Philip van den Emster , Project Manager, Business Analyst
Dutch banks have much to gain and little to lose by sharing information about how to tackle the complexities of the software ecosystem.
By Philip van den Emster and Fouad Assaf, Varrlyn
Large banks in the Netherlands face similar challenges in operating Murex, the IT system responsible for trading both exchange traded and OTC financial securities and derivatives. Yet there is little discussion amongst them on the solutions they are implementing to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
We believe such an exchange of ideas and experiences will improve the use of Murex. And this will not entail the loss of any competitive advantage. To this end, the Institute for International Research (IIR) and Varrlyn, a consultancy firm who advises parties on how to implement and maintain the Murex platform, are hosting a round table where all the major players in the Netherlands will be present, and can share ideas and experiences.
The following Murex trends will be addressed at the round table in Amsterdam in the 26th of June.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
Murex is a live system that requires continual adjustment. Continuous Delivery (CD) is a strategy that allows for the continuous deployment of new software. Traditionally, the integration of a new feature in the system could take months. CD has shortened that timescale dramatically bringing clear advantages in terms of efficiency and costs.
Changes to the highly-complex Murex system can be challenging. Testing is required to ensure functionalities that should not alter, remain the same, whilst also examining whether required changes to specific functionalities have taken place. That results in an enormous amount of testing, much of it currently undertaken manually, a very expensive process. The new trend of automated testing should result in cost and time-savings.
Agile scrum and Dev/Ops in globally separated teams.
Traditionally, IT staff worked in specialized teams, focusing on a particular area of expertise. Agile Scrum and Dev/Ops provides a different approach where self-contained units of specialists in all major fields are deployed. A single team is able to address every issue in its entirety, allowing cost and time-savings to ensue. This development allows a team to change and maintain the Murex system simultaneously.
Murex resourcing challenges
In the past, banks employed highly-experienced external consultants, with the specialised skills required to implement and maintain the software. However, due to cost pressures, financial organisations are considering new methods with a focus on using their own internal resources or outsourcing to lower-cost service centres. These can be good strategies, however quality, maturity and costs of re-work need to be properly addressed.
Murex is vital to the trading activities of banks. We believe sharing best practice among banks can provide a competitive advantage to Dutch financial service institutions in general.