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Home-grown tech may hinder financial institutions

A survey of IT managers and senior leaders in the retail banking, investment banking and insurance sectors claims downtime is caused by reliance on such applications

UK financial services organisations are being hit by downtime because of a reliance on home-grown applications, a survey has claimed.

According to the survey of 103 IT managers and senior leaders in the retail banking, investment banking and insurance sectors, compiled by applications management company Managed Objects, just under a third of respondents said up to 75 percent of their applications are home-grown.

Just less than 50 percent of respondents said their organisation has suffered at least five application outages that affected their business in the past 12 months.

Out of the three sectors surveyed, retail banking appears to have the highest incidence of home-grown applications and related outages, but investment banking appears to suffer more when outages occur. The insurance industry appears to be more stable, possibly because the product set within it is more established and requires fewer changes to the supporting applications.

The survey authors suggest that complying with regulations such as Itil, Basel II and MiFID may have caused these home-grown systems to have become over-complex.

More than 50 percent of outages involved up to four hours of work to find and fix the problem, with the average cost to the IT department alone calculated at an average of £5,000 per hour.

Forrester principal analyst Peter O'Neill said the problem could well be accelerated by the adoption of emerging technologies such as service-oriented architectures, in which applications are made more interdependent; and virtualisation, where it may be harder to discover where applications and data reside, thereby making it more difficult to check when an outage occurs.