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SAP and Microsoft Join Global Banks in a New Association to Help Banks Establish a Service-Oriented Architecture

SAP AG (NYSE: SAP), together with Microsoft, today announced a significant milestone in its mission to help banks establish a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for their business operations. SAP and Microsoft, along with other founding members, have created the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN). The goal of BIAN is to help banks ease the transition to an SOA by gathering together a community of industry leading players and global banks who will openly share domain and technical expertise to apply SOA principles and methodologies. In employing these principles, banks globally will be able to better respond to changing customer needs and reduce risk and cost of re-engineering legacy systems towards a more flexible operational environment.

Based on the foundation of the Industry Value Network (IVN) for Banks created by SAP, seventeen founding members have launched BIAN; AXON, Callataÿ & Wouters, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Postbank, Finanz IT, ifb group, ING, Microsoft, SAP, Standard Bank, Steria, SunGard, SWIFT, Syskoplan, Temenos and Zürcher Kantonalbank. The announcement was made at a signing ceremony, where members gathered for the official launch of the BIAN association.

While IT infrastructure is seen as a key component to a bank’s operations, outdated and incompatible legacy systems are increasingly becoming a hindrance in tightly linked, global financial markets. As an association, BIAN members will work within the industry to enable a non-disruptive, step-by-step evolution toward SOA. It will work to create a blueprint to help banks more flexibly use software to run core banking processes and achieve better interoperability among their IT systems allowing them to reduce risk and costs while improving overall operations. The open forum will offer a wide adoption of industry enterprise services and will globally enable banks to easily utilize the results of this collaborative effort.

A goal of BIAN is to define and encourage the development and implementation of standardized services, which will help banks in their daily operations by creating operational efficiencies and allowing them to focus on growth, time-to-market and the increasing demands from their customers. Financial institutions, software vendors and service providers, along with technology partners, are invited to join the association and play a collaborative role with other industry leaders in the definition, building and implementation of next-generation banking platforms.

“Being an active member of the Industry Value Network of Banks, Credit Suisse sees the creation of this association as significant milestone for not only ourselves, but for the industry as a whole,” said Claus Hagen, head of Integration Architecture, Credit Suisse. "The association will create an open environment of members that begins with an idea and takes it all the way through to execution.”

“Microsoft is pleased to play a lead role in helping define the roadmap for a more flexible approach across the banking industry,” said Koen Van den Brande, worldwide industry manager for core banking at Microsoft. “A common view of the functional scope of ‘banking enterprise services’ is needed to build a next generation of agile banking platforms. This SOA- based approach is designed to enable our largest customers to implement more flexible banking solutions based on a new generation of banking technologies from our partners.”

Banking Industry Architecture Network Creating and Building Enterprise Services for Banks

One of the key challenges for SOA in banking lies in the semantic definition of services that will provide a more flexible and modularized IT landscape. In 2005, SAP and its banking advisory board began the journey to address this challenge by creating the industry value network (IVN) group for Banks. The IVN banking group, comprised of 37 financial services institutions and software providers, was tasked with combining their own experiences with expertise from SAP to define important SOA services and create the blueprint for a successful transition from today’s tightly coupled IT landscape.

Recently formed as an association according to German law, BIAN has an open intellectual property policy, which helps ensure that the specifications that emerge from this collaboration can be implemented on a variety of technology platforms. BIAN members will work closely with:
• Standards bodies: BIAN will strive wherever possible to encourage the adoption of standards already in existence, while working collaboratively with standards bodies for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
• Global banks: BIAN will work with banks worldwide on the definition of enterprise services that maps closely to banks’ in-house target architectures for next-generation SOA and business process management-based banking platforms.
• Software vendors and systems integrators: BIAN will work with leading independent software vendors and systems integrators worldwide who want to build and implement enterprise services for banks to use with their in-house and software vendors’ platforms.

“Driving the IVN group for banks for the last two years has been a very exciting initiative, through which SAP has been able to work more closely with the banking industry to lead the efforts of standardizing enterprise services and creating a path where our customers can transition their business operations into a more flexible and agile IT environment,” said Thomas Balgheim, senior vice president, global banking line of business, SAP. “Through the success of the IVN, its members and SAP have turned their goal of forming a new industry association into a reality. This will enable members to create a truly open community.”

Microsoft and its partners have long collaborated to advance the business of banking and financial services. Together, they develop technologies designed to enable financial institutions across the global to run their IT systems and applications more effectively and efficiently, allowing staff to better leverage technology to drive business success. This is reflected in Microsoft’s approach with BIAN and via this history and acumen, Microsoft is happy to help shape the future for banking around the important work that BIAN will deliver. BIAN will utilize the existing value from the IVN group for banks which resulted from its collaboration between SAP and leading banks worldwide. Through the identification of customer pain points, critical services and a path to standardize the adoption of the service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework, BIAN will help to accelerate product development under one consistent business language.

The IVN group for banks had created an SOA taxonomy, developed a service landscape and identified the strategic and organizational building blocks that banks require for a successful transition to SOA. This successful collaboration has evolved into a global community comprised of 130 participants representing 37 financial services institutions and software providers.