COVID-19 has transformed even the most resistant banking consumers into virtual clients. There is an enormous pressure to move to cloud-based infrastructure while on the other hand, cybersecurity, safety, and compliance controls delay the adoption of cloud for most critical apps. Recent publications estimate a timeframe of 3 to 5 years or longer for banks to migrate their most sensitive products off their legacy platforms. Large banks must adopt a legacy environment strategy that complements a cloud adaptation roadmap to stay competitive and compliant.
Most legacy infrastructures (Mainframes, Solaris, and AIX) are expensive to purchase, maintain, and troubleshoot. Moreover, software deployments are prone to error, costly, and time-consuming. An aging skilled workforce is further exacerbating the situation, creating legacy skill gaps.
Infosys Consulting’s efficiency framework is a proven accelerator to ease the burden on legacy-intensive processing.
Compounding problems due to COVID-19
Agile methodologies result in accelerated software releases. However, integration-testing environments such as end-to-end performance and user acceptance platforms (UAT/PTE) create pre-deployment bottlenecks. These complex, semi-production-like, and semi-secure legacy constructs require time and expertise to install and re-configure and to conduct advanced scheduling and planning.
COVID-19 fueled banking transformation programs overflow legacy UAT/PTEs resulting in missed deadlines, non-compliance fees, and client relationship issues.
Integration tests may involve 5, 25, or even more apps, each with disparate roadmaps and deployment schedules. Multiple versions may exist in production for different lines of businesses, different geo-locations sharing the same UAT/PTE infrastructure. Frequent releases (2-week agile sprints) run into each other. The manual nature of test environment installations, limited coordination between product owners, and almost non-existent test environment monitoring compound the problem resulting in costly overtimes or worse, abridged test processes.
Our efficiencies framework enables faster deployment of new applications or changes to existing applications while providing the flexibility to meet dynamic demands. The automation and on-line services ensure a low/touch yet higher quality deployment resulting in better customer experience. Moreover, it provides the optimization of delivery to agile approaches for legacy and cloud infrastructures or a combination of both.
The framework follows a 6- step approach:
Early Adaptation Results and Benefits
With the adaptation of our efficiencies framework, the UAT/PTE downtime decreased to a maximum of 10%. Close monitoring and adjustments resulted in shorter test cycles that in turn improved time to market and reduced testing costs. Frequent checkpoints and controls for chronic issues led to better visibility and governance. The data collected in the process enabled better decision making, analytics, and therefore, a higher ROI on infrastructure investments.
The adaptation leads to significant cost and time efficiencies. No additional legacy infrastructure needs to be purchased, installed, maintained. It does not mandate the use of specializes skills or training of the on-ground team. The findings from implementing the framework provide inputs into the cloud TOM refinements and facilitate the cloud migration strategy. The framework also stabilizes on-going transformation programs known for legacy infrastructure challenges and provides added visibility, KPIs, and reporting to stakeholders.
Global, well-established banks and similar financial services companies with mature technology footprint are under unprecedented pressures to release their compliance and reputation-sensitive products to markets faster. While getting on a private and/ or public cloud is the ultimate goal, it is also a journey that will take anywhere from three to five years or even longer. Until then, while cloud adaptations are going through the proper vetting mechanisms. The banks are looking for interim solutions to be more elastic while running on legacy infrastructure. The Efficiencies Framework, outlined in this article, is a quick and inexpensive accelerator to improve the availability of legacy-constrained UAT and PTE integration environments.
Senior Principal, Infosys Consulting
Ella Flikop is responsible for the overall management of the design, development and implementation of business technology solutions for banking and finance clients. She has over 25 years of experience as a solutions architect for capital markets, asset management, and broker/dealers. Ella specializes in automation and re-engineering of quantitative, analytics-intensive business processes, and holds a master’s degree in statistics from Columbia University.