At the end of 2013 Artezio completed a project that aimed to audit integration in one of the Eastern European banks.
Being a versatile financial organization (i.е. implementing most types of financial operations, both for individuals and legal entities) with an extensive branch network and that has been more than 20 years on the market, the Bank has been gradually building its IT infrastructure. However, it has not always had an opportunity to replace the outdated systems and approaches to software integration.
As a result, the IT infrastructure has become highly diverse in terms of organizing cross-system interoperability. In particular, some integration tasks were solved via the file exchange while the others were dealt with by using web-services and applying JMS/MQ queues. The integration solutions with commercial and free ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) and BPM (Business Process Management) platforms were also implemented.
A variety of integration approaches was associated with the strategy of using the best products from the best vendors. The strategy itself was a good one, but if integration tasks are entrusted to vendors, the number of which is constantly growing, there arises a wide variety of technologies and architecture approaches for solving homogeneous tasks.
As a result, the Bank top management decided to hire professional consultants to perform an audit of the existing architecture and prepare the vision of the target integration architecture.
Artezio assigned a team of two competent developers with many years of industry experience to implement integration solutions for banks and other organizations. The team was comprised of a certified architect (IBM Architectural Design of SOA Solutions) and a project manager (PMBOK).
We will not bother the reader with the organizational tasks that we had to solve on the project. We will just mention that building up the relations with the business and the Bank IT staff was not easy, as we had to take into consideration different understanding of the tasks, different opinions on one and the same question .
First of all, we chose the standards and methods of audit implementation . The technical standard OSIMM (The Open Group Service Integration Maturity Model, Version 2) was chosen to assess the integration maturity level. The Zachman framework (the approach that allows defining the metrics of the comprehensive representation of the IT system and characterizing it in different fields) was used to assess the full system description and cross-system interoperability.
Information gathering was not an easy task as not all the areas of the consultants` interest were documented. Moreover, some documents were outdated.
The process of information gathering involved the following operations:
The collected information was systematized, and a general IT infrastructure diagram was created. It included all the existing information systems, with the data flow app that the systems exchanged with.
Besides, a thorough analysis of the data flows was conducted. Each of them was analyzed in terms of such elements as a business process, source and recipient systems, format and protocols of data exchange, load factor, range of problems, etc.
Based on the collected data flow register and applying the OSIMM standard, the analysis of the maturity level for each separate flow was performed, as well as a summary analysis of the maturity level for integrated solutions and integrated IT infrastructure as a whole.
Also, the analysis of the complete description of integrated solutions based on the Zachman framework was carried out.
And then a detailed analysis of the key integration decisions was performed and recommendations on the change of the program code and configuration of the system software were prepared.
The results of the analysis provided the basis for the vision of the target integration architecture. While developing the vision, the consultants aimed to unify the applied technologies and reduce their quantity..
At the same time, it was recommended to preserve the existing architecture for a cross-system interoperability, as their transfer to a new architecture required unreasonably large investments without any essential effect.
The most important result for the Bank has become understanding the existing IT infrastructure and the opportunity to implement IT projects based on the “TO-BE” vision.
The assessment of the maturity level allowed the team to not only understand the current level, but also to define the next level to strive for. It is important since the forming of SOA (Servce Oriented Architecture) will take place graduallн. Otherwise, we will have to solve typical tasks of “data synchronization” class by means of BPM tools.