TSB IT team could get slaughtered in May

TSB’s board has appointed law firm Slaughter and May to investigate what went wrong in its disastrous core banking system migration, as the CEO points to middleware problems as the cause of the chaos for many customers.

The investigation report could make good reading with question marks over testing, IT governance and middleware already emerging.

Law firm Slaughter and May will investigate what went wrong when TSB migrated from the Lloyds Bank systems that hosted its customers’ accounts to its new in-house core banking platform.

Customers were unable to access accounts, some saw money disappear while money appeared in other customer accounts that did not belong to them. Customers are still reporting problems nearly two weeks after the migration began on April 21. Some have been on hold for hours while the contact centre deals with unprecedented numbers of customer calls.

TSB senior management including CEO Paul Pester, appeared before MPs at a Treasury select committee hearing. Watch a recording here.

Pester, who has given up a £1.6m bonus due to the migration problems, said at the hearing that the problems were related to the bank’s middleware. He said the engine (the core banking system), that runs the bank is working perfectly. He said since the migration the banks accounts are balanced “to the penny.” But the software that connects this with customers at the front end is experiencing problems.

But one banking IT professional told me: “That doesn’t explain all the different types of problems that have been happening. Looks like capacity, bandwidth, data conversion and probably a whole raft of bugs in the code… like how did people see the wrong accounts and why were balances wrong by millions of pounds. I don’t believe the core system is working as well as they think.”

TSB chairman Richard Meddings said IT governance will also come under Slaughter and May’s microscope. The right level of IT governance is critical. Moving accounts from legacy systems, unpicking all the interdependencies, and putting them in a news system gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Consider the amount of checking, double checking, and triple checking that goes on. In an age of software development which is more akin to building Lego blocks enforcing strict IT governance is tough.

Reports have emerged that TSBs testing was not up to scratch. A report on Software Testing News, citing two contractors working on TSB’s computer systems said that “rushed and inadequate testing and poor internal communication” is the reason for the problems.

In the Treasury committee one MP said sources within TSB had said that when testing software they could only have a result that was a ‘pass’ or ‘brilliant pass’, which TSB denied.

One source said: “That will end badly if it is true.”

Read more about the TSB IT migration disaster


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