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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 09 August, 2008, 07:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting view point but do not forget the pain points that comes along with open source products/solutions. I don’t think banks are in position to ditch Microsoft or other leading proprietary software vendors in near future.

Open source has been under consideration for years now and yes, it has grown in recent past but it is still in its early evolving stage. You may use open source for small utilities/components but I still see huge scope of improvements before it could be used within enterprise solutions especially in financial domain. You will still see open source not being considered in critical scenarios for obvious reasons.

I feel… using open source aiming just for cost cutting may not be the best approach. You really have to be very selective. Better approach could be to use today’s technologies (including open source) in a better way.

I have posted below on same lines:

1. Microsoft Technologies in Financial Domain - SWIFT

2. Leverage technology for cost cutting

Ed Daniel
Ed Daniel - esdaniel.com - Europe 11 August, 2008, 12:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

A few years back it was an exec at Sun that was quoted saying "open source is free like a newborn baby". The quick answer is No.  Banks won't anytime soon ditch Microsoft.  Why: training, change management and support costs will increase over the short term i.e. 6 - 18 months so this is what stops most from changing - the change is too great.  Hence why we often here that most CIOs don't know about deployments of open ware.

Where banks have realised there is great opportunity to benefit from opensource is by actually learning from open systems and taking a leaf out of that book.  There are many examples where one bank has developed code, open sourced it and the project has been adopted by other banks and essentially what banks get is a much greater pool of tech resources with banking expertise that help evolve the project - test it on other sites and help with bug resolution.

Although one might see open source components having great success there is already the opportunity to do plenty of bespoke solutions that are industry-grade i.e. one can use Application Lifecycle Management tools (Eclipse etc.) to develop new software.

The most significant application is Microsoft Office - until Excel has a full blown competitor and banks make further strides to weed Excel out of processes through other solutions one will continue to see Microsoft on the desktop.

For any user who just uses Email, Web browsing and general office document work the case is well proven to move to an open source platform - the question is how many users in your organisation really need or even use what you provide - the best thing banks could do right now is focus on how they create, manage and archive data - they still need to get that right and it's quite  a challege to do so while keeping pace with the technology.

In these troubling times banks need to invest in the future, look to disrupt the status quo and take a lead with innovative services that target non-geographic communities i.e. digital.  Banks have been very slow thus far (caution noted) in attacking new finance markets enabled by the web... for example with all the data that banks have one would wonder why they are not smarter at turning their meta-data into a more valuable commodity for trading / consumption in the global markets - don't expect Reuters or Bloomberg to do it for you as they'll do it for everyone else as well ;-)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 12 August, 2008, 02:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nicely put Ed.

With the issues Microsoft products introduce to the business - costs, security nightmares, training (who didn't need training the last time Office 'upgraded'), and bugs it seems to me that the price banks pay to use Excel is not really the best  value proposition. A good spreadsheet project between the banks could have additional benefits for their customers who may stuck in the Excel trap too. Word can easily be replaced as many low level users are over-equipped with Word for simple documents and under equipped for real publishing tasks.

If banks were to co-develop such a solution they would have better control over the impact any changes or deficiencies may have on their industry's use of the product. Changes might occur because the banking industry wanted a new feature, rather than the software producer (M) introducing new features and bugs which were not related to the features required by the banks. Auto-update of software is fine in theory, unless it also provides hackers with a more convenient way to install their own 'updates'.

Reliance on MS spreadsheets is a serious issue, when we consider that any Windows user browsing a website could easily have code injected into their machine which might render the spreadsheets unreliable anyway. These attacks do not require the user to download any executables or attachments, the payload could be in unseen images embedded into a webpage without the website operator's knowledge.

If you use spreadsheets in any critical decisions, the computer must not be able to browse the net with the Microsoft browser. No exceptions.

Ed Daniel
Ed Daniel - esdaniel.com - Europe 12 August, 2008, 09:36Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Agreed and then some ;-)

Security continues to be a challenge that would be better shared through open security solutions, it's hardly the start of the quietest month in the year for most of us and a YAV (yet another vulnerability) has reared its ugly head, on Vista of all beasts.

Security has become so cumbersome now it's no surprise it takes companies like Skyrecon to clean up the mess and help us stay one step ahead of the enemy.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 October, 2009, 06:17Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It seems I was right - the profitable banks did ditch Microsoft and made the majority of their money using Linux powered systems. Something about speed and reliability needs.

Spare me the MS bleat. Check your facts.

Ask Goldman Sachs what operating system powered the most of their profits. Sure they may have used MS to surf the net to find things to spend their mind-boggling profits on - but they made the big money on Linux.

Unless you work for a bank which doesn't owe any bail-out funds and did actually make a real profit then ...

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