HSBC has cut the average time it takes to analyse the effect of making changes to its legacy software applications from seven months to seven weeks after deploying software to automatically track data dependencies between applications.
As well as saving time, the application portfolio management software from Micro Focus helps the bank to assess the risks involved in offshoring maintenance work on its 250 mainframe applications.
Dave Dawber, senior systems manager at HSBC, said there was a need for older IT applications to be adapted. However, as development work on legacy applications had often not been well documented, the process of making changes was slow and complex.
"Because we did not know precisely which systems used which applications, we were frightened to make changes without knowing the side effects," he said.
Dawber said manual information gathering had typically taken up to seven months, but the Micro Focus tool quickly gave the bank access to detailed audit information.
"Without this picture, HSBC could not easily decide which applications were worth offshoring, whether they could be managed properly once offshored, or the side effects of one application being offshored on another," said Dawber.
He said gaining a more transparent dashboard view of IT applications was also helping the bank to transfer offshore the knowledge required to manage applications.
Since deploying Micro Focus' Enterprise View software, HSBC has moved the maintenance operations of half of its legacy applications to India, bringing it closer to a targeted annual reduction in IT costs of 10%.
The ability to carry out audits more quickly has also freed more than 30 development staff in the UK to work on new projects.
Phil Murphy, principal analyst at Forrester, said HSBC's approach was more efficient than most firms, which use the same staff for new development and maintenance.
"In these organisations, development staff must set aside new project work to fix maintenance issues as problems arise. Switching between tasks takes time and effort and breaks project momentum," he said.