ME Bank wanted a cost-effective, future-ready platform for their new core banking system that their IT staff could easily manage and support. After a rigorous comparison of licensing, support and upgrade costs, ME Bank chose to consolidate its
mixed environment on the Windows Server 2012- SQL Server 2012 platform versus a Linux-based alternative. Besides generating long-term savings on support, the decision means that ME Bank can consolidate IT skills around a single technology, decreasing support
costs and increasing agility.
ME Bank is dedicated to fairer banking. They provide transparent, straightforward and low-cost banking products to about 280,000 customers—members of unions, employment associations and industry superannuation funds.
For almost a decade, ME Bank depended on two core banking systems: a Windows–SQL-based product called NTBS that managed all savings and deposits; and a Solaris-based product called ULTRACS for loans and transactions products.
“Updating our legacy banking systems was becoming increasingly difficult,” says Jem Richards, Enterprise Architect, ME Bank. “Any level of change required custom development, which meant bringing in specialists from outside. This cost us tens
of thousands of dollars a year, caused delays and stymied innovation.”
The bank’s IT staff were eager to support business goals and reclaim their agility –and ability–to deliver turnkey solutions in a timely manner. They began to look for a single, integrated core banking system, but the diversity of the current IT environment,
meant Richards’ team was unable to specialize, or build in-depth technology expertise to differentiate themselves.
”We felt we were always immersed in tactical and reactive tasks,” says Richards.
“If we consolidated our IT skills on one technology, we could build in-house expertise and make strategic changes quickly.”
In late-2011, ME Bank selected a new, platform-agnostic banking software system, Temenos T24, to manage all their core banking operations. There were two equally viable options to deploy it on: Windows Server 2012, with the SQL Server 2012 database, or a
||When we analysed all the costs over a five year period, it was clear that if we deployed our core banking system on a Windows-SQL platform, the total cost of ownership would be substantially less than the Linux-based alternative.
| Jem Richards
Enterprise Architect, ME Bank
“We conducted extremely rigorous comparisons on costs, the availability of technical support and scope for in-house IT skills consolidation,” says Richards. “Although the alternative Linux-based platform is essentially free to deploy, based on our past experience,
we knew that it would cost more to support than Windows. This made the overall costs of the two operating systems approximately the same.”
However, the costs of the two databases differed substantially. “At present growth rates, we would soon need to upgrade our alternative platform, which would cost over $100,000 more,” says Richards. “In contrast, our existing Microsoft licence allowed us
to grow without additional cost.
“When we analysed all the costs over a five year period, it was clear that if we deployed our core banking systems on Windows-SQL, the total cost of ownership would be substantially less than if we chose the alternative.”
Second, Richards believed the prevalence of Windows specialists with Temenos T24 experience reduced business risk. “Microsoft and Windows community specialists were readily available to help us configure Temenos T24,” says Richards, “Finding the relevant
Linux skills for the alternative platform with Temenos was proving to be a lot more difficult.”
For Richards, the third vital factor was the opportunity to consolidate internal IT skills. A decision was made to purchase Temenos’ business intelligence software, called Insight, which used SQL-based reporting and analysis tools. This made consolidating
on Windows-SQL even more attractive.
“Selecting Windows–SQL would enable us to consolidate internal IT skills on a single technology, and build our in-house capabilities in line with the business,” says Richards. “Ultimately, this would mean being more in control of our banking platform and
reporting capabilities going forward.”
By deploying their new core banking system using Windows and SQL Server, ME Bank can avoid major future upgrade costs, and consolidate IT skills in a way that promises maximum scope for agility in the future.
Boosting in-house development
By decommissioning a mixed Windows-Solaris environment and consolidating their core banking system on one technology, ME Bank can reduce dependence on external consultants, boost in-house capabilities, and save tens of thousands of dollars each year.
“Now we can build up our core banking IT capabilities and make quick changes to our environment ourselves,” says Richards. “Increased agility means we can introduce new customer services much faster.”
Maximum choices for future technologies
Richards is also confident that deploying Temenos T24 on the Windows Server platform will maximize development choices over the life of the core banking system.
“I am confident that if we want to deploy a new banking product in a few years’ time that is not supported on Windows, Microsoft will find a way to help me deploy it,” he says. ”Today, there is real traction when you request support from Microsoft for third-party
Flexibility for the future
Richards also believes the all-Windows platform should give him greater flexibility.
“With the core banking system on an all-Windows platform, we will be able to standardise the infrastructure more easily,” says Richards. “This means we will encounter fewer issues if and when we move those systems to the cloud.”
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