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IBM early findings on disastrous TSB core banking system migration released

Report released by Treasury Committee criticises lack of rigour in preparation for core banking system migration, but TSB says report’s content is out of date

TSB was not prepared for its core banking platform migration because of inadequate testing, according to a report by IBM after it was brought in to help the bank fix the problem.

The migration, carried out in April, turned into a disaster and Parliament’s Treasury Committee has released IBM’s early report on the incident.

TSB customers experienced major IT problems when the bank botched the migration of millions of accounts to a new core banking platform. Customers were locked out of their accounts, money seemed to disappear for some, and others were even able to view other customers’ accounts.

IBM said in its report: “[We have] not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness.”

The tech supplier compared the project to a similar one it had worked on in the past, describing the rigour it would expect in such a project.

“In a similar situation when IBM partnered with a financial organisation to migrate to new a core banking platform, multiple trial migrations were conducted, rolled back and then remediated prior to launch,” it said. “The production launch was done over a longer period, initially open to programme members only, then staff, then targeted customer groups, before full launch to new customers and subsequent migration.”

But TSB played down the report’s findings. A spokesperson said: “The IBM document contained a preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses based on observations to date, that were produced after only three days of engagement with TSB, almost eight weeks ago.  

Read more about the TSB IT migration disaster

“The content is therefore now very much out of date. The hypotheses were not final, nor were they a validated view of what went wrong or of the actions that have subsequently been taken. Without this context, this document could be misinterpreted to the detriment of TSB’s customers.”

The IBM report also found that most of the problems related to custom and package applications, middleware services and the network, rather than the underlying infrastructure.

Read more on IT for financial services

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