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Capita announces new software spend as it shuts Bishop's Stortford office

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Capita Financial Software is closing its Bishop’s Stortford office but says it is investing £4m in its software solutions over the next 12 months.

The £4m is to be spent developing Capita’s attitude to risk solution, Synaptic Modeller for its launch in Q2 as well as a legacy transfer analysis tool

Enhancements will also be made to due diligence tool Synaptic Comparator.

The firm recently moved its 40-person headquarters to new offices in Whiteley, Hampshire from its previous location in Fareham and has now announced it is to close its Bishop’s Stortford Office.

The 13 roles affected by the Bishop’s Stortford closure are now in consultation under the proposal of being moved to Whiteley.

Capita Financial Software managing director Adam Byford says: “The size and scale of this investment demonstrates our continued commitment to evolving our portfolio of products and services for the adviser community.”

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Readers' comments (11)

  • Isn't Bishop's Stortford where the support team is held?! Surely hardly any of them will make the move to Whiteley? What are us CFS clients that use Client Care Desktop and the other applications meant to do if we have problems? Very worrying.

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  • Roland Rawicz-Szczerbo

    Hi Gareth H

    Yes, CCD is supported out of Bishop's Stortford. I can't imagine how my ex-colleagues are feeling, having seen Quay Software wither away in front of their eyes and I wish them all the best in these difficult times.

    You can imagine when we sold the business to Capita, we didn’t expect our baby to be starved of the essential nutrients necessary to keep it healthy, so that it could flourish in what promised to be an exciting period of growth within a FTSE30 business. Suffice it to say; when Capita pulled the plug on Enabler and consigned CFSL to a division outside of FS it was clear then that things were going to change and not for the better.

    So Bishop’s Stortford will close and I cannot see how support for CCD can continue in any meaningful way. If you lose domain knowledge through efficiency savings (=redundancies) then it is only a matter of time before clients follow. This is why all of the senior team of Quay are now running Time4Advice.

    Roland Rawicz-Szczerbo
    Former owner of Quay Software and owner of Time4Advice

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  • It's not only the support team, what's left of the CCD development team is also based in Bishop's Stortford.

    I can confidently say the most likely outcome is that one of the thirteen will make the 126 mile move to Whiteley. Capita must also know this to be the most likely outcome.

    This would leave Capita with no-one who can support or develop CCD apart from possibly one person who would have to demoted to take on the task.

    This looks to be the end of the road for CCD.
    I'm surprised they didn't bury that news in the same press release.

    Former Employee

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  • Our team in Bishop’s Stortford is both skilled and extremely knowledgeable which is why we have proposed to move these roles to Whiteley. It is our hope that our valued colleagues will join us at our new headquarters and we are consulting with the team in relation to this.

    Any decision such as this is never taken lightly and we have considered all of the options available to ensure that we are able to continue to meet the needs of our customers whilst supporting our strategic roadmap. As with all customers focused businesses, a contingency plan has been put in place in order to effectively support all of our products and our customer services and support teams will continue to operate to the high standards we have been successful in achieving.

    We have continued to enhance all of our adviser solutions – including Client Care Desktop (CCD) - a new version of which is expected later this year. Furthermore we have continued to align CCD with our other adviser solutions, including Synaptic Research, Webline and Synaptic Comparator (which recently won the Leading Innovation Award at the Aberdeen UK Platform Awards).

    CCD continues to be a significant focus for Capita Financial Software and full customer support will continue, as will further integrations with our next generation of software for advisers, starting with Synaptic Modeller.

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  • Utter hogwash! The deprecation of Capita Financial Software has been in the works for three years! Oddly about the same time frame it takes Capita to demolish new acquisitions from start to finish!

    The reality is that the technology that CCD runs on is ailing, inefficient and decrepit. Anyone who has had cause to contact support in relation to dreaded “Manager cannot be found” issues, especially those running large databases, must know what I’m talking about. It stands to reason that future support and provision for this deprecated technology, not to mention the cumbersome and overwhelming complexity of the CCD product as a whole, can you imagine any company pouring millions into its upkeep? Several key projects designed to overcome these short comings were blind sighted and ultimately binned by Capita!

    The closure of the Bishop Stortford office is a clear and shining expression of this future “vision”. The mere fact that they shelved all but a skeleton crew of their development staff 12 months ago is scarcely a sign of a growing software company now, is it?

    Upon the departure of several key players in the future of CCD, new versions or improvements were made on a shoe-string budget and certainly without a quarter of the expertise that existed before Capita took over the helm! The mere fact that any clients are serviced at all is just a testament to the well natured and impeccable support personnel that remained who, against all odds (namely Capita), I think stood admirably!

    For the record, Capita have no interest in anyone coming with them to their new and exciting future – they never had. Just words and that’s all they are!

    Which is really the nub of the matter: The only thing CFSL seem good at is coming up with prophetically worded make believe statements like these and asking everyone to buy it with their used-car salesman smile! Hook, line and sinker I think is the expression! But as this plan has been in motion for three years, it’s scarcely surprising that the last piece of the rotten pie is now being tossed in the garbage bin!

    Speaking as a former employee, the morale at the time was low to the point where, frankly, nobody gave a damn anymore! I can only imagine the current feeling there right now. Suffice it to say, I would expect future support to be hopeless at best and certainly not as knowledgeable. However, I’m sure Capita have a long list of fantastic products they would like to sell you in the interim! Enjoy!

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  • A few background points to assist those who want to read between the lines of the statements from CFS.

    1. Around a year and a half to two years ago Capita tried to outsource the building of a new back office system, a CCD replacement, to India but it went very badly and was scrapped with NO replacement.

    2. A year ago they made all but 1 CCD developer redundant with a similar ‘move hundreds of miles or take redundancy’ scheme. During that round of redundancies very few staff chose to make the move to Hampshire.

    3. Within the last year the lease ran out on the ex-Synaptic office in Coventry. A new office for the ex-Synaptic staff, who play a key role in Capita’s new products, was found locally. Capita could have chosen to move these roles to Hampshire but I guess they chose not to risk it.

    4. The lease on the Bishop’s Stortford office runs out in May 2012. This is the ex-Quay Software office and houses CCD development, implementation and support. This raises the question why the staff in Bishop’s Stortford were not found a new office locally as was done for the ex-Synaptic staff in Coventry?

    5. They have only one CCD developer left, who is now in a redundancy consultation period, this might explain the use of the word “expect” when they talk of a new version of CCD this year. Sounds like quite a caveat to me!

    I believe the only remaining interest Capita have in CCD is capitalizing on the distribution they purchased with Quay Software - i.e. CCD clients they can sell new products to.

    CCD users, I think the only things you can “expect” from CFS this year are:
    - no support or a very very long wait for support
    - no updates to CCD except possibly to integrate new CFS products (to try to sell them to you)
    - lots and lots of marketing of their new products
    - perhaps towards the end of the year the announcement that CCD is officially no longer supported, once all the marketing campaigns are over.

    I’ll leave you with a thought; can you trust the sales pitch of a company that announces 13 redundancies in a press release entitled “Capita Financial Software to invest £4m in technology for advisers”?

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  • "a contingency plan has been put in place in order to effectively support all of our products".

    A contingency plan is where the water main bursts and the water company puts a stand-pipe at the end of the road for you.

    You do, however, have to provide your own bucket.

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  • @Another former employee | 20 Jan 2012 3:57 pm

    To blame Filemaker for CCD's failings is a little harsh, it's like calling Access rubbish because of a poorly written database. :-)

    CCD began life many, many moons ago and (particularly in the early stages) was poorly developed and managed through the various versions of Filemaker along the way.

    Several proposals were put forward along the way to management to address these issues but were dismissed in favour of attempting an overly ambitious, poorly managed and ultimately doomed attempt to outsource the creation of a brand new backoffice suite (Smart) to in Indian development firm.

    Despite what CFSL are spurting in their spiel, CCD is now dead. Without the Stortford team there will be no more development and support will be poor at best. It is questionable whether CCD is ready for RDR later this year, so Capita have really shot themselves in the foot this time.

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  • I think the RDR ready point is a good one. With Capitas destruction of the CCD team over the last year I doub't it's anywhere near ready.

    Do Capita want out of CCD?

    Are they going to do that in an honest and responsible way?

    My guess is they'll blame the staff for not moving office!

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  • As a CCD user we have recently committed to the latest version of the software at some cost to our business. I am now seriously concerned over future support for CCD - it is not RDR ready now and if the one remaining developer is made redundant I can't believe it ever will be. The Bishop's Stortford Support Staff were extremely good and will now all be lost - support will suffer badly despite any "spin" Capita try and put on this. Oh and as a user of CCD for over 10 years what notice has our firm had of the office closure/loss of support staff? Absolutely none! Treating Customers Fairly is something we do every working day - not so Capita it seems.

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