Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SAP and Banking Community Definition Group Unite the Worldwide Banking Industry Around Enterprise SOA Standards

by Kelly Schwager

ING and Standard Bank Reap Rewards of Community Participation

SAP AG today announced that members of the industry value network (IVN) for banks -- which brings together SAP, banks and non-banks to collaboratively develop solutions for the banking industry -- have formed an expanded definition group to co-innovate and create global standards for enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA). The expansion of the community enables the members to leverage the results from the IVN for their custom projects as well as to directly influence the development of software solutions for the banking industry. As part of expanding the scope of its charter, the community has opened its membership to include additional banks and non-banks, including software providers, service providers and auditors. With this announcement, the members of the community and SAP continue to deliver on their mission to provide a common innovation backbone for the banking industry, be it global retail banks, private banks or corporate banks.

The community definition group for banking currently has 37 members with more than 130 individual participants engaged in 23 work groups defining services, discussing architecture topics and creating building blocks to help companies make a successful transition to enterprise SOA. In addition, the community has created an SOA taxonomy, developed a service landscape and identified the strategic and organization building blocks that banks require for a successful transition to enterprise SOA. Participants engaged in the expanded community include, among others: Callatay & Wouters, Commerzbank, CSC, Deloitte Consulting, FinanzIT, Hewlett Packard, HSH Nordbank, La Caixa, PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Wirtschaftsprufungsgesellschaft, SPSS, StreamServe, Syskoplan AG, SWIFT and TXS Financial Products.

Recognizing that it is paramount to have customers and suppliers agree upon specific services definitions, SAP and a group of nine leading banking customers launched this initiative in December 2005. Participants included ABN AMRO, Absa, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Credit Suisse, Deutsche Postbank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nordea and Standard Bank. Since the commencement, the group has met significant milestones and has jointly identified more than 180 critical enterprise services, which SAP and other partners have committed to implement.

Participants Find Significant Benefits

ING joined the industry value network for banks because its management believes that a standardized environment can significantly reduce IT costs for banks.

"Integration issues make the business case for buying software, especially in larger organizations," said Johan Smessaert, head of enterprise architecture, ING. "Collaboration in defining services via the industry value network for banks should help reduce integration and new solution adoption costs. With its strong experience in standardizing solution development, SAP uses these services definitions to reduce customer integration costs. SAP can also take an active role to promote ecosystem collaboration on a common services layer for the banking industry."

Standard Bank, the largest bank in South Africa, also saw cost reduction as a major motivation in seeking an enterprise SOA. Being a part of the industry value network for banks has also helped Standard Bank learn from other banks regarding the benchmarks for enterprise SOA adoption, and exchange ideas to avoid common pitfalls.

"We recognized the momentum of SAP NetWeaver as a business process platform for other industries and saw the opportunity to join first movers in the banking industry to define an open core banking platform based on enterprise SOA," said Herman Singh, director of architecture and technology engineering, Standard Bank. "The expanded community lets thought leaders collaborate openly to define common services and leverage SAP and its ecosystem of solution vendors to codify and commoditize the processes at the industry level."

SWIFT is a worldwide community of financial institutions whose purpose is to be the leader in communications solutions enabling interoperability between its members, their market infrastructures and their end-user communities. SWIFT joined the community definition group to contribute in the development of standardized services.

"I believe SAP's community definition group could be of significant strategic relevance to the banking industry," said Johan Kestens, head of marketing, member of the Executive Committee, SWIFT. "The energy and enthusiasm are high, the approach is practical and capitalizes on the momentum of the industry. As a leading global infrastructure of the financial industry, SWIFT can contribute on standard definition, processes and community implementation. I am looking forward to working with the members to try and achieve this."

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