We are living in a cloud era, with new tools, programming languages, and technologies evolving at a much higher speed than even just 2 years ago. Workers need to refresh and resharpen skills on a regular basis. Financial institutions must embrace these changes and be prepared for the technological shifts and the innovative features needed to compete in the financial market.

New fintechs emerge every year with greater ideas and faster technologies. Initiatives like blockchain and real-time transaction settlements, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and the Internet of Things (IoT) place pressure on larger institutions to ensure they move at the same pace and direction. It is challenging for these larger FIs to stay agile in the payments world when they are hindered by legacy technologies and the traditional ways of managing them.

Keeping up with SWIFT

If you are already in the financial sector, you likely have heard of SWIFT, also known as The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services.

Today, as goods and services move more quickly and across greater distances, financial transactions need to move further and faster as well. SWIFT securely moves values around the world while meeting the high demands and standards for regulatory compliance. No other organization can address the scale, precision, pace and trust that SWIFT provides to its user community.

SWIFT continues to refresh and evolve its platform to ensure it remains modern, powerful, reliable and feature-rich. SWIFT regularly adds new innovative capabilities and functionalities, develops new forms of connectivity, eases service consumption, and ensures secure user access.

In addition, SWIFT constantly renews their product portfolio in response to the needs of their user community. They foster a culture of innovation to bring new offerings to market while preserving a no-risk approach to the maintenance and evolution of their mission-critical core.

The challenges for financial institutions to keep up with SWIFT are heavy and demanding, but they are also crucial for survival. FIs must move quickly to adopt all of SWIFT’s initiatives and embrace new changes with agility. What does this mean for our FIs?

Keeping up takes a heavy investment on the FI’s core platforms, infrastructure, and resources, which requires continuous learning and certification, operations excellence, improved skills to support new platforms, and tighter SLAs to guarantee a reliable service for their clients.

Client story: a turnkey solution from the IBM Payments Center

One institution that met these challenges is an essential FI in the Canadian economic system. This FI once had a heavy on-premises SWIFT infrastructure with unsupported machines and operating systems and few skills to support application operations. In addition, there were SWIFT’s requirements to adopt new standards, to keep up with the SWIFT roadmap, ISO 20022 migration, and the frequent updates and patching to secure a sensitive cross-border payments platform. The FI also faced the increasing cost of support and operations needed for the latest infrastructure upgrades.

The IBM Service Bureau for SWIFT from the IBM Payments Center (IPC) was a turnkey solution to address this client’s challenge. Over the span of a year, the IPC built a dedicated SWIFT infrastructure into IBM’s private cloud, operated entirely by IBM and supported by SWIFT certified experts. No other SWIFT service bureau could offer a solution at this scale.

The solution consisted of deploying a fully redundant SWIFT infrastructure, with mission-critical components: SWIFT’s Alliance Connect Gold was deployed by IBM in multiple sites, and dual Alliance Access and Web platform instances were deployed in each site; hot standby cross-connect SWIFT instances were established; and fully redundant Backoffice connectors were implemented, with the entire setup guaranteeing a 99.99% uptime.

The complete Customer Security Program (CSP), as prescribed by SWIFT, was an integral part of the solution. As a result, the client didn’t have to implement all the compliance controls themselves. Moreover, patches, new releases, and SWIFT standards deployments were fully managed by the IBM SWIFT team. All this was crowned with 24/7 fully managed operation and support. The CSP provided real value to the FI by reducing or eliminating many of the costly challenges they faced.

Knowing their core application is being handled with care, the client has regained peace of mind and is able to now focus more on its core business.

At the end of the day, FIs must choose their battles, and a technology-focused battle, with ever-increasing costs, demands and skills, isn’t easy. The IBM Payments Center’s deep experience in technologies and payments helps FIs across the world win at every scale.

The post How to win your SWIFT challenge appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

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