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Swiss Bank

case study
Relocating critical IT systems - without interrupting service

The Client
One of Switzerland’s largest private Banks, with operations in major European cities, including London, Amsterdam and Geneva.

Project Summary

Managing the relocation of key IT systems of one of Switzerland’s largest private Banks between European capital cities while seamlessly maintaining 24/7 banking IT operations without interruption to the bank’s staff or customers..

The Challenge
The Bank had decided to transfer key IT systems from its London office to Amsterdam. The systems were those concerned with Portfolio Management and it was of crucial importance that they continued to provide 100 per cent availability, without interruption of service to portfolio managers.  The IT systems had to be moved in their entirety -- hardware, software, applications, third party packages and networking equipment.

A further requirement was that the Bank’s IT systems had not merely to maintain normal levels of service during the move, but had also to continue to be developed in line with the Bank’s strategic IT development programs. Moreover, no additional staff were available during the period of the move, which had to be accomplished using existing personnel only.

During the course of the project, the Bank decided for corporate operational reasons to transfer the IT systems again, from Amsterdam to its Geneva headquarters. Hardware, software, applications and networks had thus to be moved not once but twice between capital cities.

Fintecs Solution
On behalf of the Bank, Fintecs project managed the entire movement of IT systems from London to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Geneva.

According to Tony Gratton of Fintecs, who managed the team responsible for the move, ‘When we took on the project, the first thing we needed to understand was how the Bank’s systems worked and how they interacted with each other. One specially tricky thing about the project was that it was a true system project in every sense, in that it involved applications software, third party packages, hardware, networks -- the whole lot had to be uprooted and moved, yet without interrupting service.’

To keep track of the immensely complex task, Fintecs employed its Visual Documentation technique to provide a series of graphical maps showing every element of the system and how they interact.

Says Tony Gratton, ‘Our visual document was oriented as a map of the systems but we also used it to manage the project move. We produced a new edition of the map every couple of weeks when things were moving quickly. More recently we have completed a second version of the map to show how the evolution of the Bank’s software will work.’

‘An important part of the project was our analysis of the whole system and partly as a result of that analysis a new strategy has been defined for future development. We didn’t just move the old system, we also put in place evolutionary development of existing systems to cater for the bank’s future needs.’

‘The new development primarily involves legacy system replacement as there are a number of older systems that are fast becoming unmaintainable and are currently being rationalised, and cleaned up or replaced entirely with more modern systems. These developments also had to be factored into our relocation plans.’

The project involved a team of up to a dozen IT staff, project managed by Fintecs, working on the system relocation project for more than a year. A further constraint was that no additional staff were available for the move which was accomplished with existing personnel and taking into account natural wastage of staff.

Says Tony Gratton, ‘Our Visual Documentation approach has paid off very effectively for the Bank. Even thought the project is now completed and all systems were moved successfully on time and within budget, we still maintain the visual map. Indeed the bank’s own IT Operations staff have begun a new project, a pure system project to absorb the systems that were relocated into the bank’s general IT systems structure, and an important tool for them in managing this further project is the visual map we produced – so it has fulfilled the important function of knowledge transfer within the bank’s own staff.’

‘A second project is also under way with the bank’s development staff to rationalise the remaining systems. Fintecs visual approach helped everyone understand the big picture and to launch the new project.’

About Fintecs
Founded in 2001, Fintecs is a Banking IT consultancy that combines in-depth expertise in Banking and the Financial industry with a unique approach to the visual documentation of systems, business processes and people.

The Fintecs visual approach to IT documentation has been developed in association with one of Europe’s leading banks. It is designed to help financial institutions of all kinds to rediscover the value of their hardware and software assets and to:-

· Transfer vital knowledge among staff
· Match IT systems more closely to the needs of Business
· Understand fully how business processes interact
· Plan future systems with confidence

Fintecs draws on a wealth of experience with all kinds of financial institutions from private banking to trust administration including specialities such as asset management for private and institutional clients. Fintecs has carried out consultancy projects in countries throughout Europe as well as in the US and Canada. Staff are English-French bilingual and have extensive experience of the Swiss banking system.

Fintecs consultancy work has included business process analysis from front-office to back, data flows, databases and a wide range of software applications, with extensive experience of Project Management, Project Implementation, and Systems Integration.

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