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“Improving Application support efficiency in Core Banking”

Core Banking is a rapid innovation in Banking Technology and it has become the backbone for every business transaction done through several delivery channels. Core Banking Application works under a multi-tiered architecture covering database, application and web layers beside net working layer to enable the user to access the application.

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Application Layer of Core Banking platform needs support resources having the following skills, while technical resources are sufficient for providing support services for other layers:

a) Functional Knowledge in multiple Banking Domains like Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Securities, Government Business and Payment Systems.

b) Knowledge and experience in handling different menus & options of the specified Core Banking Solution .

c) Technical Knowledge in Data Manipulation Language(SQL) and Database programming Language like PL/SQL.

Several companies have ventured into providing application support services for Core Banking solution with the assistance of the software developers. As this segment of IT Services is gaining momentum day by day, providing efficient service support with quality is becoming a real challenge for the vendors.

Issues facing Core Banking Application Support Services:

More often than not, application support teams find it hard to resolve the issues in time when the bank opts for version upgrade or new releases/enhancements. Ramping up the team size within short notice is another difficulty faced by the support providers.

The reasons could be many and this blog attempts to share the random thoughts on some of the causes for the situation and to suggest remedial measures to improve the efficiency of the service.

While the performance of the Application Support Team is measured based on the Service Level Agreement, which takes care of reactive actions generally, emphasis on proactive support is relegated to lower priority.

Needless to say that proactive monitoring of the application for possible breakdowns, prevention of recurring issues through root cause analysis, proper maintenance parameters & configurations through a check-list during BOD activities (Beginning of Day) and confirming the resolution of the issue by getting the end user feedback would go a long way in improving the efficiency of the solution.

The second reason is frequent bug rectification which shows the poor quality of the solution. One of the main reasons for this could be the pressure on banks and CBS solution providers to release patches without subjecting them to rigorous tests. This needs to be addressed by the Software Developers after making a thorough testing to prevent creep-ins.

Third reason could be that the application developer does not provide adequate technical documentation on the solution/upgrades/enhancements, which causes delay in analyzing the issue and providing the needed solution in time.

While resolving the issues, the application support engineers keep the knowledge in their minds and they do not record/document the details of the analysis made and solution offered in the Knowledge Data Base, which results in reinventing the wheel by others for recurring issues. Team collaboration is need of the hour for the efficiency improvement of App Support area. Team leader could be assigned with the task of monitoring whether the issues were recorded and solutions offered were documented.

Suggestion for improvement

Application developer should provide detailed technical documentation with details of fields and flags that are updated in the tables while committing the transactions. This will help the application support team in the analysis of the issue faced by the users.

Core banking software vendors should enable their business partners through structured training & handholding support in handling different modules, menus and options of the software. They can also share with the app-support team, issues faced by them during migration/hand-holding.

The application support team should record all the details of the analysis made for the issues in the Knowledge Base and the knowledge should be disseminated among the team members periodically by way of FAQs/Sessions/training.

The Application support team leader has to participate in the review meetings with the Bank and the Software Developer and brief them on the frequent issues, share ageing reports, root cause analysis reports and the proactive measures taken to prevent future occurrence of such issues and seek their guidance and support to improve efficiency. There could also be frequent interactions between cross-functional teams, intra and inter-bank, especially when the solution provider is same.

R Rajendran,
Consultant Banking

1 Comment

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