The five 2008 award winners were selected by clearly demonstrating the advantage each solution provides its firm at a time when gaining an advantage in the financial sector has increasingly become dependent on developing innovative technology. The winning solutions exhibit advanced application of Microsoft technology to solve practical business problems, streamline efficiency, and increase productivity in banking, investment management and compliance functions within the firms.
The five winners are:
â¢ Chicago Mercantile Exchange for its Auditing and Compliance Application
After the 2007 merger of CME and The Chicago Board of Trade, the CME Group needed a faster, more streamlined way to conduct audits of companiesâ clearing transactions and share results with auditors using the 2007 Microsoft Office sysÂ¬tem interface. It created Castle, a smart client Office Business Application based on Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite and Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.5. Castle stores auditing information in central data repositories and on the auditorsâ desktops, using the Microsoft SQI Server 2005 technology. SQL Server Replication Services enables fast synchronization between databases when auditors are connected to the network, ensuring all parties can access all current data in the system. To handle the frequent moveÂ¬ment of information between the SQL Server Express Edition database and the Castle application, the developers used the new Language Integrated Query (LINQ) support in .NET Framework 3.5.
â¢ Bank Of America for its Global Underwriting Solution
After more than 10 years of mergers, consolidations, and process changes Bank of America required an innovative and scalable solution that would support the underwriting needs of multiple lines of business on an internationally distributed user base. The BofA Global Underwriting Solution is a 100 percent Microsoft solution that significantly improves and standardizes the underwriting process, adherence to regulatory compliance and operational competence while allowing for a high degree of customization. The system uses Visual Studio 2005 to develop a .NET Smart Client and Microsoft Office 2007 user interface based on the Smart Client Software Factory from Microsoft Patterns and Practices. The solution also leverages a distributed farm of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 databases, Microsoft Windows 2003 IIS servers, and Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) for data integration, storage and Web services.
â¢ Merrill Lynch for its Application Lifecycle Framework
Merrill Lynchâs Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) âProcess Frameworkâ takes full advantage of Microsoftâs latest tools (Visual Studio Team System and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server) increased the range of coverage and depth of integration â two key aspects for a successful ALM implementation. The âProcess Frameworkâ enables the firm to quickly leverage development and deployment of new financial products with streamlined efficiency and fewer resources. Using WIX 1.0.1, Merrill Lynch developed a new tool (WixGen) that seamlessly produces Windows Installers (MSIs) fully automatically for standard product-types. Using the functionality of Visual TFS, Merrill Lynch created a âuniversal build type,â with any product-buildout beginning from the same framework. The firm also integrated a tool called MetaDB that houses all the product profiler Metadata, and uses it for promoting products throughout the application lifecycle stages such as development, integration, quality assurance, and production.
â¢ Piraeus Bank for its International eBanking Platform
Piraeus Bank needed to implement an advanced multi-country, multi-channel eBanking platform hosted centrally in one location, in Athens, Greece. The bankâs Electronic Banking division developed a custom solution called Winbank International built on the Microsoftâs ALM Framework Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2008. It used TeamPlain Web Access as a Web interface for Microsoft Team Foundation Server that allows for the managing of work items, shared documents, reports and source control repositories. Piraeus chose Microsoft SQL Server 2005 as the database engine with Microsoftâs Office SharePoint Server 2007 as its server platform. The team also developed an innovative administration tool called International Admin that allows operators in each bank to securely register and administrate their electronic banking customers with maximum security, scalability and interoperability. The platform provides for a unified customer experience across borders with management in the hands of one IT team.
â¢ MAAKL MUTUAL Berhad for its Home Office Application
MAAKL MUTUAL Berhad developed MAAKL Home Office (MHO) to equip its investment professionals with the tools they need to continue providing its increasingly web and investment savvy client base asset allocation advice. The MHO also features a Client Account Management System (CAMS), a mobile office capability with features that include an asset rebalancing tool and unit trust investment reports, enabling advisors to manage and track their clientsâ investments anytime, anywhere. The MHO system leverages a range of Microsoft technologies, including aspects of the software firmâs 2008 technology suite. The main components are Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server (VSTS 2008/TFS), .NET Windows Mobile 6 and Vista. The transformative aspect for MAAKL is its switch to a software-plus-services (S+S) hybrid architecture environment that combines local in-house software with âcloudâ services, which fuses the architectural strengths of enterprise solutions, the Internet, desktop applications, and mobile devices.
âThis yearâs 2008 Developer Award winners truly demonstrate cutting edge innovation with the systems they developed to address issues that face many financial institution dealing with global exposure and the need to take advantage of economies of scale to execute their business seamlessly,â said Joe Viviani, publisher, Windows in Financial Services. âThat being said, there were several examples considered this year of firms ingeniously using the Microsoft technology platform to develop solutions for their business needs.â
âTodayâs financial services firms face a host of regulatory concerns, competitive pressures and technology challenges,â said Tracy Issel, general manager of Microsoftâs U.S. Financial Services Group. âThe winners of the 2008 Developer Awards overcame these barriers by demonstrating true innovation and a willingness to tackle real business problems â not implement technology for technologyâs sake â with their solutions built on Microsoftâs familiar, easy-to-use and widely supported platform.â