System integration challenge

June 25, 2012 — Interview with Steve Van Wyk, Chairman of the BIAN Board

In the financial services industry, everything is dependent on IT. This stretched from a bank’s response to changing risk profiles, to its delivery of new products and services. Yet a significant amount of the IT budget is spent on integrating new systems into the existing architecture. That could all change as the industry embraces open standards. Steve van Wyk, global CIO for ING, talks to Jim Banks about what lies ahead.

The banking industry is acutely aware that its risk profile can change rapidly and that it must become more agile to manage risks as they evolve. IT is crucial to any change a bank makes and plays a significant role in all kinds of risk management, from business continuity to data security. Yet it must also make products and services easy to access.

For CIOs, balancing the requirement for enhanced data security with the need to streamline the flow of information through a complex organisation is a big challenge.

The industry’s approach to such issues, and the constant challenge of integrating new technology to deliver better products and improve customer service, could be about to change dramatically. An ongoing initiative to promote open standards across the industry is rapidly gathering momentum, and will change how CIOs approach the development and implementation of new systems.

“There is always a trade-off between security and the flow of data,”says Steve van Wyk, global CIO for ING. “Processes must be simple, open and accessible for clients, but you need the right security in place to protect their interests. We look for security measures that provide comfort and protection, ease and openness — that is what we get paid to do.

“But there are also other risks we must consider from a technological perspective; for example, regulatory risk. Regulatory changes force banks to adopt new systems and they need the ability to change in a timely fashion. Banks have an opportunity to respond to risk quicker, including new threats to security.”
BIAN — service-oriented architecture

That opportunity comes from a fundamental change to banks’ systems architecture that is being driven by the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN), of which van Wyk is chairman. BIAN was created to promote a common framework for banking interoperability issues. Its aim is to be a major contributor to the knowledge and services needed to implement interoperability between banks, which will rely on service-oriented architecture (SOA).

“The idea is standardisation en masse to advance the technology agenda much faster,”explains van Wyk.

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