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UBS moves to SOA for developing financial apps

John-Paul Kamath

Investment bank UBS is changing the way it develops software by using a service orientated architecture (SOA) to create financial applications which are more integrated and quicker to deploy.

By creating and releasing applications to clients faster, it hopes to gain an edge over its competitors by offering a more comprehensive and immediate range of new software features. 

The bank currently provides a number of services for customers including asset management, global wealth management and investment banking but has seen increasing demand from individual customers for several services at once.

Because its financial applications operate separately, data and processes are duplicated, and releasing new applications can take time to integrate with existing programs. Data integrity was also compromised because multiple applications were accessing data sets at the same time, creating complex dependencies between programs.

As part of its five year Highway project the bank hopes to cut down development time by re-using software components.

“Our Highway project and move to SOA will allow us a standard way of creating IT applications for our customers,” said Stefan Alder, director of global wealth management and business banking IT. “This is a clear move away from silo-based transaction processing which has been the hallmark of many financial software programs over the years.” 

The Highway project will promote the standardisation and re-use of software components so that services can interoperate and provide a stable test environment to measure the impact of new applications on existing services.      
 
According to John Radcliffe, a vice president and research analyst at Gartner, organisations should start planning now to rebalance their existing application portfolio to include processes based on SOA.“Enterprise applications are all about data, and service-oriented applications are no different. That is why data is one of the first things to be service-enabled in most Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs),” he said.

By 2008, the research firm predicts that the drive to support software development will be the primary adoption driver for SOA.

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