22 September 2017
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Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture

22 August 2017  |  55601 views  |  10 Rabobank 3D model

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

Anne-Marie Breuker, Rabobank business architect says: “We do many of the same things in different ways, which makes it complex. Rabobank is also becoming more global, and customers find that they are served differently in Singapore than in Utrecht. We want to change that.”

Breuker and her team spent three months gathering the data to build the physical model. "We wanted to create something that would have a wow-factor within the bank," she says. "It had to appeal to the entire organisation, from the Board of Directors to the workplace. Preferably visually, and permanently. So, we came up with the idea for this model.”

Plans are also afoot to take the physical construction and map it in a virtual reality programme using Micorosft Holelens, she adds.

The bank is additionally collaborating with the Banking Industry Architecture Nework coalition, which runs its own schematic Business Capability Model for testing different business scenarios across an organisation's IT services landscape, to standardise the learnings from the construction.

This is the first time an organisation has invested in visualising its own IT landscape in this way, says Hans Tesselaar, BIAN executive director. “Everyone who sees the model immediately recognises a lot of things. It provides great insight in the problems and issues of IT, in a way that a Board of Directors can also see that IT-related problems cannot be resolved in a day or so.”

Tesselaar believes other banks within the network can learn a lot from Rabo's initiative. “Everyone who sees it wants a copy to show to their boss,” he says. “It has a wow-factor, it literally allows you to look into the future.”

Comments: (10)

Paul Love
Paul Love - Compass Plus - Nottingham | 22 August, 2017, 14:46

The picture looks far too neat with too many straigh lines - where have they hidden all thes paghetti code?

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Rolf Van Der Pol
Rolf Van Der Pol - i-KYC - Singapore | 23 August, 2017, 02:41

great idea...

 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 23 August, 2017, 09:32

@Paul: The code is within each line or box - that's how systems and interfaces work  ;-)  I wonder how easy the model will be to update.  Surprised they didn't have a reorg while they were building it.

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Danny Goovaerts
Danny Goovaerts - The Glue - Diegem | 23 August, 2017, 09:50

Building a 3D model to visualise the organisation and underlying IT infrastructure of a major bank in only 3 months is indeed an accomplishment. Unfortunately, it's only a snapshot in time and it will need to be adjusted continuously. Using today's tools and platforms, three months is also the time in which you can bring a new service to the market, from initial idea to rolling it out in production.

 

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Willem Lambrechts
Willem Lambrechts - Drebbel - Ghent | 23 August, 2017, 09:53

I think this is a great initiative by a bank and an example to be followed. But....it is only a first step, albeit a crucial one. Once this overview has been created, a logical next step has to be taken. At the end of the day, a bank is not a static warehouse of IT systems; it is a dynamic factory that process masses of transactions and flows of data. The logical next step, at least as crucial as the first one, is getting real-time view on those flows, by tracking them, not only on an IT - level, but more importantly on the business transaction level. This picture shows the warehouse, what it's all about is the transaction flow. The good news is that the technology, and no , it is not disruptive, does exist and is architected in such a way that it is meant to be agnostic of any changes in processes, systems or applications. More than happy to provide you with more information.

 

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Paul Love
Paul Love - Compass Plus - Nottingham | 23 August, 2017, 10:27

@Finextra Member - Even though the Spagehtti code may be encapsulated in the boxes, history shows that the interfaces are usually far from simple and data is often duplicated across lagacy systems.

The model does show the potential for simplification.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 23 August, 2017, 10:33

Hmmm - you must have better eyes than me, or an intimate knowledge of Rabobank.  What's the data in the third black cube from the right?

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Anthony Pickup
Anthony Pickup - MYRECS LTD - Manchester | 24 August, 2017, 08:55 This is a great step and following the next step of mapping the logical data will provide the two tools that will make meeting further regulatory changes easier to assess and prove compliance. For example to meet the GDPR regulations these models will help visualise the problem, design the change programme and validate the results. This tool will help other changes as well Great work and possibly a concept that will be taken up by many other financial industry organisations not just banks.
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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 24 August, 2017, 09:52

Definitely a great thing to do, but I would choose a more dynamic tool like planningIT, rather than a model which will be out of date as soon as it's "finished".

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 26 August, 2017, 03:12

Love this! It's amazing that physical worlds like cities that are easy to manually explore are perfectly mapped while digital worlds are not mapped at all (at least not in this way). Would make sense to use a modern system modeling tool like Stackray for Ops or Seerene for code to make this 'mapping' actionable and current, but how can any businessperson walking by this monstrosity not be awestruck?! Fantastic.

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