SOA underpins IT systems transformation at Alliance

Feature

SOA underpins IT systems transformation at Alliance

Investment company Alliance Trust is preparing to roll out online transactions and dealing systems after adopting a service oriented architecture (SOA) last year to enable a far-reaching IT transformation programme across its business.

In February, Alliance Trust replaced a legacy retail banking system with Activebank modules from Financial Objects. The software has enabled it to roll out new channels to its investment banking customers.

Alliance Trust is currently conducting a pilot of phone-based transaction services and plans to enable online functions by the end of the year.

The channel expansion and IT transformation programme has been underpinned by the investment company’s deployment last year of Cape Clear’s Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) software as the basis for the firm’s SOA.

Rowland Strickland, chief operating officer and acting CIO at Alliance Trust, said the deployment of Activebank was the first step in a multi-year systems renewal programme that would only be conceivable with a flexible web-based architecture in place.

“Most of our legacy systems are more than 10 years old, and it became clear when we began investigating our options two years ago that a middleware architecture was a necessity to build flexible and scalable systems for the long term,” he said.

Alliance Trust is sourcing all of its application development from software partners. Strickland said ESB’s infrastructure-agnostic environment made this possible by minimising the integration challenges.

“With ESB in place, the expectation is that we can radically change the business in a very short timeframe,” said Strickland.

“In the first half of next year, we should be able to move into the customer relationship management space and begin to drive revenue growth that way.”

Strickland said that installing the retail platform had not been without problems, but having an SOA in place meant than issues could be isolated easily. “SOA has meant we are vulnerable only to the piece we are changing,” he said.

 

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This was first published in August 2006

 

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