" ITREALMS: IBM’s Smarter Planet boosts bank operations

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IBM’s Smarter Planet boosts bank operations

International Business Machines (IBM) has introduced a new industry solution, Smarter Planet, which the company said would aid Nigerian banks to improve on infrastructure while reducing risk under a unified platform.

Ndiaye Mamadou of IBM West Africa, revealed this at Nigeria Banking Risk and Compliance workshop in Lagos recently and said that the solution would help banks to be more efficient, improve their flexibility and adapt more easily to new business challenges and regulatory requirements.

Part of the IBM Smarter Planet strategy, Mamadou said, is to enable banks to simplify the modernization, management and monitoring of their technology systems, while lowering risk by avoiding the disruptive business consequences that have characterized these activities in the past.

According to the official, IBM’s Banking Industry Framework gives banks an alternative to the high-risk, rip-and-replace approach, stressing that the framework enables a bank’s progressive transformation with industry proven data and process models already employed by more than 250 financial institutions.

“As a result, banks are now able to safely and securely upgrade their infrastructure on the fly,” Mamadou declared.

Pointing out that among the most compelling features of the new modular is that it focuses on the heart of the infrastructure, where the maintenance and management of core banking systems typically account for over half of total Information Technology (IT) spending.

“Not only are these costs a drain on potential funds for improvement and innovation, but they are continually rising as banks continue to modify and patch aging core systems – increasing their complexity. Banks have been reluctant to consolidate these legacy applications because it is difficult and disruptive,” Mamadou highlighted.

Emphasizing that Nigerian banks are seeking ways to work smarter, manage risk and to increase transparency, hence, IBM banking framework provides a flexible unified platform that can help them anticipate and respond to clients needs while reducing the costs of developing, operating and maintaining the systems that span the front, middle and back-office operations.

In addition, the new platform breaks through the “silos” that often exist between a bank’s departments, allowing true data transparency and application sharing, citing for instance, when using the new framework, staff within one part of the bank would be able to track transactions across multiple business lines in order to identify fraudulent activity before it happens, while other staff elsewhere in the bank could use those same analytic tools to understand customer behavior and preferences.

Equally, IBM banking industry framework addresses four key areas that demand the majority of a banks attention and resources, providing a path to accelerate transformation, and system upgrade with an eye towards future needs and reduced project risk.

These features, Mamadou outlined to include integrated risk management to support a holistic approach to managing financial risk, operational and IT risk, financial crimes detection and prevention, and compliance; customer care & insight to help banks build a foundation for creating a single view of the customer and enabling more effective and efficient sales and service; payments and securities to help banks progressively transform their payments operations to become more flexible and efficient as well as core banking transformation that allows banks to modernize and renovate existing systems that sustain core banking functions while aligning with the changing needs of the business.

Today’s digital world, Mamadou said, offers new levels of collaboration, insight and dynamic business process which require improved business agility and help companies respond faster to changing business needs.

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