LAS VEGAS, -- Today at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo, in an effort to help banks rapidly achieve interoperability among business applications, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced a new initiative that provides prescriptive architecture guidance, tools and reference implementations aimed at achieving consistency in banking integration.
The Microsoft(R) Banking Integration Factory initiative utilizes the latest advances in the Microsoft platform, Microsoft .NET and technology
solutions from ARGO Data Resource Corp., Corillian Corp., Getronics, Harland Financial Solutions Inc., and Jack Henry & Associates Inc. Other
industry partners supporting the initiative include AdviceAmerica Inc., Fair Isaac Corp., Fiserv Inc. and Portrait Software PLC. The initiative
seeks to integrate Microsoft and partner technologies at the services level and introduce interoperability via composite line-of-business applications.
"Banks have dedicated massive efforts toward resolving integration issues between new business applications and their legacy software," said Greg Haislip, managing director for the banking industry in the U.S. Financial Services Group at Microsoft. "The new Banking Integration Factory helps solve this problem by providing a standard approach adopted by multiple vendors, to lead to more rapid implementation."
The Banking Integration Factory will establish a set of guidelines and tools to enable consistency in service implementations. The initiative will not develop new message standards for the banking industry, but rather will establish commonality between vendors and the services they expose. This includes creating consistency in interfaces, complying with Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) profiles to increase interoperability, and cross-cutting aspects such as security, confidentiality, configuration, exceptions and logging -- all in an effort to make integration much easier.
In addition, the Banking Integration Factory presents Microsoft's vision for building composite banking applications that provide banks with
an unprecedented level of choice in creating user interfaces that can be accessed via a Web browser; Windows(R)-based desktop, notebook or Tablet PCs; mobile devices; or the Microsoft Office system. The end result will bring together a uniform environment for cross-channel application integration and help provide better experiences for employees, customers and others across five core bank business processes:
* Branch tellers will be able to provide customers with service quickly, efficiently and accurately, accepting deposits and cashing checks, issuing nontraditional financial instruments, and answering customers' account inquiries.
* Branch sellers will be able to provide customers with multiple sales and service offerings -- such as opening new accounts, managing forms, completing loan applications, offering account products and services, and sharing product information -- through immediate access to customer information.
* Call center workers will be able to effectively interact with customers through indirect or self-service channels, processing new accounts, providing assisted and self-service transactions, resolving customer service requests, and building customer relationships.
* Online banking will enable remote customer self-service via the Internet, processing transactions, electronic bill presentment and payments, electronic statements, money transfers and account inquiries.
* ATMs will enable customer self-service, offering access to account information, processing self-service transactions, printing statements and offering product sales.
"The movement to service-oriented architectures will inevitably lead to a complex array of business components in the bank's back offices," said Jerry Silva, research director for Delivery Channels and Retail Banking at TowerGroup. "So we must make plans to move toward an integration model at the front office that makes delivery of those components fast, easy and flexible."
Banks will benefit from the Banking Integration Factory by having a flexible architecture that allows them to integrate their existing infrastructures with new applications, using consistent Web services and application composition to help increase implementation speed and value. In addition, banks' custom-developed applications will be able to be quickly integrated with software acquired from vendors.
Microsoft today also unveiled a white paper outlining the Banking Integration Factory, which can be downloaded from http://msdn.microsoft.com/architecture/industry/finservs/banking. The paper, titled "Unified Communications and Collaboration for the Banking Industry," describes the Banking Integration Factory's reference architecture and its vision for composite banking applications with
partner-driven scenarios addressing the five key areas.