AIB invests in major overhaul of corporate IT system

18 Nov 2009

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AIB has replaced legacy systems – some of them 30 years old – with a new Oracle-based IT system that will run across the company’s Irish networks as well as overseas offices, from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Siliconrepublic.com has learned that the bank has replaced its entire legacy system with an Oracle FlexCube implementation that will run on UNIX servers.

The implementation is the result of a four-year overhaul to replace legacy systems that the bank said have been severely constraining business growth.

Goal to centralise IT

Marcel McCann, head of Enterprise Business Architecture at AIB, explained that the objective was to centralise IT to make the systems as efficient as possible and reduce costs.

“There were a number of key drivers behind it. We needed to improve service levels, we needed speed and flexibility and we needed to reduce operational risk.

“This meant getting rid of manual processes and get everyone onto a single platform and reduce costs.”

McCann explained that the legacy systems consisted of midrange servers and systems 30 years old and software, such as the Kindle-based Bank Master software.

“We have reduced operational risk, and have delivered more automated processes so less manual intervention is required. This has reduced support costs and improved customer services in the form of faster access to information.”

Further deployments

His colleague, Stephen Carty, said that the plan is to continue deploying a series of modules to further remove legacy systems. In tandem with the corporate group overhaul, he said that a similar overhaul is planned on the retail banking side also using the FlexCube technology.

The deployment, McCarthy explained, involved a large degree of testing and putting controls around the movement of data. “We had version rehearsals and put checkpoints in place to manage the movement of sensitive data. It was a fairly intense reconciliation process.”

Striving for business growth

McCarthy said that despite the economic downturn, the new platform will support AIB in its drive for business growth. “It gives us greater speed to bring new products to market. Compared with the legacy system, which required a lot of coding within the system, if we wanted to introduce a new product or target new geographies, the new system allows that to happen.

“The new system supports our back office in Dublin, as well as offices in Sydney and Los Angeles, on a single back-office system.”

Carty said there are other areas where there are opportunities to migrate legacy systems to the new platform. “The big investment is complete. We looked at more than 30 different IT systems. They all provided much of the same functionality but we shortlisted it down to five based on desktop exercises and market research, and decided that FlexCube was a good fit because of its flexibility to allow us to scale if we needed to and its ability to move to modern architecture.”

By John Kennedy

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com