Open Banking 2D

Open Banking Implementation with ICEFLO

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What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a UK government led initiative, based on the principle of incumbent financial institutions sharing data with new service providers. Open Banking is designed to bring more competition and innovation to financial services and was set up by the Competition and Markets Authority on behalf of the Government.

Every provider that uses Open Banking to offer products and services must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or a European equivalent. These 3rd party apps depend on access to shared data to create solutions that customers value. At the moment, only the UK’s nine largest banks and building societies must make your data available through Open Banking. Other smaller banks and building societies can choose to offer Open Banking.

The top 9 banks and building societies are required to provide secure access to their core customer account information and payment data, enabling the creation of new products and services that could help customers. Meeting this requirement involves a series of technology implementations that the traditional banks are required to undertake.

The Problem

Traditional banks across the UK are being driven by regulators to implement Open Banking, enabling new Third Party Providers (TPPs) to build innovative finance solutions.

Enablement of Open Banking requires several technology cutovers or implementations. Each of these planned changes involve complexity and risk as these new interfaces demand orchestrated change to multiple components of the existing, multi-tier banking technology architectures.

Implementing Open Banking often spans organisations, with their different cultures, internal processes and modern change management software.  Bringing all this together requires very precise planning and execution to get it right. 

The Goal

  • To deliver a portfolio of Open Banking services
  • To meet the schedule set by the UK Regulator
  • To deliver these changes without disrupting existing Banking services
  • To build a collaborative, repeatable process for the safe delivery of future Open Banking initiatives

How to Implement Open Banking

Open Banking enables new providers to create innovative financial services products that provide value to their customers by leveraging customer and account information held by traditional banks. Traditional banks are required by regulators to enable access to their customer and account information from new Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) that are defined in the evolving Open Banking specifications. Traditional banks are responding to regulatory demands by implementing changes to make their technology solutions accessible by this emerging API-enabled world.

The typical Open Banking implementation will involve changes at several layers:

  • Deliver a series of infrastructure changes, including new components and additional capacity to existing infrastructure 
  • Implement as secure access layer to support multiple TPPs
  • Implement discrete security changes for connectivity between the Bank and individual TPPs e.g. firewall rules
  • Deliver changes to existing components of the core banking and payment solutions
  • Deliver changes to the Payment and Account information service providers
  • Incorporate associated changes to the services of TPPs (Third Party Providers)

In addition to the technical complexity of the changes, the culture, tooling and change processes of the various parties involved are very different.

Digital Engineering teams within the Banks and TPPs typically operate on an Agile, CI/CD DevOps basis. Traditional core banking teams operate on culturally different basis, with risk and change management discipline much more dominant factors. The team needed to find a way to work effectively together.

Early attempts to implement elements of Open Banking were characterised by lots of minor changes, delivered rapidly but without the necessary coherence, leading to inconsistent results and limited success. It was clear that a robust approach to every planned change was required to enable the repeatable, successful delivery of the programme of change that Open Banking represented. 

The Result

The adoption of ICEFLO provided a common planning, rehearsal  and change execution platform for the multi-disciplinary teams that were involved. All parties ultimately embraced the use of ICEFLO and the discipline, with some being more enthusiastic than others at the outset. The structure, rigour, control and confidence that ICEFLO delivers quickly became accepted as a much better way than earlier efforts.

Changes were planned in great detail, rehearsed and implemented effectively. Senior management were comfortable that risks were being managed and that the availability of the Bank's core services was being protected. Interestingly, there were three successfully executed backout, illustrating that ICEFLO helps deliver success even when things don't go to plan.

In the era of Operational Resilience, it's vital that Banks are able to deliver Planned Change is a safe and secure manner. By adopting ICEFLO, this Bank was able to meet the Open Banking deadlines while achieving the FCA's Operational Resilience goals.

Excellent collaboration between teams and TPPs
Growing confidence and increased change delivery
Common platform, process and vocabulary
A series of complex changes delivered, safely
“The success of our Open Banking programme involved a lot of moving parts - from different people, technologies and organisations. We couldn’t risk impacting our operations or customers. A key focus was therefore resilience and the use of ICEFLO allowed us to achieve this by delivering through a tried and tested route.

We could implement using a common cutover platform that allowed for a cohesive, controlled and disciplined process which both protected operational resilience and was easy to use for all parties.
Programme Manager, Open Banking, UK Bank

Programme Manager, Open Banking, UK Bank

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