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Financial Services - Insight

  
Insight 1 : How Architecture delivered against the abundance of incoming regulatory requirements.
  

  
Service Oriented Architecture is the Technology of Choice when it comes to designing distributed data. This has been the case with a global investment bank that used to run various Risk Systems across different regions having their own data stores and sets of Risk calculations. Over time, this considerably drove TCO and limited the time-to-market for changes of a global scale as they have been increasingly mandated especially by regulatory-driven projects.

So it was a no brainer to come up with a new service-oriented, high performing, distributed and memory-based data fabric to enable the consolidation of the mentioned universe of data stores into a single platform that provides a single harmonization and validation infrastructure. At the heart, it supports multiple geographically distributed Risk calculations via open and uniform interfaces. It significantly reduces both storage cost and cost and time-to-market for implementing the adaptions triggered by changes to Risk calculations or reporting.

The Bank can now introduce new risk calculations in parallel considerably faster than before, which significantly helps to deliver against the abundance of incoming regulatory requirements. Further, its flexible and robust architecture facilitates and significantly shortens the time-to-market to add new business such as Aircraft Business.

  
New Risk Calculation, Data stores, Single validation infrastructure, Uniform Interfaces key to risk calculation in parallel.
  

  
Insight 2 :   Journey to become “Direct Universal Bank”  
  

  
Strategy execution, Process change, Technology upgrade, Direct channels etc. are key to vision realization.
  

  
Using Enterprise Architecture to map the Enterprise’s Processes and Technologies and develop Roadmaps for the future in realising Organisational Goals and Objectives is a very popular approach taken up in many Financial Institutions around the globe. This was certainly the case for a major European Bank that conducted a major strategic planning exercise. The goal was to deliver a comprehensive enterprise-wide roadmap that would enable the Bank to plan and execute the transformation needed to realize its Vision 2015 to be ‘the’ direct universal bank in the market.

This initiative had an enterprise-wide impact and was supported by a sound and elaborated enterprise architectural approach. The Bank was in a good shape, but at the same time faced a number of fundamental challenges that called for a broad transformation program to live up to the expectations created by its Vision. In 2009, the Bank did excellent Financial Results thanks to outstanding performances in all business lines while keeping costs and risks well-controlled. The Bank can be considered as a strong player in the European The new distribution model proved to be effective and in-line with clients demand, increasing use of direct channels.
  

  
Insight 3 : Reduction in project costs, along with an increased understanding of the scope of proposed changes.
  

  
Creating an Enterprise Architecture Repository is an important step towards establishing standard practices for modelling and architecting solutions. This large USA based insurer is leading the way to improve its ability to understand their complex landscape by establishing a centralized repository for bringing together the key business and IT information and managing the relationships between them.  The Enterprise Architecture Repository is based on industry-standard best practices. It establishes a set of standard building blocks such as Capability, Process, Organization, Service, Application, and Technology to describe the business and IT architecture of the Insurer. As to not reinvent the wheel, the Enterprise Architecture sources existing content from current repositories. As it understands and establishes traceability among the business capabilities, processes and interdependencies between applications, Architecture Repository improves the correctness, consistency of business and IT information and enables that information to be s reused by different groups and projects.

With the Enterprise Architecture Repository in place, it can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to gather information to understand, strategize, respond to business and technology changes. The information is also more accurate. Many times, its assessment discovery process take weeks and months, but now, with the use of Enterprise Architecture Repository, it can gather the creating views and running simple reports from the Enterprise repository. It can expect to reduce the amount of time and domain experts required for impact assessment and cost estimating significantly.  Repository is more trustworthy, complete and consistent. All of these improvements have potential of reduction in project costs, along with an increased understanding of the scope of proposed changes.
  

  
Architecting solutions using Reusable building blocks resulting in Correctness, Consistency.
  

  
Insight 4 :   Payment Transactions over multiple channels like ATM, Internet Banking, Call Center  .
  

  
One of the most used transactions by bank clients is payment transaction. This payment transactions must be offered to the clients on multiple channels with quality, agility, efficacy, high availability, guarantee of results. This calls for a well architected system. A Brazilian Bank recently implemented a Payment Rules Management System for this purpose. The main objective of the system is to implement and store the business rules that must be applied on a payment authorization. The system is responsible for the authorization of different types of payments made by clients on different relationship channels like ATM, Internet Banking, Call Center. Most of those payments are done using a bar code input. The bank relationship channels have different interface and usability characteristics. An ATM Interface must have high size of character font, reduced number of information displayed, numeric keyboard, side function buttons. A Call center ARU (Audible Response Unit) doesn´t have a visual interface, must verbalize short sentence to the user and has only a telephone keyboard for user interaction.

An internet banking solution that is used by a client in a desktop may use images, can display as many information as desired by the system, may offer help functions, lists of information, etc., and the client has the option to use an alphanumeric keyboard and a mouse.   A bank teller system must offer an efficient interface for a user that is familiar with the system and must perform the actions repetitively and rapidly. The payments have validation rules established by the companies that issue the bills. The bank must guarantee that all the rules established are applied in the payment transaction authorization. The system may guarantee the complete validation of the rules and may inform and ask the channel system for additional information needed for the authorization process of the payment.   The system may provide information for receipts that will be presented to the client in the end of the payment transaction.

The way the information is asked and returned to the system channel, to be displayed to the client, must be designed in a way that could be interpreted by all the channel systems, and presented in a dynamic interface, independently of the user interface characteristics (example: web interface, character interface, audible interface, etc.).

The different channel interface must dispaly/inform the same labels (defined by the business staff) of the fields to the clients (and the same type of data and domain that may be asked or showed to the client ) on the interface and the system channel do not have to make any additional implementation to include new fields on the user interface.
  

The way the information is asked and returned to the system channel, to be displayed to the client, must be designed in a way that could be interpreted by all the channel systems, and presented in a dynamic interface, independently of the user interface characteristics (example: web interface, character interface, audible interface, etc.).