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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

NewImageBryan Yurcan, an analyst with Bank Systems and Technology wrote an excellent piece covering some of the technology trends to watch for in 2012. “8 Bank Technology Trends That Will Shape the Industry in 2012” covers a wide range of issues, most notably around mobility and security. In reading through the article, here are some of the key points I took away:

1. Convergence of Mobile and Online Technologies – As mobility continues to grow into a maturing channel, banks and their vendor partners will produced richer mobile offerings that take advantage of its unique capabilities.

Implications: Banks need to develop a cohesive set of technologies that will make mobile app and online development easier for banks to manage.

2. Business Process Management – Banks need better methods of gathering and reporting data to both increase efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance.

Implications: Banks will need to invest time/money into big data, analytics,  and the technical challenges of analyzing and reporting very large amounts of information with a quick turnaround. Data integration, along with enterprise system integration, will also help banks obtain a more accurate view of their customers.NewImage

3. Message Centers will Replace Email – Dedicated web portals designed for secure communication between a bank and its customers will continue to replace legacy email systems. Security are among many of the benefits for such a move. Ernst & Young that found employees within organizations and businesses are increasingly the targets of hackers rather than individual consumers.

Implications: Banks employing third-party and joint marketing campaigns need to develop a coherent strategy for integrating these capabilities with the message center paradigm.

4. Table-based Banking Experience – The potential for a great tablet banking user experience, especially with the rich interface tablets offer (e.g., IOS, Android, etc.), is nearly unlimited. Customer like feeling good when they deal with their finances, the mobile rich user experience of the tablet world offers a means for personalizing the banking experience.

Implications: Banks need to develop a comprehensive online banking strategy based on cutting-edge mobile technologies, such as mobile remote deposit capture, in order to meet the mobile user experience needs of the customer.

5. security, Security, SECURITY – As more user rely on mobile and tablet based technologies to conduct their banking, these devices also will become the growing focus of hackers and fraudsters, who are always on the hunt for ripe targets. It almost goes without says, but Ernst & Young nevertheless report released in November 2011 on the current state of security threats noted that consumers who access sensitive data, such as banking information, on mobile devices at wi-fi hotspots are more susceptible to hacks.

Implications: Banks need to assess their security portfolio across all user channels and expect to invest time and money into ensuring safe online, mobile, and remote banking practices.

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6. New Post-Channel World – “The days when a customer would walk into a branch to fulfill all of his or her banking needs are long gone,” according to Mr. Yurcan. In most cases, customer are expected to finish their business (e.g., loan application) in the same branch it was started. But changing customer demographics, work and travel habits are changing this expectation.

Implications: Banks will need to better manage the seamless integration of online, offline and mobile channels in 2012 and beyond.

7. Using Self-service to Generate Bottom Line Revenue – In 2011, the customer black lash against Bank of America’s $5/month ATM fee sent a load message to the banking industry – Don’t charge me for doing your job! Customer want self service and expect not to pay for it.

Implications: Banks need to focus on self-service to grow the bottom line by encouraging customers to embrace cost-saving practices (e-statements, online bill pay, etc.).

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As Alan Cox once said, “I figure lots of predictions is best. People will forget the ones I get wrong and marvel over the rest.” So, with that in mind here are some of my SOA predications for 2008, a few of which we can marvel about next January:

>> Companies will realize that SOA is needed to effectively implement SaaS, since the most important word is SaaS is “Service.”

>> Service Component Architecture (SCA) will become the equivalent of SOA V2.

>> SOA/SCA governance will be acknowledged as a critical factor in successfully implementing commercial-grade solutions.

>> An SOA reference architecture will emerge and be adopted by all but one significant technology vendor (i.e., Microsoft).

>> Companies will begin to address why they cannot successfully validate and verify the distributed functionality in extremely large SOA applications (ELSA), slowing SOA adoption.

>> Enterprise SOA systems will become self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th.

>> Vendors won’t make SOA 2009 predictions at the end of 2008 because they will finally realize SOA is not about their technology, thus they can’t tie sales to it any longer.

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Twitter is an amazing social networking phenomenon (approaching 800,000 users), a micro-blogging capability that has pleasantly caught me by surprise. Web 2.0 has produced a lot of garbage applications, but Twitter does not appear to be one of them.

Social networks are a community of individuals or organizations connected through one or more social interdependencies [techno-bable]. In essence, they allow of us to connect and reconnect in different ways with different people in order to realize different results. Twitter users exploit this medium to achieve their results.

So, I am up and running in the twitter world. Please follow-me, if you’d like and pass along your twitter if you join. More later…

twitter: drjerryasmith

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Software Modernization

Many organizations fail at upgrading their legacy software systems because they can’t adequately recognize the modernization signals. Modernization is an emerging systematic process for managing the technological and/or business changes to existing systems.

Modernization often involves porting (keeping the same code base, but moving to a different operating system), translation (changing from language x to y), refactoring (keeping the same language but improve code characteristics), rewriting (writing the code from scratch in same/different language), and/or combinations of the previous. The important point is the “higher quality characteristics” part since this often leads to key business drivers (e.g., cost reductions, increase revenue, etc.).

From a modernization screening perspective, key signals are:

– Technology gaps: Systems operating on unsupported or out-of-date operating systems. For example, XP->Vista, Windows Server->Longhorn, etc.

– Incremental cost of maintenance is greater than the generated revenue: When it cost more to fix a problem than the revenue gained from either/both new sales or maintenance, it is a losing proposition for the business.

– New “disruptive” competitive pressures: Competition is emerging with solutions that are “kind of like” yours, but going after “fringe” markets. This is the first sign of trouble for a company, but it is usually only a matter of time before the characteristics of the old system are incorporated into the competition.

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SOA Support Systems

I just kicked off the first, of many to come, SIIA CTO Roundtable in San Francisco, CA, yesterday. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for technologist in leadership positions who want to exchange technology related ideas. In attendance for the founding event was Oracle, EMC/RSA, Kana, and Symphony Services.

This first series focused on SOA: Stories from the Frontline. The goal was to share concerns being seen in real world enterprise SOA development activities, not the kind of rosy stories you hear from vendors and trade magazines. Here are just a few items from my notes:

– Companies are still struggling with best SOA practices, even though standards exist. It is relatively easy to build simple SOA-based applications, but the model breaks down when you try to create an extended value-chain SOA; that is, one spanning multiple organizations.
– SOA model, build, deploy, monitor, and maintain development ecosystems are weak. Tools abound, but outside IBM WebSphere and Oracle BPM, there are few comprehensive IDE type resources that span the entire development lifecycle.
– Business leaders still don’t see the need for SOA as a named technology, but value the benefits that SOA can derive (see my blog on “Don’t Sell SOA”). Yes, they want agile applications capable of supporting new business requirements, but they still think SOA is just a market-hyped three letter acronym.
– There are enablement challenges facing real world SOA implementation: skill/knowledge, SOA SLA, simulation, logging, etc. The biggest challenge that every agreed on was the lack of engineering and architectural skills needed to build effective SOA systems. More on this in a later blog.

Yes, most of us probably know these to be true already, but having a SOA support system allows you to realize you’re not alone and leverage the strengths of others. As a group, we have identified several next steps that collectively we will work on. Again, more on those items later.

The next event will be in the Boston, MA, area sometime early 2008. I will blog the date, time, and location was soon as it’s available. Hope to see you there.

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Another great day at Oracle Open World. Besides a brief client meeting with Microsoft, the event day was dominated by two principle themes: Application Integration Architecture (AIA) and Social Networking. The afternoon key note was given by a friend Ed Abbo (Senior Vice President, Applications Development). Ed presented the overall application strategy for the next few years: increasing applications functionality, increasing application integration through AIA, and growing Fusion. But that really does not give justice to Ed’s talk.

Oracle sees a significantly new future, one that can be summed up in two word: “Social Networking.” During Ed’s keynote, he specifically made mention to Oracle’s investment in Social Networking more than 40 times. That is a lot for a 60 min talk dedicated to Oracle’s application development initiatives. In talking about this bold new world, he laid out an interesting innovation timeline – 1970/Close Enterprise, 1980-1990/Extended Enterprise, 2000/Global Business Webs, and 2007+/Embedded Social Networking. The ability to identify, view, and exploit enterprise level social relationships is one of the key business drivers for many of Oracle’s future investments. Anthony Lye went on to demonstrate a series of applications, including their Social CRM application suite and Oracle Sales Library applications (uses Tagging, part of social networking).

The next significant theme of the keynote, and in earlier meeting with Oracle, was their Application Integration Architecture (AIA) initiative. Through AIA, Oracle can now deliver an open standards based framework for creating cross-application integration through key business processes. Using their AIA framework, Process Integration Packs (PIPs), composed of common objects, services, and process, can be created between Oracle-to-Oracle and Oracle-to-Third Party applications. Mary Arbelaez runs the partner version of the Oracle AIA program and is great source of information about the partner program.

It was a great couple days and wish I could have spent more time with the Oracle team. If you get a chance to see it next year, do so and stop by to say hello. Oh ya, did I mention that Ed Abbo mentioned social networking more than 40 times during his keynote? I wonder if this means it is significant?

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I am out at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, CA, this week checking out all their latest technology advances and those of their partners. If you have not been to one their events, next year it should be a must. With over 43,000 people in attendance, it not only has something technical for everybody, but the social dynamics created when so many people come together are exciting as well.

The top two events of the day were clearly Oracle’s Application Integration and Virtualization capabilities. Oracle Applications Integration Architecture (AIA) is designed to integrate disparate applications through an open standards based framework. Chuck Rozwat, Executive VP of Product Development, demonstrated AIA Foundation Packs, which is a set of pre-built SOA-based, BPEL compliant, process workflows that will aid in the application integration. Pretty cool and they work.

Oracle Virtualization seems to be another hit. Charles Phillips presented a series a new virtualization capabilities based on the open-source Xen hypervisor technology, incorporating new browser-based management capabilities. Xen is a virtual machine monitor for the x86 platform that supports execution of multiple guest operating systems. If you want to know more about Xen, check out this paper.

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