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The decision, said Kershner, was whether to spend ‘x million dollars’ on point-to-point interfaces that would be difficult to support and maintain or take that money and invest it in new technology, to create an SOA infrastructure with the associated lower maintenance costs.

The bank also wanted faster deployment of new products and a complete view of the customer, with the flexibility of the SOA support – it felt able to achieve this.

Any undertaking of this size will involve lots of risk and will be fraught with conversion issues, he said, but the implementation of the integration layer was about as smooth as it could have been – ‘it was close to flawless’.

From the FIS suite it not only has ACBS and Systematics, running out of the supplier’s San Diego, California and Little Rock, Arkansas, data centres respectively, but also the supplier’s MSP mortgage processing system, running in Jacksonville, Florida.

At the front-end, linked to these via XES, is FIS’s Touchpoint system, which is used by tellers, relationship managers and contact centre staff.

The Touchpoint delivery channel solution was acquired by FIS from a company called Webtone. Kershner describes it as ‘the window into the FIS world’.

In fact, Webster’s retail banking group had already been evaluating this piece, alongside some rival offerings, and had made it the preferred choice, ahead of the full selection. This gave FIS ‘a leg up’ in the broader analysis, he said.

The bank also took FIS’s account analysis software and commercial internet banking solution. The latter was already in place before the overhaul, as were one or two other pieces, but virtually all others were part of the radical replacement project.

The biggest challenge, said Kershner, was to manage and coordinate as many as 30 different project teams over 15 to 18 months.


There were teams for business areas, such as deposits, consumer lending and commercial lending, others for specialist tasks such as exceptions management, and others again for the horizontal layers, such as an XES integration team, for example.

Webster Bank is a relatively small institution from an IT resources perspective, he said, so resources were also drawn from FIS and the contractor marketplace.

Part of the coordination effort was to bring the different teams into line for the cut-overs during the 4th July long weekend and then the Columbus Day long weekend in October.

The key objectives were to keep glitches to a minimum, not to have an impact on customers, not to have any financial outages, and to maintain control.

‘To that extent, both conversions were successful.’ Results and benefits

The hoped-for benefits have ‘absolutely’ been realised, said Kershner. He gave a number of examples of the new capabilities.

For instance, when a new product is launched, despite it probably having a mainframe component at the back- end, it can be displayed online in the branches, with all integration handled through the SOA model.

The core system is accessed via services, he said, and these can also be used in internet banking and other channels.

Another example comes with changes to Webster’s pricing structure, with these impacting on more or less all areas, including internet banking and customer contact systems. The streamlined integration layer meant this incurred much less work than would have been the case in a point- to-point configuration.

The intended scalability has also been achieved, believed Kershner, with the infrastructure to ‘support at least a $50

Core Banking Systems Case Studies: North America

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