New core financial IT needs to be tested

Banks' developers need to test new core IT applications systems

UK banks need new core systems, according to a study by SAP and Accenture, but thorough testing is needed to ensure banks do not implement new applications that replicate the problems of the old, said software tools provider Compuware.

The study found many UK banks are held back by overly complex and insufficiently flexible legacy systems that have high running costs and vulnerability to errors.

According to the study, bank employees spend nearly half their time on back-office processing tasks rather than dealing with customers.

Ian Clarke, director of enterprise solutions with Compuware, said banking systems are incredibly complex and must be mapped fully before new systems or applications can be implemented.

"Banks have thousands of programs, with millions of lines of Cobol code, and the new applications or functionality they are building needs to link into these programs. In most banks there is very little documentation for these legacy applications, and in the majority of cases those responsible for writing these programs have retired," he said.

"Without being completely sure of the impact new code will have, there is a huge risk of errors creeping into banking systems. Banks must document and map out the complexities of their legacy applications if they are to manage and reduce this risk. It is a time consuming process, but there are tools that can help ease the pain.”

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