Royal Bank of Scotland's $1.7bn sale of 318 branches to Santander has gone titsup. The Spanish bank pulled out, largely "because of problems over integrating the two banks' IT systems", The BBC reports. The Telegraph has a teeny bit more detail, reporting a "series of IT problems that have resulted from a lack of compatibility …
It's Ulster Bank, not Bank Of Ulster... FFS.
Re: Dear Reg,
Calm down, dear.
Re: Dear Reg,
And while your at it can you remove the acronym RBS and give it its full title, as well as stating National Westminster bank, trading as NatWest.
Oh, on second thoughts don't bother. I've just remembered that I have a life.
I know why
Little-endian meet big-endian
santanders fault - it has to be
because Santander are the shittest bank I have ever had to deal with - long queues in branches where only one person seems to work and the worst IT systems ever e.g. in order to change or add a DD, you are sent a OTP to your mobile phone - no one in Santander seems to know or care that some people either a) don't have a mobile phone or b) have no reception in the area in which they live.
I have reached the conclusion that their IT systems have been designed by graduates (the worst kind of sin any kind of company can indulge in) and that I will be leaving Santander as soon as possible.
Are they really...
...saying that an accountant who could understand one bank's accounts couldn't possibly understand the other's? If not, then there is no REAL incompatibility.
"more modern system" vs "better system".
Someone seems to have confused "more modern system" with "better system". It's a common problem amongst the young, naive, and/or ill-informed.
Anybody who's been around for a while, anyone with open eyes, will tell you there's no inherent correlation.
As a customer of Santander by inheritance I know from all too bitter experience over many years that Santander's "more modern" processes and systems are a lot less fit for purpose than those of the National+Provincial Building Society.
The only reason I'm still a Santander customer is that dealing with them risks a heart attack or nervous breakdown, and dealing with them on a sustained basis (long enough to get out) is inconceivable.
Don't take my word for it, look at any survey of customer happiness for the banking industry. Top two are typically First Direct and CoOp. Holding up the bottom is typically Santander. It's that way for a reason.
In passing wrt BAe/EADS: didn't BAe not that long ago sell off its interests in Airbus? Would the current owner be EADS? Didn't BAe not that long ago sell off its interests in satellites (eg Stevenage?) Would the current owner be EADS?
Who in BAe has heard of the expression "constancy of purpose"? Which of them knows what it means, and acts accordingly? Answers on a blank postcard please.
Re: "more modern system" vs "better system".
"In passing wrt BAe/EADS: didn't BAe not that long ago sell off its interests in Airbus? Would the current owner be EADS? Didn't BAe not that long ago sell off its interests in satellites (eg Stevenage?) Would the current owner be EADS?
Who in BAe has heard of the expression "constancy of purpose"? Which of them knows what it means, and acts accordingly? Answers on a blank postcard please."
they did. It seem all those French and Germans wandering around the place made them look too "European" for the liking of the DoD.
BAe seemed to embrace becoming a DoD con-tractor with the enthusiasm of a crack addicted teenage runaway taking up prostitution.
Smiling because the merger did not take place and I think EADS had a lucky escape.
Last june ?
Am I the only one who thinks this is the aftermath of last summers IT failure at RBS ?
Santander has spendthe last few months trying to be convinced
(or RBS has spent the last few months trying to convince)
that this would never happen again, and those people responsible for firing the people responsible had also been fired.
And they just failed ...
The real problem now is that chances of anyone willing to buy the RBS bits have dropped significantly, as noone would want to touch an IT system that's so complex that it caused the previous deal to backfire.
I'm not buying it
Migrating systems is well documented and tested. The requirements from operations are served with scalability and change control, but that's about it.
I'm not saying it is easy in every case, but from my experience the challenges always come either from Service Operations, i.e. you want to make sure the impact to running the bank remains close to zero and/or there is an overzealous manager of some strategic division and/or there are incapable program and project managers who are just around because they know the senior manager or show up with a widely exposed cleavage and/or a subcontracting/outsourcing company made widely exaggerated promises which they cannot fulfill.
System migrations and integrations have been done before at numerous banks and companies, therefore there must have been other reasons at play here.
Re: Windows must have been involved.
Windows must have been involved - in one of the largest banks in the world, really?
If you think that Windows was the problem here, you obviously know nothing about enterprise IT and enterprise integration. Windows was involved, RBS have thousands upon thousands of Windows server, which integrate absolutely fine with the thousands of UNIX servers, Linux servers and handful of other servers.
Re: Windows must have been involved.
One of the El Reg usual suspects rabid Linux zealots comments about how it's probably all Windows' fault, suggests that they wouldn't have had any problems with Linux, then removes his post after realising he's made an arse of himself.
Oh dear. RBS haven't been able to sell a part of their business they didn't want to sell in the first place because of "IT problems"? Colour me surprised.
An eveil marketeer writes...
On my assorted pitches for various IT stuff over the years to the banking industry I've learned something about banks internal IT systems.
They are rarely monocultures. Mainframes, minis and PC servers all turn up. HSBC out at Tankersly had IIRC 4 teams for their 4 main hardware platforms.
They build system on system, platform on platform. They are very reluctant to retire any software and any hardware it runs on (if it's not broke why fix it would seem to be a sign in big letters in every banking IT dept).
Cleaning up is never a priority. Never delete a data file for a system when there might be some function that will be run (one day) that (maybe) uses it. As for documentation, they've heard of that.
Sure it's all accountancy but the devils in the implementation, and there are a lot of implementations.
I think Vernor Vinge called the people who you need "Archeologist programmers" for a proper extract/translate/load job.
Any industry that has a high level of regulation specific to the country it operates in should be very wary of a solution where you cannot demand where the data is to be stored, at least to the country level. People may be happy to dump their personal files to the arse end of nowhere but billion pound business (which could be hit by £100m fines) would be very stupid to do so.
Anon as our reputation as a group is already in the toilet and I may have spoken to some of you in the past IRL. Worst of all I rather enjoy it.
These problems were known from day one, the RBS/NatWest accounts offered features to customers which Santander didn't have the ability to offer. The solution - as far as I can remember - was for RBS to effectively partition off the accounts which were to be run for Santander and run them as a separate brand, this is something which RBS' systems are capable of doing. The idea was that Santander would develop the required software and processes to implement the features which weren't available and move the data over. Until this was achieved RBS was to run Santander's new accounts.
I wonder how has this strategy possibly failed?
"Santander didn't have the ability to offer. "
So essentially you're saying Santander's is more of a "lowest common denominator" system?
No troll. Seeking clarity.
The banks need to get together and develop some standard, like IHE in the healthcare environment. Perhaps IBE [Integrating the banking environment] ?
They're over-thinking the problem! I.T. syndrome! Why not just ask all the RBS customers to withdraw all their cash; then walk round to a Santander and open an account? Alternately, people 'in the red' could be instructed to open a Santander account, then immediately withdraw some cash to settle and close their RBS? High quality plastic bags would be provided, for carrying the notes - plus free coffee and doughnuts as a 'thank you'? I will claim a consultancy fee if they belatedly decide to go with my idea.
just export it all on a nice office 2010 spreadsheet to the new system.
use the "merge my new bank" wizard
RE:P just export it all on a nice office 2010 spreadsheet
You SICK bastard!!!!!
If it were only that simple!
Actually, I think another poster had the better solution, close the old account and withdraw cash, walk over to the new office, and open a new account.
the irony ehh?
Computer says no!
Incompatible IT systems - More common that many would think ...
It has been known since at least the mid-90's that IT was a big factor in the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions.
Remember in 2004 when Santander originally bid for Abbey, there were concerns raised about whether Santander could transfer Abbey's IT's systems onto the Santander platform at a cost that wouldn't wipe out most of the forecasted efficiency savings arising from using a single common platform. Similar concerns plague practically all other large business deals and hence investigation of IT systems is a critical part of due diligence.
So Santander have looked at RBS's branch systems and decided that the costs of operating them within their IT operating model make the deal un-attractive. This doesn't mean that another organisation with a different IT operating model won't decide differently.