Monday, October 2, 2023

Standard Chartered modernises and harmonises its technology architecture

Becomes first bank in Sri Lanka to shift its core banking system to cloud computing

Standard Chartered Sri Lanka recently announced a key milestone achievement in its technological transformation journey with the implementation of “Project ATLAS” – a modernised core banking application in Cloud. The ATLAS Project harmonises various versions of core banking across markets into one single version, which standardises interfaces to reduce the overall application development, support and maintenance cost for the Bank.

Over the past 20 years, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka was served by its own homegrown core banking application known as eBBS. Hosted in the global data centre owned by Standard Chartered, eBBS was incrementally built across many markets and had evolved in terms of functionality. This resulted in multiple versions of the core banking application being present across regions, based on various local business and regulatory demands.

With the participation of over 100+ users across all departments, along with project leads across functions and geographies, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka came together as one team to ensure the successful launch of project ATLAS. The project was executed with absolute precision to ensure a smooth go-live with minimal to no impact to clients.

Key department leads and the project team commemorating the first day of ATLAS go-live by cutting a cake with CEO.

The Country Technology Manager for Standard Chartered Sri Lanka, Ajanthan Sivathas said, “ATLAS leverages cloud hosting to replace the high capital costs of on-premises servers to support a core banking system of this scale. Cloud computing assures high availability of the systems across customer facing channels and will ensure no outages during planned maintenance for core banking application. The power of cloud computing is its ability to scale on demand to facilitate the necessary compute to cater to seasonal volume spikes in processing and subsequently scale down.” The modern technology and integration landscape makes the application web browser agnostic, database agnostic and compatible with the latest emerging technology services adopting Microservices and API connectivity. This is in line with Standard Chartered’s cloud technology strategy, where it allows the bank to focus more on innovation while the cloud service provider takes care of any technology obsolescence risks promptly for a secure and robust infrastructure.

One of the key outcomes of project ATLAS is to have standardised processes across all Standard Chartered markets with one harmonised version of its core banking application that will enable better speed to market, where functionalities developed can be rolled out to all countries at once. The new version will also unlock value, where products developed for one market can be enabled for others to have a competitive advantage and promote linear scalability and elasticity to meet business volume spikes using cloud computing. The project also aims to have a robust technology platform and, at the same time embraces the latest technology trends to reduce costs leveraging on the cloud computing benefits of pay for what is used and to have much higher efficiency in output to clients.

Commenting on the ATLAS project, Chief Operating Officer of Standard Chartered Sri Lanka Chamalie Serasinghe said, “For the back-end operations team, ATLAS promises a much more secure and seamless experience, where key functionalities across markets are not only shared but can also be easily enabled in Sri Lanka to unlock best practices from other countries. We believe the overall increase in productivity will increase throughout, leading to better client experience.”

Expressing his view, the country implementation leads of project ATLAS, Hareendra Jayasundara said, “A core banking system is easily the one single application in a Bank that has the highest amount of touchpoints in terms of processes and connectivity to other upstream as well as downstream systems. Cutting over seamlessly to a new core banking version that is built on a completely new code base and technology platform is no easy task and not something a banker would experience often during their careers. It took months of planning, hours of brainstorming to get the necessary mappings and scope accurate, ruthless testing cycles to identify defects early and remediate them for a smooth cutover.”

Photo Caption: Key members of the group implementation team including Country Technology Manager – Ajanthan Sivathas and ATLAS Country Project Lead – Hareendra Jayasundara and Sri Lanka CEO Bingumal Thewarathanthri

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