The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum and the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) announced today that the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining plans to collaborate in developing and furthering the adoption of standards that enhance interoperability within the banking industry.
The IFX Forum is an international non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange. BIAN is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to accelerate the adoption of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) in the banking industry.
BIAN initially began its work with a broad semantic description of the banking services landscape, and while this work continues, it will eventually move to the task of creating new service definitions or adopting existing ones. The IFX Forum, by contrast, has an existing messaging specification (IFX 1.X) that has been created and refined over a 10-year period, and currently (with IFX 2.0) seeks to make this message payload specification easier to implement within a service-oriented architecture (SOA). BIAN's service definition approach and the IFX Forum's message content approach are quite complementary and will serve as a foundation for collaboration.
The MOU offers a framework for cooperation without restricting or impeding the autonomous identity and operations of both organizations. The leaders of the IFX Forum and BIAN anticipate that their groups' collaboration will benefit their members and other constituents both by coordinating complimentary activities that align with shared value propositions and by providing opportunities to expand membership and geographic coverage. Collaboration will also improve work products and accelerate work product releases.
Recently, BIAN produced a white paper that outlines its own role and the roles of other important standards organizations within the financial services industry in supporting service-oriented architecture (SOA). The white paper highlights the benefits of each organization's efforts and offers insight into the great potential for their mutual collaboration. In addition to the IFX Forum, it covers other well-known organizations like the Society for Worldwty for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and the Object Management Group (OMG).
"Since our inception, the IFX Forum has been committed to collaborating in the development of international standards. The Forum is a Category A Liaison to ISO TC68, and we co-founded the IST Harmonisation team to work on key standards for inclusion in the UNIFI repository," said IFX Forum President Richard P. Urban. "We are pleased to engage with BIAN to develop interoperable messaging supporting financial transactions across corporate and national boundaries. BIAN's focus on SOA service definitions is a perfect complement to the IFX approach to standardizing messaging in SOA implementations."
"In large organizations, integration costs make or break the business case in building new applications," said Steve Van Wyk, Head of Operations and IT at ING. "The cost level is determined by the degree of standardization of interfaces, from a technical and a definition point of view. While it is becoming more and more clear that SOA is the best technology for system integration, interfacing internal as well as external solutions, standards will have to be agreed upon at the industry level. That is why BIAN and the facilitation it provides for software vendors and banks are so important to us." ING was one of the founding members of BIAN and its predecessor.