Member since

Derek's blog archive

2014 (1)
Derek Britton

Derek Britton

Director of Solution Marketing at Micro Focus
Message Message me Posts: 1 Comments: 7
Bio Product Management and Marketing Professional and IT / Technology Exponent at Micro Focus, the enterprise application modernization specialists.



Tackling the Compliance Conundrum

30 May 2014

The Enron scandal and subsequent regulatory breaches by financial institutions during the recent economic crisis has placed organisations’ financial reporting and business processes under on-going scrutiny. Exacerbated by other high-profile incidents like the IT outages suffered by HSBC, RBS, Barclays and Santander, LIBOR rigging, PPI miss-selling...

Derek is Commenting on

Legacy systems are a pain in the bank

  The article covers some familiar ground about the challenges facing trusted IT systems that have kept FS and other industries at the top of their game for decades. But as IT outages suggest, managing change is not always easy and - inevitably - the existing IT infrastructure is scrutinized as the likely culprit. As was discussed in a recent Telegraph article on the same topic (, the issues FS organizations face, and the cause of their most common problems, is not with what's already there, but with what is being built on top and around it.  For example, if an online app crashes but you can still get money out of the ATM, then clearly the back-end (mainframe and COBOL) system is working just fine, but the new whizzy interface (or its connection to the backend perhaps) isn't. As the article explores, managing change through modernization is becoming more and more important.  What works today will, in all likelihood, be necessary tomorrow, and next year. Yet changes on top of that, expanding out and evolving from those core systems, potentially embracing cloud, containerization, web and mobile technology, API integration, yes of course that makes sense too. But doing that sensibly, with quality, without the risk, that's the key. Smart modernization technology exists today to help bridge the old and the new in terms of IT provision. Tooling for better clarity around application change, better integration between backend systems and languages (and processes) and newer age technology, using common tooling, greater access to planning, analysis and testing technology - this is all part of today's delivery toolchain for ALL home grown banking apps, not just the newer digital ones that sit on a phone. All of which means that such stark, risky choices of ripping out what's there and replacing it with something untried, or doing nothing and withering on the vine - well these are not the only options. Reusing what works and building upon it, totally viable in most cases, is your third option. A good bet would be to talk to providers who understand both the current infrastructure as well as new technology. Bridging that gap is key to a viable solution.  I blogged recently about modernization for FS at     

Core surgery a necessity as banks lose faith in legacy systems - Finextra

  Illuminating article. It is interesting to see how the term 'legacy' is being used here. It is being seen in a pejorative sense - indicating systems are old, outmoded, risky to maintain. This label is somewhat dangerous and unhelpful. The cause of the issue may not be because systems are older, indeed age may not be relevant at all. There may have been insufficient funding over time, a lack of support for new technology or an inability to change these highly complex systems. While some systems may indeed be moribund, and a negative label may be justified, many are vital core banking systems which continue to support the back office or other key internal functions, especially in more established organisations. And it is unhelpful to attach a negative label to a system that continues to thrive and provide key business capability. It is no wonder that there is little appetite for wholesale change within the banking industry if we continue to refer to such systems negatively. And this is partly fuelling the decision by many traditional banks to implement ambitious replacement projects, which in many cases fail to materialise. As another comment on this article suggested, a lot more may be possible with home grown systems (which have suitable internal resources) as the bank can still maintain control of the future of it, rather than an off-the-shelf commercial package - where the future of it may be tied in with the vendor. The British banking heritage has been built on highly reliable and efficient mainframe COBOL systems that have, over time amassed data and core functionality critical to the system's longevity and business needs. According to research by Vanson Bourne, 590 global CIOs and IT directors expect their financial organisations to continue relying on mainframe applications for another ten years, with almost a third (32%) believing the timeframe to be longer than this. Using a modernisation approach that first deciphers the issues amid the technical complexity, streamlines the process of change, and supports new requirements without impacting business is critical. By harnessing contemporary technology but which helps evolve, rather than replace, these knowledge-rich existing systems, banks can meet new demands without introducing unpalatable levels of risk. Derek Britton, Director, Micro Focus