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BIAN expands with first Middle Eastern member: Commercial Bank of Qatar

The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN), which attempts to define common technology standards and services to advance interoperability, has welcomed three new members to its community, including its first Middle Eastern bank, the Commercial Bank of Qatar. The Indian-based Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and Dutch insurance company Achmea have also joined.

BIAN’s membership includes technology firms, banks and others, including big players such as Microsoft, IBM, Deutsche Bank and UBS, all of whom are engaged in trying to make the long-hoped for service orientated architecture (SOA) a reality at financial institutions (FIs) around the world by cooperating on common protocols.

The IDRBT of India is aiming to use BIAN’s framework to establish best practice guidelines across all Indian banks, while the Commercial Bank of Qatar is planning to use the BIAN reference models to streamline its congested IT landscape, which has experienced rapid growth, and build a stable backdrop for future growth in the region.

Together, IDRBT, Achmea and the Commercial Bank of Qatar will work to build and promote a common enterprise architecture SOA-like IT framework with BIAN’s 42 existing members. The framework is intended to resolve universal banking interoperability issues.

Commenting on the new members, Hans Tesselaar, executive director at BIAN and a bobsguide blogger (aka contributing editor), said: “It is great to add three more members to our growing global network. This member signing is particularly significant for BIAN, as not only are we adding IDRBT from India and Achmea from Europe, but also our first Middle Eastern member - The Commercial Bank of Qatar.

“The financial industry is changing at a rapid pace internationally,” he continued. “It is therefore important that BIAN works with global banks, banking software vendors and service providers to reduce IT infrastructure complexity - enabling financial institutions to adapt to this changing international landscape, respond more quickly to threats and opportunities and provide better services at lower costs.”

According to one of the new joiners, Harry Margaritis, head of IT enterprise architecture, at the Commercial Bank of Qatar, the attraction of BIAN is that it helps the journey towards a technology landscape where information can be independently provided and composed, in an agile yet sustainable manner. “We believe that the standardisation promoted by BIAN can drive the bank into delivering ground-breaking products and services,” he said, “and we are excited to be the first bank in the Middle East to join this organisation.”

For Ton van der Linden, chief information officer (CIO) at the Achmea insurers his firm joined BIAN because it believes in the adoption of market standards for enterprise architecture in the financial industry. “We also believe in partnerships and co-development of enterprise architecture and aim to achieve advantages in integration, flexibility, efficiency and reduction of risk. This will increase the productivity of IT, which is necessary for the financial industry to deliver customer value in the digital era.”

• For further stimulating technology discussions, viewpoints and blogs please visit our new bobsguide blogger (aka contributing editor) landing page, where you can view a selection of blogs about mobile financial services (MFS), information security and capital markets from the Mobey Forum, ISACA and the FIX Trading Community respectively, alongside blogs from the chief information officer (CIO) at Barclays. Other BG Bloggers on transactional banking and a range of other topics can be viewed here.

By Neil Ainger