Indian Overseas Bank To Design Own CBS

by Julia Fernandes    Sep 09, 2004

While most enterprises deploy off the shelf software packages, several entities prefer to tread on the less beaten path by developing their own applications, either because commercial solutions are not robust or customizable enough to meet their direct needs, or simply to cut costs. Chennai-based Indian Overseas Bank is one such example, with almost all its applications being homegrown.

Speaking to CXOtoday, S Mohan, senior manager-information technology, IOB, said, “Almost all the general retail applications such as forex, treasury management, personal banking modules to name a few, have been developed by the in-house IT team.”

The applications are hosted on Sybase and SCO Unix, whereas Oracle and Solaris collectively power the backend.

Speaking about the pros and cons of developing applications in-house, Mohan felt that over a period, IOB has succeeded in building a vast repertoire of expertise in software development and this has significantly aided them in long-range planning. Meanwhile, in terms of savings, they have been able to register cost savings of 70 to 80 % approximately.

The development team, which has a strength of 50 is currently also developing a Core Banking Solution (CBS).

On the flip side however, Mohan admitted that they could face a major problem if the entire team of developers leave in one stroke. “But,” added Mohan “that is a rarity, which we have fortunately not encountered till now.”

However, while in-house development is common among many enterprises, what distinguishes the IOB software development team is that the professionals on board come from a banking background. Says Mohan, “Since the software is developed by banking professionals, comprehension of the user needs and the ability to tailor the solution to meet the specific requirements simplifies the task. Moreover, the ease of maintenance is an added benefit.”

The bank has specialized branches catering to commercial and industrial credit, industrial finance, small-scale industries, hi-tech agriculture and foreign exchange.

Established in the year 1937 as a private sector bank, it turned national in 1969. The bank operates through 1,427 branches spread across the length and breadth in India with six branches located overseas.