Is the Demand for Core Banking Systems Outstripping Successful Implementation Capabilities?

10 January 2008

The full results of the IBS Sales League Table will be revealed at the Back Office Systems Conference on 28 February, but early indications suggest it will show an acceleration in decisions to replace core banking systems. ‘China and Russia are starting to show the pick-up that has been predicted for some time, with other countries such as Vietnam extremely active.’ says IBS founder and director, Martin Whybrow, ‘The continuing growth of Islamic banking also constitutes another source of strong demand.’

Beyond the raw market growth statistics, a couple of other trends are apparent. There are some parts of the world, including the Americas that traditionally looked no further than local suppliers. These markets are starting to open up, with banks tending to throw the net wider when seeking new systems. In addition, there is still an upward shift in the size and strategic nature of some of the decision making. ‘Some big banks made significant decisions last year,’ says Mr Whybrow.

While much of the focus of tier one and two banks has been on their international operations, there were signs in 2007 that they are becoming more serious about finally getting to grips with their domestic legacy. ‘There is a sense of urgency that wasn’t there a few years ago, with a realisation that competition is only going to increase and standing still or continuing to focus on squeezing yet more cost savings out of a creaking infrastructure is no longer a sustainable strategy.’ Core systems replacement is often an important aspect of today’s strategies, but there is also likely to be a wider enterprise wide transformation need, starting at the data and process model level and harnessing a service oriented architecture approach combined with some emerging components for areas such as workflow and business process management.

Martin Whybrow has, however, a word of caution about the current state of the market. ‘While selections are increasing in number and size, there are some danger signs in relation to delivery. Resources are becoming stretched within some leading vendors and the market as a whole. Some selections are still less than thorough, with project management sometimes leaving a lot to be desired. This all appears to be adding up to a worrying increase in the number of problematic or failed implementations.’

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