HBOS in multimillion-pound Windows XP roll out

Halifax Bank of Scotland is rolling out Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system across its banking group in a multimillion-pound...

Halifax Bank of Scotland is rolling out Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system across its banking group in a multimillion-pound project.

In one of the biggest XP implementations so far, HBOS Group, which includes Halifax Bank of Scotland, online bank Intelligent Finance and Clerical Medical, will install Windows XP on 70,000 desktops and 5,000 laptops.

The project will also involve the consolidation of thousands of servers at HBOS, which was formed in 2001 by the merger of Bank of Scotland and Halifax.

The upgrade to XP from Windows 2000 is being managed by the bank’s 2,000-strong technology group, which provides the operations and IT infrastructure across the bank, including desktops, automated teller machines and call centres.

The bank would not comment on the cost of the XP roll-out but Richard Edwards, research analyst at Butler Group, estimated that the project would cost tens of millions of pounds.

One of the main reasons for large organisations upgrading to Windows XP is the end of product support for older Microsoft operating systems, Edwards said.

"Extended support for NT4 runs out in June this year so there is an impetus to move to a supported platform," he said.

"NT4 is still used in all sorts of places and companies, especially where the company has tens of thousands of desktops."

Challenges of a large-scale XP roll-out include ensuring all standard and bespoke desktop applications are safely migrated and replacing older PCs that do not work with newer operating systems, Edwards said.

The HBOS XP roll-out takes place as the bank modernises its back-office systems. In 2002 HBOS terminated two outsourcing arrangements with IBM and Xansa to bring control of its IT back in-house.

HBOS is also committed to standardising its corporate banking system on Microsoft .net.

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