Links for 2012-06-23

  • Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today • The Register Forums : Some amazing insider-info posts on the Reg forum for the gigantic RBS/NatWest/Ulster Bank multi-day outage. Fingers pointing at their outsourcing/downsizing practices — in a word, they’ve sacked the experienced staff, replaced them with noobs thousands of miles away, and not paid down any technical debt on the legacy code they’re maintaining. Classic legacy IT fail. “I worked for RBS during and after the merger with Natwest, I left their Global Financial Markets Department in 2004 after a 5 year stint. They had already moved some IT functions to India at that point and have continued to do so year on year since. The numbers some people are quoting 1600/800 are possibly the more recent figures, the total is way way beyond this. The comments on documentation are comical, as if a document is the thing you turn to at a time of crisis. The fact is, when you work closely with systems and the business users, you understand not only the quirks of the systems, but the risks and consequences of failure. You work with those users on the work around solutions that will get the banking day complete. They haven’t just outsourced the IT staff, but the very experienced and valuable back office / operations staff that would work with IT staff to solve the serious issues. I beleive these guys are mostly posted out in Singapore, who probably have never met the IT staff in India. The unseen cost of outsourcing is a compounding loss of shared experience and commitment, which becomes accutely apparent when the sh!t hits the … cash machines The chaps I trained out in India were nice enough, but they simply lacked the knowledge and experience of Finacial Markets trading, trade and settlement processing, Swift messaging blah blah and the risks involved. I’ll be drinking with a bunch of ex RBS/Natwesties soon enough, where we’ll all be saying….. “WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!” Another poster says: “I understand that your description of the RBS Mainframe based batch update process is fairly accurate. The source of the problem was a software update to Batch scheduling suite CA7. The upgrade when so well that now there is no schedule to run all of those thousands of batch jobs to receive and make BACS payments, update balance, schedule printouts, etc. I am sure the problem with the CA7 upgrade and the unfortunate misplacing of the Batch schedule has absolutely nothing to do the with the last UK based technicians leaving recently. The guys in India of course are perfectly able to cope and fix their mistake. I’m sure they understand how the thousands of jobs in the schedule need to ordered to make sure there is data corruption or loss. After all the problem happened on Tuesday and it’s only Friday. I wonder how many ex-RBS staff have received very lucrative short term contracts in the last few days……”
    (tags: natwest it rbs the-register outsourcing fail organisations ulster-bank ulster-blank)

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