, up 26 per cent from £2,964m the previous year. In May members of the Group voted decisively to demutualise, and approved the plan for
its £5 billion stock market flotation. Standard Life has about 2.4m members, who will all gain windfalls when the company goes public.

Last year the group’s IT organisation began focusing on support for the proposed demutualisation of the company, concentrating on management information and standardised financial reporting across all business units.

As part of this it put in a large data warehouse in the life and pensions division to provide the information, analysis tools and support so that it could pinpoint and analyse the profitability of different products. Its fund management operation began using Business Intelligence software last year to examine profit trends at the unit, and this has been seen as a major success at the company. It will now begin to use the application more widely across the group.

The SAS software has helped pinpoint cost of sales and the tool is being used to analyse the profitability of product lines, and it has also been used to decide whether fund management business should expand into new markets.

The group has also invested in SOA, and believes it has made huge savings in development costs by reusing software components. It runs around 70 consumer applications on the architecture, and these handle more than 300 reusable business services covering the processing of new business, customer claims and third-party money laundering checks.

In preparation for the demutualisation, Standard Life began its cost saving and repositioning programme in 2004, and group chief executive Sandy Crombie said this has been responsible for £483m of the value in the book last year.