Will be interesting to see how this goes
Whether it's a good move or a frying pan / fire scenario.
Some expensive TSB IT staff redundancies back in the day when you look at whats happened recently and factor in the costs
TSB parent, Spain's Banco Sabadell, has signed a €1bn group deal with IBM to build and run its entire banking infrastructure via a private cloud among a raft of other services – the outage-hit UK arm has told The Register. The decade-long agreement will provide a much needed shot in the arm for Big Blue's hard pressed Global …
Whether it's a good move or a frying pan / fire scenario.
Whether it is good or bad for the customers remains to be seen, but it is an unalloyed blessing for the bank's management since there is now someone else to shoulder the blame if anything goes wrong.
Swoop in to save the day, and carry off a billion-dollar contract. Who can complain about that ? Not TSB, who is obviously incapable of managing its business any more, so is showering Big Blue with moolah so it can continue fleecing its customers. Not the IBM salespeople, who can rightly revel in the insane bonuses this contract will bring them. And not the board at IBM, who can finally count on a nice chunk of revenue for a change.
No, I think the only ones who could complain are the customers, who witnessed hundreds of millions pissed away in the Mother Of All Botched Upgrades, and are now witnessing a cool billion being skimmed of their money's interest.
Ah, what sacrifices they endure to continue having access to their money . . .
I assume you meant "not employ anyone in the UK".
Outsourcing it to India, in past experience, has been the bigger problem.
You have to remember, outsourcing is just risk management. Most PHBs *know* they are going to get a shittier service, but they have someone else to blame, and they are waging on getting service credits back to lessen the cost. Those KPIs and SLAs.... not so much for how well things are going, more how bad things are going and how much can can be clawed back for a shitty service.
As usual, the end user (or customer) is the one who suffers.
IBM can have as many offices in India as it likes - if those offices don't have people to fill roles that are being "outsourced/offshored/whatever you wish to call it" does the terminology matter?
I've been through the joy of moving to IBM GTS, handing over everything to a project manager 2-3 times because "they haven't employed any one yet" and after leaving/being made redundant IBM are unable to find the handover documentation.
Even when a colleague physically hands over documentation to IBM management, it is still not considered a service that IBM will take responsibility for as it is not marked "handed over" and all the staff have now left or been made redundant by IBM...
Typical Pattern :
(1) Management dreams up a project, a budget and a date and tells IT : make it happen.
(2) Management ignore's any concern that their fairy tale might be "unrealistic"
(3) Project Fails
(4) Management Blames IT and then Outsources IT to "smart people"
From the report linked to above :
2.23 At the time of its offer for TSB in March 2015, and without detailed knowledge of TSB's requirements, Sabadell set an expectation that the Programme would be completed by the end of 2017. By as early as 1 July 2015 (the day after Sabadell's offer for TSB was declared unconditional), Sabadell had identified Sunday 5 November 2017 as the intended date for Go Live.
2.24 .... The pattern of setting a desired end date and then creating a plan to fit that date, whether or not it was realistic or involved taking too much risk, was set for the remainder of the Programme.
This is just the same pattern, but on a more visible and larger scale.
Based on the Slaughter and May report into TSB's IT failure which I asusme is "softened" as much as possible, there aren't many parts of the existing UK IT operation that are blame free. i.e. the TSB disaster was caused by mistakes at all levels of IT (and likely the business) and the blame deserves to be shared around.
Having said that, if your internal IT cannot deliver business requirements there is likely a significant disconnect between the business and IT - outsourcing IT will increase that disconnect unless you are completely buying into the outsourcers vision for running your services.
If that's the case, I would expect IBM to advertise for a large number of experienced electroplaters and gold prices to increase as they try to fulfil TSB's IT requirements....
Replatforming is almost never a business initiative. It is a tech initiative ostensibly to save costs, but with entirely doubtful projections. Generally it hits the point of "cutover or cancel" as it drains the company dry. The decision is often to cutover badly performing systems. In the case of TSB, it appears unfixably badly performing, since they're outsourcing the entire fiasco.
You realise you have just triggered a search for these two individuals as they have obviously escaped prior cullings.
Having escaped\terminated from IBM's management of South West One & been on a IBM contract or two, the following occurred on the same project:
1: Where the project consultant, went off radar in Asia over the Christmas break & couldn't be contacted over a serious SNAFU.
2: Project consultant had created an insane admin password, that was prone to being mis-entered by anyone of the two imaging teams & three deployment teams & frequently locking the account out six times a hour.
3: The project overran due to one imaging team prepping machines to be deployed & working off the master list of bank branches to be refreshed, while the other Team's lead let one of his techs design a off-radar Master list (Because that tech liked to doing everything in Access - Even inventory) & designate what machines we were were going to image for what branch. Sure enough twice as many machines were frequently being delivered to site & there was lots of receiving machines back from site in -20C (& lower) in the early evenings to IBM's front door.
Our Team Lead managed to keep his job ie made permy, despite his prior experience as a draughtsman for a company that made log cabins & was oblivious to the search & replace function (Which was discovered when he was grumbling could we use manual entry as he didn't need the prefix characters that my barcode scanner was reading when scanning serial numbers & had to edit each cell by hand).
I worked at a company once that made fume containment systems - they employed a technical manager - role was to do compliance, review electrical and mechanical designs etc.
Said candidates previous experience was looking after the animals in a testing lab in the Canaries...
It went wonderfully...
"It went wonderfully..."
He had to move on after failing to check material have not been placed in the fume containment system before entering? Was the material toxic or flammable? Flammable materials generally simplify the cleanup process.
This is why I hate job interviews. Never good at them and have come to realise you should just not worry about them anymore and never let them hurt your confidence.
Having seen the behind the scenes I've seen a person be given a role only for it to be taken away because "Interviews needed to be done and they shouldn't of just been given the role". So then they wasted everyone's time who applied to a bullshit job for a role they were never going to get and wasted their times with meaningless interviews. All because they wanted to give it to the original engineer in the first instance, so just did.
I've seen one company setup a "trick question" in a technical test and heard one engineer walked out when he was told because, rightly so, it was a bullshit move.
I've seen one person apply for a role they used to do for about 15 years not get the job and it be given to someone who's never had any experience in the role.
I've done a job for 12 years and been good at it, as a temp, to finally get a chance to apply to be a perm. Been told by customers I was helpful, friendly and good. I enjoyed the job and my sickness record was really good, in the 12 years I'd hardly been off sick. I'd regularly work late and not claim for it. Only to not be given the role and it to be given to an unknown outsider, who left not long after taking the role.
Last interview I went into thinking nothing of it. Assuming I'd not get it like always and having a small, easy technical test. I got the role.
Then in the same department the manager was being replaced and one of the Interviewees walked out when told they'd have to take a technical test. Speaking to who ran the Interviews they said "What they don't realise is we don't just rely on the technical test. We also work out if they'd fit the team as well." Which was a valid point otherwise you end up with a PHB.
I was asked to go over some CVs in one place, when very short staffed. Just for a temp IT role. Hating the application process myself I felt pain for the people apply that had no relevant skills. No relevant skills but just wanted a job.
Did I say I hate interviews!
Doesn't help when they pay deployment teams peanuts. Not saying they were on that project but I've watched a project at the NHS roll out new kit to GP surgeries. They employed "temps", talked to them like shit "We can replace you whenever we want, remember that", under valued them and under paid them. So, and I'm not in anyway saying this was right or justified, the said "temps" exploited the poorly managed roll out and stole several of the PCs on the way to the GPs surgeries. This was over 10 years ago now and no one ever knew or ever realised to this day.
"2: Project consultant had created an insane admin password, that was prone to being mis-entered by anyone of the two imaging teams & three deployment teams & frequently locking the account out six times a hour."
You were password sharing? You deserved to come to a bad end.
Meanwhile, many older IBM employees with knowledge from past failures have been sloughed off from the corporate employment ledgers, leaving only the younger employees without that critical knowledge which could save both IBM and TSB from this project being another debacle in the making. Thanks a lot Ginni.
But hey, as the Demotivational poster says: Consulting. If you're not part of the solution, there's a lot of money to be made by prolonging the problem.
@2+2=5: "will now run on a unified platform"
That bit made me laugh. Having done some work for a few banks (during my time at Big Blue and one post Blue contract) banks have many layers of infrastructure, and they tend to layer on a new glossy front end, but the back end systems (which are tried and trusted) persist. They really are quite cautious when it comes to change. On the 'unified' part,.... oh dear, the post Blue contract I did was an audit, because said bank had grown via acquisition, and had literally rolled racks full of kit from the acquired companies and installed them in theirs, and then wanted to make sure it was all accounted for. So this will be the same for parent company here, they have different legacy systems to integrate, and that is going to be a frikking nightmare. I worked for a cable company that similarly grew by buying smaller companies, and the integration project failed _twice_ and was far simpler.
Plus we have the history that IBM tend to oversell, so the 'unified' solution design will inevitably get redesigned down several times during the course of the project. Still it's all good for El Reg headlines.
More likely, as I see everywhere - constantly... it's an inability to recognise that software 'rusts' and degrades over time.
No budget for maintenance, no application specific monitoring, no enhancements, no test automation and no argument about it: it's not (ha ha,yet) a priority.
"Wow, crazy how these 20 year old systems are held together by masking tape and wishful thinking...what? Who's on holiday/left the company...?
Outsourcing is even better because you cant fire anyone who fucks up as they're all protected under the umbrella and your application is (relatively) small fry: winnung
So basically it's moving towards a Virtual Bank - hire in all services you need and just stick a name over the top.
Outsourcing your ENTIRE banking IT landscape to IBM and just "supervise" - what could possibly go wrong ?
Is anyone organising a bulk order for popcorn ? We are just at the opening titles of this saga and it will run and run.
Yes yes. Any business that has to outsource the core of what it does isn't a business.
When I had a manufacturing company, my investor wanted to outsource the key part of an assembly. I had to patiently explain in simple words that our business reputation was due to that labor intensive process being done perfectly with no cutting corners. There were already other parts that were done at other companies but they weren't as critical and were easy to inspect.
For a bank, managing data is what they do. They can hire a firm to service the ATMs and lease branch buildings, but good grief, having a third party in charge of your data is just asking to suffer.
It would be most interesting (and quite possibly revealing) to find out where they think liability will come to rest in event of future incidents. I've met this in the past all too often - businesses thinking that outsourcing absolves them from responsibility and therefore failing to put proper third party governance in place.
Outsourcing properly (with real diligence as opposed to just "due" aka perfunctory) usually costs more eventually than keeping services in house. If you want a better standard of performance than you can deliver that makes sense, but if you outsource to save money, you'll get the service you deserve (and so will your customers, but they deserve better).
Bearing in mind their big public bungle was application deployment related, this will have zero benefits in terms of blamestorming supplier liability.
Also buying masses of services to support applications you haven't refactored yet seems a bit keen.
I hope they realise that the join between infrastructure and application can become very vague with containers, SDN, elastic provisioning, etc as there needs to be similar behaviours, and the devops team will have to slice themselves in half so they can be both customer and supplier at the same time.
I see dragons...
Never outsource your core function.
A bank is its IT. Banks are data processing companies where the data happens to be about who has what money.
A company can successfully outsource many things, but when they outsource their core function they lose all institutional memory about what their core business requires, and close down when the supplier makes any mistakes.
So they're already dead, they just haven't stopped moving yet.
On the bright side, IBM will be launching a bank. I wonder what they will brand it as?
How many bank branches do the mothership have?
Aren't they putting all their eggses into one basket by doing this sort of thing?
Personally I would've used a number of diverse solution providers, all using different infrastructure etc, so if the one goes down, the whole banking rigmarole does not go down as well.
Probably a beancountery type thinking it is safe to put all their eggses into one basket and save costs that way...
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