23 April 2014

Tales of a Standards Geek

Steve Goswell - Incept5

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Standards Forum

The Standards Forum is the place where business and standardisation meet. This group would like to facilitate and encourage dialogue around standardisation in the financial industry, and share views, insights and updates on how financial standards can contribute to reducing cost and increasing efficiency when tackling today's challenges such as automation, compliance, and regulation.

SR2014. Part 3. Five reasons not to be too depressed.

20 December 2013  |  1062 views  |  0

Let the fun and games begin.  On December 20th SWIFT published the SR2014 User Handbook containing the gory details of all the changes that will take effect next November. 

http://www.swift.com/products_services/by_type/standards/standards_mt_maint_rel_2014

As promised in my earlier post, here are a few things to think about:

I recommend an initial 50,000 feet level of analysis as soon as possible, if only to establish a rough estimate of the size of the project.  Of the 63 message types impacted this year how many are in your portfolio?  Is the answer more or less than last year?

Of the 260+ changes how many apply to messages you send? These are the messages where you control the code, and in the case of optional changes, you also get to decide whether to implement or not.  You may decide that some optional changes simply do not apply to your business.

For messages that you receive you probably need to be in a position to handle any of the changes however unlikely their potential usage may seem.  However, it is worth an early engagement with some of your key counterparts to establish their thinking around these changes.

The next key date on the SR2014 calendar is July 27th. This is the date that the SR2014 standard is released in “Future mode” on the SWIFT Test & Training (T&T) network; the earliest date you can start testing  (Actually, that’s not entirely true, but I’ll come back to that later).  I recommend you start from this date in July and work backwards to figure out when your own development needs to begin in earnest.

Do you have vendors that process SWIFT messages somewhere in your infrastructure?  Find out when they plan to release their updated software so that you can work these dates into your development and testing schedule.  If you need to integrate your vendor’s software into your own code then ideally you should be looking to get your hands on the new vendor software well in advance of the July date so that you have sufficient time to do what you need to do.  SWIFT has a Vendor Test System that vendors can use starting in May.  Make sure your vendors are on the ball.

Now, consider these questions:

  • Will you be ready to test before the T&T Future Mode availability on July 27?
  • Will you be ready to test before your counterparts?
  • Do your developers prefer rapid iteration build-test cycles that require the need for unit testing as you go?
  • Do you want to save a few dollars?

If the answer to any of these questions is Yes then do not despair.  There are a number of off-network testing facilities and validation services out there.  Some are even free!  A quick search on Google should help to get you started. Try these:

https://www.google.com/#q=swift%20testing%20tool https://www.google.com/#q=swift%20validation%20service

Going forward, SWIFT themselves probably have a part to play in this story with the imminent release of the MyStandards Readiness Portal.

Still stuck?  Got questions?  Need help?  A good place to start is your country National Market Practice Group (NMPG). Organisations like ISITC, the NMPG for the US, are stuffed full of experts who are generous with their time.  Simple questions can be posted to the website and it usually doesn’t take long for answers to come back.

If you need to go deeper then consider a formal consulting engagement.  SWIFT Standards has a burgeoning consulting practice, and there are lots and lots of small consulting shops out there and individuals who know a thing or two about SWIFT.  Many of these can be easily found on LinkedIn.

 

OK, that’s it for now. Here’s a summary.  Five reasons to be cheerful!

  1. Do your analysis early.  The earlier the better.
  2. Engage your counterparts early and often.
  3. Engage your software vendors. Understand the dependencies.
  4. Test! Test! Test!  No need to wait.
  5. Help is out there, should you need it.

 

Good Luck!

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Steve Goswell

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Principal Consultant

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Incept5

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