The overall winners in The Banker's Technology Awards 2008.


Winner: London Stock ExchangeProject:TradElect 

The European trading and execution venue landscape is undergoing a period of hyper-­competitiveness, in which the ability to demonstrate scalable, robust and low-latent technology is more important than ever. In response to these long-term challenges, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) has spent the past four years replacing its legacy trading system and building-out a new technology infrastructure.

Following its go live date in June 2007, the LSE has realised a number of firsts: in the initial month of production it has facilitated three of the top 10 busiest trading days in the history of the exchange, and it has processed more than one million trades in a day.

The LSE’s fundamental infrastructure overhaul, undertaken at all levels of the technology stack, represented the most complex and thorough technology project in the Wholesale & Capital Markets stream this year. Demonstrating proven results, the judges also felt that the LSE’s TradElect project fulfilled its business case for future growth, as well as providing immediate and longer-term operational savings.

“The London Stock Exchange is delighted to accept the Wholesale & Capital Markets Technology Project of the Year Award for TradElect, our new electronic trading system,” said Robin Paine, CTO at LSE. “TradElect sets new benchmarks in terms of system capacity and performance. It underlines the Exchange’s commitment to invest continuously to improve market efficiency and ensure that London markets are underscoring their leading global position.”

RETAIL TECHNOLOGY PROJECT OF THE YEAR Winner: State Bank of IndiaProject: Core Banking Project

Boasting the largest banking ­network in India, the State Bank of India (SBI) has uniquely challenging core banking requirements, making any overhaul of its core banking platforms a remarkable feat.

In conjunction with the bank’s technology provider and partner, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the bank undertook the single largest core banking implem­entation in the world. First envisaged in 2001, the project had no historical example for the bank to follow, confronting SBI with ­several difficulties that had to be resolved through elaborate and painstaking planning, ongoing customisation and continuous learning.

Under the project, the bank networked more than 10,000 branches on a new core banking platform bancs24 – provided by Financial Network Services, a subsidiary of IT services company Tata Consultancy – and to integrate the core banking platform with all delivery channels and strategic areas.

The judges were impressed by the scale and complexity of the project, which demanded perseverance and ingenuity every step of the way. “We are delighted to receive Retail Technology Project of the Year from The Banker. The award is an acknow­ledgement of the endeavours made by State Bank of India to inc­reasingly better our services to customers. The implementation of Core Banking Project is a major step in that direction,” said RP Sinha, deputy managing director, IT, at the State Bank of India.


Winner: TervelaProject: Messaging Legacy Overhaul

The problem of capacity management has become a huge irritation for the majority of major banks, particularly in the area of the front office. In particular, legacy messaging infrastructures are starting to buckle under the strain.

For one leading options marketmaker, the problem became fundamentally debilitating: despite adding more servers to overcome the problem of exploding data volumes, the bank continued to experience diminishing results. In fact, adding more hardware not only exacerbated operational issues, but also exhausted important data centre real estate. Furthermore, as message volumes increased, the bank’s legacy systems degraded performance or failed altogether.

The requirement to integrate a new messaging infrastructure with feed handlers, price injectors, algorithms, FIX engines, and other critical financial services applications prohibited the bank from simply replacing the messaging infrastructure for its options market making business. Instead, it turned to Tervela, a provider of next-generation messaging infrastructure. Working closely with the bank, Tervela implemented message switches in parallel with the bank’s legacy messaging infrastructure, initially channelling a subset of traffic to the Tervela TMX Messages Switches.

The Tervela Message Network, based on the Tervela TMX Message Switch, overcomes the challenges of market making by delivering a silicon-accelerated mes­sage transport.

Small in scale, Tervela’s project nonetheless struck the judges as brave, cutting-edge and an example to the rest of the banking industry. “Tervela is honored to be selected by The Banker in recognition of our project that delivered a high performance financial services infrastructure for one of the world’s most demanding, data-intensive firms,” says Bob Cramer, CEO at Tervela.


Winner: BarclaycardProject: Barclaycard OnePulse

In the UK, cash remains a stubbornly popular method of payment, with 14.8 billion cash transactions made every year, representing a total market value of £268bn ($521bn). Recognising a lucrative opening for a quick, convenient and secure alternative method of payment, Barclaycard set out to develop a new type of payment card that would be able to capture the low-value cash market.

Forming a cross-industry and exclusive partnership with Transport for London and its ­technology provider, Transys, Barclaycard decided to leverage the brand, infrastructure and functionality of London’s well-­established Oyster smartcard. The project – carried out by a mere 25 dedicated members of staff – involved the integration of the EMV Chip and PIN application with the Oyster application, while simultaneously upgrading the credit card functionality to ­‘cashless’ using Visa’s Global Contactless Specification. Mean­while, the team had to build a robust, scalable infrastructure across three organisations to enable a full service credit card proposition.

In addition to the strikingly small team involved, the judges were impressed by the successful collaboration with a local government body in order to create what is not only a new product, but also effectively a new channel.

Furthermore, the project’s goal to encourage new payment behaviour among customers, and in time create a new marketplace, struck the judges as ambitious and pioneering. With no precedents to fall back on, Barclaycard had to address each development problem with new thinking, pooling technical expertise from a range of corporate cultures. As such, the judges felt that not only did Barclaycard OnePulse fulfil the requirement of being highly innovative but it was also a brave proposition to pursue.


Winner: VeracodeProject: Application Security Assurance at Barclays

From data theft to hacking, the financial services industry remains a chief target of cyber-criminals worldwide. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important that IT is not only functional, innovative and scalable, but also robust and secure – particularly at the application layer, which has become a chief source of software vulnerabilities. For the banking industry, which remains heavily reliant on outsourced software development, ensuring the integrity of its applications is an arduous, people-intensive process.

Boston-based security provider Veracode has developed an on-demand application security service that addresses these issues head on. SecurityReview is the only subscription-based application security service able to security-test the code that underpins applications, without requiring the client to expose any of its intellectual property in the form of source code.

During the past year, Veracode has worked on a major project with Barclays retail and commercial bank, whose long-term aim is to implement a security best practice approach for any new application purchases, as well as to establish security guidelines for existing relationships. The bank is now rolling out Veracode’s service to some 20 third-party providers.

The judges were impressed with the unique, globally deployable and convenient nature of SecurityReview, which allows clients to automate large swathes of a process that has historically proved highly people-intensive. Matt Moynahan, CEO of Veracode said: “We are deeply honoured to receive this award from The Banker which highlights the importance of effective application security testing for financial institutions.”


Winner: Banco Real, ABN AMROProject: Green IT in Banco Real 

During the past 18 months, the IT industry’s voracious consumption of technology has become a matter of some debate. In a recent report, for example, environ­mental charity Global Action Plan (GAP) estimated that the IT industry – a major consumer of electricity – accounts for about 3% to 4% of global carbon emissions. For the banking industry, perm­eated as it is at all levels by technology, IT is becoming an increasing focus of both the finance and CSR departments, both of which are eager to drive down costs, locate efficiencies, reduce consumption and shrink the bank’s carbon footprint.

Banco Real, ABN AMRO, however, is one of the few organisations able to demonstrate tangible results from its wide-ranging green IT programme, which has focused on two key areas of the IT lifecycle – operation and disposal. The bank went about shrinking its IT footprint through the use of Blade PCs on its trading floor, virtualisation at the server level, process and applications optimisation, and the re-use and recycling of electronic waste.

During 2007, the bank was able to eliminate 10% of its servers, and anticipates future consolidation at a rate of four to one; reduce the amount of electricity consumed at the IT trading level by an impressive 62%; and cut the amount of electricity consumed through air-conditioning by half. Banco Real also recycled 42 tonnes of batteries in 2007. In total, the bank estimates costs savings of $655,000 over four years.

“Banco Real, ABN AMRO emphasises the concept of sustainability in its mission, and exercises this concept in its daily business. Being sustainable for us means being profitable, taking into account all stakeholders,” said Mylene Melly, vice-president of IT innovation at Banco Real, ABN AMRO. “This award is a pleasing recognition of our efforts.”


Winner: BankinterProject: VideoCall

Hype and failure are no strangers to the world of IT. In an industry packed with exciting new propositions, it is often too easy to lose sight of the real purpose of a technology project or product: to bring business benefits effectively and efficiently. Bankinter fulfilled this criteria.

Bankinter is a multichannel Spanish bank with a strong internet offering through which more than 55% of all customer transactions are performed. In order to enrich the value of its online proposition and create a new user experience that would complement the act of web browsing, Bankinter launched VideoCall, a face-to-face human advice service and online support tool, based on Voice over IP (VoIP).

The Spanish bank leveraged its pre-existing infrastructure, integrating VideoCall not only with its established call centres and the telephone banking channel, but also with the bank’s online banking offering, mobile banking platform, branches and the bank’s CRM system.

Using the multi-media tool, the bank is able to offer traditional CRM services on a remote, low-cost, fee-free basis, while written information can also be exchanged through file sharing. Initial installation for the customer takes only one minute. Bankinter has found that the duration of a VideoCall is similar to that of a traditional inbound call, and is far more efficient than any outbound call.

The new channel was built-out and integrated in just six months, with a dedicated in-house team of six people. The bank went live on time, enjoying a 150% growth on its selling success rate in just the first three months. The judges felt this project demonstrated clear success. It was also especially pleasing to see a successful and effective project that also offered something innovative and new.


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