Foreign Currency Fulfillment - UK Clearing Bank
acquisition of a major bank created the need to integrate two businesses and
their respective IT systems. Post
integration, the merged banking group required a single service offering in the
area of foreign currency ordering and fulfillment, specifically:
sale of foreign currency & Travelers Cheques;
purchase of the foreign currency.
currency services were to be offered through the multiple channels, harmonised
as part of an Integration Programme. Fulfillment of foreign currency
orders was provided by a 3rd party business partner inherited from the acquired bank.
Order Hub, was conceived to provide the integrated solution.
currency fulfillment was outsourced to a 3rd party. This inferred a
‘pseudo scheme’ with defined operating characteristics and a specific interface
supporting the orders. The
foreign currency orders were analogous to payments instruments and
design considerations were similar to that of an industry payments scheme
to channels systems were time consuming to address and thus it was desirable to keep these to a
minimum. The interface formats to and from the channels were therefore
preserved. The Order Hub provided validation, transformation and routing
and some limited business functionality, such as limits validation.
Payments Hub - UK Clearing Bank
UK clearings bank was undertaking a core product system
replacement programme. The
bulk of the bank's products were supported through a heritage system having the
typical associated constraints, simplistically:
to changes in the marketing environment due to constrained
lifecycle and deployment windows;
monopoly’ by an outsourced supplier managing the heritage application,
further limiting ability to deliver timely changes.
timing of the programme was soon after the financial liquidity crisis (aka the
‘credit crunch’). Consequently there was a heightened sense of concern
relating to the risk exposure of the bank. This was further amplified due
to a large portion of its payments business being with Agency Banks. In
this respect the bank was making payments on behalf of many other banks but only
settling with them some time after the daily settlement cycle.
The bank also underwent
a merger with another financial institution. This further emphasised the
need to facilitate payments to multiple product systems in the short to medium
Payments Hub was conceived as the solution to the payments processing
requirements. Key design drivers were to support the phased rollout of the
new package based product engine, specifically:
support a limited set of payment schemes required by the savings products initially;
namely credit transfers. Then transitioning to a richer set of schemes to
support current accounts, including cheque clearing and debit card schemes;
support the actual account migration, switching user payments from the heritage
product system to the new one, triggered by a scheduled migration date.
commercial drivers to utilise the
‘out of the box’ package features available so as to minimise development
costs associated with customisation. In this respect, the ‘package principle’ was
to be applied to ensure that the features of the new
core banking platform were leveraged. However, some of the capabilities
required in the proposed Payments Hub were
available in the package. The placement of that capability in the Payments
Hub or in the Product engine was a major source of architectural tension in the
Estimating Assurance - Central Government
major e-government programme was being undertaken by a tier-1 systems integrator
for a Central Government Department. The programme was the first of its
kind for the Department. As
part of a value for money exercise the Department required
assurance that estimates for a large programme, and ultimately pricing, were appropriate and
workshops established a thorough understanding of the architecture employed by
the systems integrator. Two
estimating approaches were then adopted:
breakdown structure (Prince II).
Estimates for specific
activities in the work breakdown structure were established
based on experience of delivering projects of similar size and complexity.
Core estimates for Code and Unit Test (CUT) were then extrapolated to obtain
full lifecycle estimates.
approach adopted was transparent to all parties and used established industry
metrics. This allowed areas of discrepancy to be identified and discussed.
Security Assurance - Major UK Retailer
major UK retailer was developing a new business to business (B2B) portal for use
by its suppliers. The solution was designed and developed by a 3rd party
systems integrator. Assurance was required that the security solution and
associated controls were fit for purpose.
asset based risk assessment approach was adopted. Using this approach the solution
'information assets' were established. Complementing this, a detailed
understanding of the systems architecture was determined. Essential Use Cases
were identified to establish the flow of the assets through the system enabling
a threat/risk assessment to be made. The security solution was evaluated against a security reference architecture framework comprising
several security sub-systems (Audit / Information Flow / Identity Management /
the threats identified, an assessment of the appropriateness of the
counter-measures adopted in the solution was then able to be made.
Additional mitigations and counter-measures were recommended where necessary.