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Issue 6 / February 2009 From SOA to plug ‘n’ play – the future of banking platforms
Provided support for standards
development can be sustained,
we may yet see the basis for
plug ‘n’ play banking systems.
IFX launches 2nd generation IFX Working Groups are constituted to BIAN – the new(ish) kid on the block Who controls the future direction of
business message specification develop new messages, and the present banking software?
areas of focus include business banking,
The Banking Industry Architecture Network
The Interactive Financial Exchange
branch banking and cards. However there is
(BIAN) is, in fact, a re-invention of the SAP BIAN and IFX claim to be working
Forum (IFX) has existed since 1997 to
no overarching plan to complete all areas of
Industry Value Network for Banking. co-operatively and the range of banks,
provide financial communication standards.
the framework – the approach is determined
vendors and geographies represented
The membership has been a mixture of
SAP is a $16Bn company best known for
in accordance with the priorities of the
across the two organisations could make a
banks and vendors, with a geographical
Enterprise Resource Planning products and
member organisations.
powerful force for change. But the role of
bias towards the USA. As a consequence
now investing heavily in SOA-based
the banks is key. Vendors love standards
much of the completed work relates to US IFX currently has 31 members including the
banking software. They have a strong
right up to the point where their customer
banking priorities, such as electronic bill ANZ Banking Group, Bank of America and
engineering focus and were early
base is opened up to competition.
presentment and payments. Notable Wells Fargo. Vendors include Fidelity,
proponents of standardisation. The vision
successes have been in the area of ATM Infosys, Tata and ACI.
for the original Value Network was arguably Just as happened with SWIFT, the banks
transactions where almost all vendors
more complete than that of IFX, considering need to assume a dominant role in shaping
support the IFX standards.
more of the platform and more of the value the way the industry is defined and
chain, but it attracted limited support as a supported through technology. The
As well as an overall framework and vendor led initiative. opportunity is huge. Although levels of
associated design principles, the IFX investment may reduce in the aftermath of
specification provides a set of common
BIAN has declared its objective as
the credit crunch, there is scarcely a bank in
messages ready to be used across
“promoting convergence towards a
the world that didn’t have an SOA
services.
common services landscape and semantic
programme or plan and these are, by their
standards” – effectively creating a banking
very nature, longer term commitments in
Since IFX pre-dated the modern concepts dictionary for SOA. They cite the difficulties
any event. The issues are not going away.
of SOA, the delivered message schemes banks have experienced implementing SOA
tended to include things like transaction in a cost effective way. Work commenced Provided support for standards
integrity and security that would now be in July 2008 with first deliverables focused development can be sustained, we may
handled in other parts of the architecture. on payments and analytics due shortly. yet see the basis for plug ‘n’ play banking
In a bid to increase the adoption of IFX in systems. For the time being, limited
SOA environments, the 2nd generation has
Although the new organisation is keen to
standards mean limited software choices –
slimmed down the messages and focuses
stress vendor neutrality the SAP influence
follow a dominant vendor… or start coding.
on the requirements to enable business
is very much still in evidence with many of
integration of services.
the ideas being driven by representatives
from SAP.
The 17 members include Credit Suisse,
Deutsche Bank, ING and Standard Bank
of South Africa, with vendor representation
from Microsoft, Sunguard, Temenos, and
(of course) SAP.
10 / Perspectives on the future Perspectives on the future / 11
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