Banks See BIAN on Their SOA Roadmaps

As the banking industry transitions to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for its IT systems, the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is working with other major standards bodies in the financial services sector, to lead the way.

Hong Kong, September 15, 2009 – On occasion of the Sibos 2009 international financial services conference, the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) has produced a white paper that outlines the roles of BIAN and other important standards organizations within the financial services industry in supporting service-oriented architecture (SOA). This paper highlights the benefits of each organization’s efforts and offers insight into the great potential for their mutual collaboration. BIAN is currently in the initial stages of collaborating with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the Object Management Group (OMG), and the International Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum, among others.

The white paper will be discussed in a Sibos Standards Forum session today at 3:15 p.m. by individuals involved in different standards organizations.
BIAN is an independent, not-for-profit association founded in April 2008 to define and promote SOA standards in the financial services industry. Two questions naturally arise: why banks need SOA and why do they need another standards organization. The easiest way to answer these questions is to ask leading experts in the IT and financial services industries who are working closely with BIAN to solve one of banking’s most pressing IT-related issues — service integration and interoperability.

As a result of changing market demands and the complexity and cost of integration, financial institutions are looking for ways to decrease their reliance on in-house solutions and move toward standard software solutions. As part of this process, they are looking for a blueprint from which they can develop a flexible architecture model for the future that fully supports integration with their remaining in-house solutions. BIAN is developing a model for SOA that works across all technology platforms.

Koen Van den Brande, Chair of the BIAN Strategy Advisory Group outlines why BIAN has taken this approach: “One of the founding principles of BIAN was the intent to work with existing standards and to help the financial services industry bring together a comprehensive picture of the services landscape required to implement a SOA roadmap. With the launch of a white paper to help the industry understand the positioning of BIAN and the active engagement of members of SWIFT, IFX and OMG in drafting it, I believe all of us have set an important first step towards closer collaboration in the ultimate interest of the industry as a whole.”

Converging Standards and Models
The various standards organizations all emerged to meet specific needs within the financial services industry and have established effective standards and models to meet those needs. For example, SWIFT was founded in 1973 by a consortium of international banks to provide a secure network for the exchange of messages between banks and to clearly define message standards. Today, SWIFT continues in this capacity and acts as the Registration Authority for the ISO 20022 Repository.

“SWIFT’s overriding mission is to drive efficiencies in the financial industry by enabling automation,”said Stephen Lindsay, Senior Technical Project Manager, SWIFT Standards. “Typically, many standards are involved in the processing of a financial transaction, and interoperability between these standards is critical if transaction processing and process implementation is to be optimised. As a committed contributor to and supporter of ISO 20022, SWIFT is delighted to be working with BIAN to ensure that BIAN standards can benefit from and contribute to ISO 20022 and the interoperability that it enables.”

The ISO 20022 standard was designed as a point of convergence for the many standards and standards bodies that have evolved in the financial industry. The ISO 20022 methodology uses the Unified Modeling language (UML’) to capture definitions of business areas, transactions, and messages that are independent of any particular technology or syntax. UML was developed by OMG as part of its Model-Driven Architecture (MDA’), which is intended to meet the modeling needs of financial institutions and organizations in other industrial sectors.

“The entire standards community is coalescing around interoperable and portable standards for the financial services industry, taking into account not only existing practices and standards but focused on community requirements in the coming years,”said Richard Mark Soley, Ph.D., chairman and CEO, OMG. “OMG is proud that our core Model Driven Architecture modeling standards (like UML and BPMN) have helped bring together the industry and the standards communities to enable more flexible, agile and robust business practices among trading parties. In particular, we look forward to continued cooperation with BIAN, especially in the areas of financial services standards (including Model Driven Message Interoperability, or MDMI, specification and service oriented architecture standards), bringing the experience of our own SOA and MDMI Consortia to bear on the needs of financial services.”

Adding to this already substantial body of work are the contributions of the IFX Forum. Founded in 1997 with the intent of easing interoperability issues in the financial services industry, the IFX Forum is an international, not-for-profit association focused on creating a framework of messaging and communication specifications as well as the IFX common object model. With their automation capabilities, IFX standards are highly valued in a service-oriented architecture.

In this regard, it is important to note that, while the standards bodies overlap in areas where they can clearly assist in providing knowledge and expertise, they remain focused on their core missions. Noting the great potential for collaboration with BIAN, IFX Forum President Richard Urban reinforces this idea:

“The financial services industry has a clear need for greater interoperability and it is exciting to participate in the emerging standards ecosystem to meet this demand. Like many standards organizations, the IFX Forum is focused in scope — proud to deliver value to the industry with an interoperable messaging specification. We are enthusiastic about the complementary capabilities BIAN provides by creating standardization for service-oriented architectures within the industry. The IFX Forum has made it part of its mission to work with other standards organizations for the industry’s benefit and looks forward to interaction with BIAN in the future,”says Urban.

The BIAN Meta-Model

The core mission of BIAN is to establish an SOA for the banking industry, and an essential part of BIAN’s plan for defining a banking services landscape is helping banks and vendors alike to agree on what the services that constitute application building blocks be capable of doing. To this end, BIAN has conceived of the BIAN Service Meta-Model, which reflects the various preexisting standards and BIAN’s specific work in service definitions to determine the service landscape, processes, use case, and messages required to successfully implement an SOA strategy.

In collaboration with other standards organizations, BIAN is hard at work in helping banks to improve services by increasing IT efficiency, reducing costs, and promoting the level of flexibility needed to ensure that financial institutions are well positioned to meet future market challenges and demands.

About BIAN
Established in 2008, The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is an independent, member owned, not-for-profit association to establish and promote a common architectural framework for banking interoperability issues. BIAN’s goal is to define SOA and semantic definitions for IT services in the banking industry. This will help banks to achieve a reduction of integration costs and utilize the advantages of a service-oriented architecture. Financial institutions, software vendors, and system integrators, along with technology partners, are invited to join the association and play a collaborative role with other industry leaders in defining, building and implementing next-generation banking platforms.

BIAN Members: Axon, Callataÿ & Wouters, CGI, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Postbank, FERNBACH, ifb AG, IKOR, ING, innobis AG, Microsoft, SAP, SunGard, Standard Bank of South Africa, Steria Mummert, Temenos, SWIFT, Syskoplan, Validata, ZEB, Zürcher Kantonalbank.


SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative that provides the communications platform, products and services to connect over 8,500 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 200 countries. SWIFT enables its users to exchange automated, standardised financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating operational inefficiencies. SWIFT also brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest.

About OMG

OMG is an international, open membership, not-for-profit computer industry consortium that in 2009 is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. OMG Task Forces develop enterprise integration standards for a wide range of technologies, including: Real-time, Embedded and Specialized Systems, Analysis & Design, Architecture-Driven Modernization and Middleware and an even wider range of industries, including: Business Modeling and Integration, C4I, Finance, Government, Green Computing, Healthcare, Insurance, Legal Compliance, Life Sciences Research, Manufacturing Technology, Robotics, Software-Based Communications and Space.

OMG’s modeling standards, including the Unified Modeling LanguageT (UML’)
and Model Driven Architecture’ (MDA’), enable powerful visual design, execution and maintenance of software and other processes, including IT Systems Modeling and Business Process Management. OMG’s middleware standards and profiles are based on the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA’) and support a wide variety of industries.

More information about OMG can be found at OMG is headquartered in Needham, MA, USA.

About the IFX Forum
Founded in 1997, the Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum is an international not-for-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange, suitable for use by all sectors of the financial services industry. Forum membership is open to organizations interested in contributing to the development of open financial standards. Forum members include financial institutions, hardware, software and service firms, and related non-profit groups.

The IFX Forum is currently organized into the following Working Groups: ATM/POS; Branch Banking Services; Business Banking; and Card Management & Servicing. IFX Forum Working Groups, in concert with an Architecture Committee to coordinate their efforts, develop open Internet-compatible messages for all sectors of the financial services industry. The IFX Forum also promotes interoperability of industry standards by working cooperatively with other standards organizations and consortia. To learn more about the IFX standard or the benefits of IFX Forum membership, please visit