A family-owned company
Founded in 1984, Exalog provides payment and treasury solutions for all businesses worldwide.
Exalog’s current president, Guillaume Lafarge, has been head of the company since 2015.
Birth of a software publisher
Exalog was created in 1984 by Raymond Djeddah in order to import in France the English software InterMedia dedicated to file conversion compatible with photocomposers.
InterMedia’s success was immediate but short-lived. From 1985, Raymond Djeddah tried to diversify the activity of Exalog by trying file conversions for banks and for pension fund companies. Then, at the banks’ request, Exalog became a software publisher to offer additional features to check the order remittance files’ content. Because of that, Exalog has acquired and developed a great expertise in the field of banking standardized file formats (CFONB and EDI).
In 1994, Raymond Djeddah sold Exalog to Jacques and Patrick Lafarge. Jacques, an engineer and former organization consultant, was appointed Chairman and CEO, while his brother Patrick, an entrepreneur and investor in the industrial, agricultural and transportation fields, remained a shareholder not involved in the company’s operations.
Development of the first applications
As soon as he took over the company, Jacques Lafarge developed the software publishing business, creating several softwares: Exabanque, DADS-Saisie and EDI-Control.
Exabanque was a corporate software for entering bank orders (transfers, direct debits and BOE) but also for reading cheques. It produced files that companies could send to their bank on magnetic media in the expected formats (CFONB and EDIFact). With the success of the software, Jacques Lafarge quickly developed a teletransmission system between Exabanque and the banks, simplifying the exchange of files between companies and their banks using ETEBAC-3 protocol. It saved considerable time for companies when issuing their payment orders and for banks thanks to the automatic control of files.
At the same time, the pension fund companies asked Exalog to develop a data entry software (DADS-Saisie) for their corporate clients so that they can create and deliver them annual salary declaration files to replace paper declarations.
In 1995, Exalog reinforced its teams by buying a competitor company on the data processing market: Microrep.
In 1996, Exalog created EDI-Contrôle, a software able to check the conformity of files with any standard. It was mainly marketed to pension funds and to the French Collector General of Taxes in order to read companies’ storage media (mandatory statistical declarations).
Precursor of SaaS mode
In 1999, with the development of the Internet, Jacques Lafarge understood that this new wave of technology would very quickly overtake installed software. With this new model, the publisher takes care of IT problems, such as installation, hardware and interoperability. But in return, the publisher benefits from recurring revenues thanks to a service subscription. This is the beginning of SaaS (Software as a Service).
Jacques Lafarge decided to develop a SaaS version of Exabanque. It was also at this time that he chose to base all new developments on Open Source technologies. The first SaaS version of Exabanque went online in 1999 under the name Exabanque.net. Despite the mistrust of bankers and customers towards the Internet to carry out their sensitive banking operations, the advantages of the SaaS mode were obvious and the Internet wave swept over the world.
In July 2002, Guillaume Lafarge, an engineer and Jacques Lafarge’s son, joined Exalog. Guillaume had first worked for the Eiffage Group in the international construction industry. But with a passion for computer science, Guillaume went on to complete a master’s degree in Open Systems Computer Science. By joining Exalog, Guillaume brought his skills in new technologies that were at the heart of Exalog’s new projects. In 2002, it was the Internet bubble. Exabanque.net experienced a lightning growth with several thousand client companies because it was prescribed by many French banks. It is at this period that Exabanque’s installed version disappeared.
Later in the 2000s, AGIRC-ARRCO issued new standards (DADSU, N4DS and then DSN) to simplify salary declarations for companies in order to make them unique and monthly. This was the programmed end of the DADS-Saisie product.
A dazzling growth
In 2004, faced with the success of Exabanque.net and Exalog’s reputation among banks, Exalog decided to offer them Exabanque.net as a white label under the name Bank-X. Indeed, at that time, banks did not offer their corporate clients advanced features such as the possibility of entering international transfers or BOE, third party management, or fine-tuned management of users and their rights. Moreover, unlike Exabanque.net, their websites did not allow multi-banking, i.e. the possibility for a company to manage all its banks on the same application.
The first white label contract was signed by Crédit Maritime, a bank in the Banque Populaire group. The success was very fast and other banks followed: Banque Delubac, SGBA and BFCOI, banks of the Société Générale group.
In 2004, Exalog created the Direct-debits.net software for the management of direct debits.
In 2007, Exalog turned to the international market by investing on three main axes:
- Adapting the software to local specificities: management of non-Latin characters, translation of the application into multiple languages, management of time zones, adaptation of number and date formats according to countries, development of local and international banking file formats according to the ISO 20022 standard.
Exalog thus creates the Allmybanks.net software whose goal is to offer banking and treasury management features for any company in the world.
- To become a SWIFT Service Bureau because Exalog believes that the SWIFTNet network is the only one that can connect its clients to any bank in the world. The objective is to offer the Allmybanks software as a turnkey solution: software and SWIFTNet connection, all in SaaS mode.
- To consolidate its international development by creating in 2009 a subsidiary in Madrid, Spain, followed by a subsidiary in New York, USA.
It was also in 2009 that Exalog signed a major contract with BNP Paribas to provide a white label solution under the NetCash brand.
Always in double-digit growth for several years, Exalog had to expand and moved in 2009 to Boulogne-Billancourt at 97 rue de Bellevue.
At the end of the 2000’s, the standards of banking file exchanges evolved from local formats per country (CFONB for France, CBI in Italy, AEB in Spain, DTAUS in Germany, etc.) to the SEPA format, common to all European countries. And the protocol of remote transmission of files between banks and companies changed from ETEBAC to EBICS. Exalog realized quickly the necessary developments to take full advantage of these regulatory changes that led the companies to look for software able to take into account these new formats or to convert the old formats towards the new ones.
In 2011, Exalog’s revenues grew by a record 45% with an explosion of Allmybanks, Exabanque and Direct-debits contracts, and the signing of new white labels such as the Dutch bank ING. Major companies such as the equipment manufacturer Valeo and the food group Savencia (formerly Bongrain) have signed up with Allmybanks for their international flows.
Products at the cutting edge of technology
In 2013, Exalog’s managers understood that the strategy of international development by creating local subsidiaries was commercially not effective and very costly. A development strategy was established based on promotion and online sales (for SME products) to reach new markets directly and more efficiently.
Exalog is experimenting with this strategy on a new product named SEPAEditor whose purpose is to offer a solution for creating SEPA files and converting files from the old standards to the new SEPA standards. The target of this product is small companies on the European market which do not have yet a solution compatible with the new SEPA standard.
In 2014, the development of Allmybanks was confirmed and the demands for the SWIFT protocol were steadily increasing, but the Service Bureau model was becoming too complex, cumbersome and expensive to maintain. Exalog then decided to turn to SWIFT’s new SWIFT Alliance Lite2 offering, which is simpler for clients to implement.
In 2015, seeing the success of SWIFT Alliance Lite2, Exalog signed a partnership agreement with SWIFT to offer SWIFT connectivity via the new L2BA (Lite2 for Business Applications) offering. This offer model matched Exalog’s objectives for Allmybanks: to offer a turnkey solution, software and SWIFT connectivity, with a shared technical platform for all clients. This allowed a fast increase in the number of clients connected to SWIFT with Allmybanks at reasonable prices. The partnership with SWIFT is also essential for international business development as SWIFT can offer Exalog’s solutions to any company that asks for banking communication or treasury management software.
The same year in 2015, Exalog launched the Iziago project, whose objective is to offer cash management software for small businesses worldwide, with a promotion and marketing model based entirely on the Internet, according to the model developed with SEPAEditor. Starting from a blank sheet of paper, this new software has to be designed and developed based on the international ISO 20022 standards for payments, on all Exalog’s know-how on cash management and security management and on the latest development technologies. Everything in Iziago has to be designed for international use.
In 2015, Guillaume Lafarge, then CEO, took over the presidency of Exalog.
Jacques Lafarge, preparing his retirement, entrusted the reins to his son in order to better support him. Guillaume appointed Stéphanie Bombart, then Client Relations Director, as CEO to support him. In 2016, Jacques Lafarge retired for good.
An FBO (Family Buy Out) was set up beforehand to ensure that Guillaume Lafarge would have the majority of decisions and to avoid any succession problems.
New technologies have always been at the heart of Exalog’s strategy, which is why in 2019 we created an Innovation department with dedicated resources and means Our main projects include the ergonomics of our applications, biometric authentication now available on all our software, digital signature on mobile, and more generally Data: Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, etc.