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Cook explained: ‘We had never used an in-house core system, so we wondered if T24 should be set up in-house. Or should we tactically outsource systems that HP already had set up in a data centre and in which HP already had expertise, but that we supported?


‘Then, from day one, we would be ITIL [Information Technology Infrastructure Library]-compliant. Our development functions would stay in-house, but HP would do what it does well, i.e. run the data centre. This would be a working partnership between Blueshore and HP.’


Thus, Blueshore, Temenos and HP decided not to bring T24 all the way in-house, but have T24 running in HP’s ITIL- compliant data centre located in Montana in the US, with the system co-managed by Blueshore and HP.


It would have been too expensive for Blueshore to establish its own in-house data centre that met the standards already achieved by HP.


Cook termed this an ‘arm’s length department’ of Blueshore. ‘HP runs T24 up to the application layer, and we run the application above that.’


Microsoft SQL Server 2005 was judged the strongest, most open foundation for T24, perfect for easy integration and data sharing with non-core systems.


Again, the installation team sought to ensure that data traffic between the new core and the CRM-oriented front- end was as fast and smooth as possible, so that enriched information easily reached Blueshore’s financial advisors in the branches.


Conversion and challenges


In the autumn of 2007, while configuring T24, HP re- examined benchmarks established on T24 running on an Oracle/Unix platform and converted the data to relevant numbers for the Microsoft Windows and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 environment preferred by Blueshore.


Armed with hard figures, Blueshore and HP determined the hardware infrastructure needed to support Blueshore.


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HP worked with Microsoft to establish those benchmarks, which reassured Cook. ‘It was not a “firehose” benchmark, which would not have been relevant for us,’ said Cook.


‘We needed to see benchmarks based on numbers and mixtures of transactions close to what we really saw. HP and Microsoft generated realistic, relevant benchmarks. Impressed with that, we decided to bring Microsoft to the table.’


The ‘arm’s length’ arrangement threw responsibility for information security to HP, one of the top vendors of security technology.


‘HP handled all patch management for T24, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and Microsoft Windows – the whole banking environment,’ noted Cook. HP also managed business continuity planning, designating a backup data centre in Toronto as Blueshore’s disaster recovery site.


The conversion was on track for a scheduled cutover date of December 2008, until a snag delayed the project.


Blueshore already contracted with Open Solutions Canada for intercept processing of automated teller machine (ATM) and debit card transactions, with Open Solutions Canada then connecting to the main Canadian electronic funds transfer switch.


However, in July 2008, the vendor announced an end to its intercept processing, which forced Blueshore to acquire a new ATM and debit card processing system that required interfacing to T24.


This meant that Cook’s team converted its ATM and debit card processing concurrently with the T24 conversion, while the team worked with T24 to develop the necessary interfaces.


‘No Canadian credit union had ever done that before,’ chuckled Cook.


Throughout 2008 and into 2009, past the original deadline, the staff from the credit union, Temenos, HP and Microsoft worked to get the modules of T24 running in a phased series and performed ‘heavy-duty testing’ on each, using


Core Banking Systems Case Studies: North America www.ibsintelligence.com


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