The Nationwide Building Society is speeding its move towards e-commerce with the use of an innovative software tool.
The tool, from Mycroft Systems, allows the building society to accurately simulate testing environments, radically reducing development times of e-commerce applications, according to Terry Gough, technology consultant with Nationwide.
"When moving into a new area in developing complex software, if you have a test tool that runs like this then development is easier and quicker," he said.
This can help in getting e-commerce products on the market ahead of the competition, he said.
Run on an NT server, the Mycroft tool sits between the host application - in Nationwide's case a Tandem server running Base24 authentication software - and the automated teller machine (ATM) network. Planned changes to the host or the client system can be simulated by Mycroft, which allows technical staff to test the effects without writing new software code.
"What we've done with the product is impressive," said Gough. "I've not seen another tool that does everything this does, and with an easy to use graphical interface."
Now that the Y2K embargo on software change is lifted, Nationwide plans to simulate changes to its cash machine network protocol using Mycroft.
"The ATM can run the old protocol, but to the host it looks like it's running the new one," Gough said. "Mycroft does the conversion for you. You can test the host without having to worry about hardware up at the other end."
Another useful application of the tool is testing the effect of euro conversions on complex financial transactions, Gough said.