SEPA: Deadline for a deadline

Even if the summer is close to an end, we are still talking about vacations. Nevertheless, I would like to open a discussion here, about how each of us is seeing this end of the year and especially about what changes it might bring for the preparation of 2010, due to the exciting Fall waiting just right around the corner. I confess I didn’t manage to go to vacation myself, although I have plans on my desk for a visit to the Danube Delta. Until then, I would like to invite you to a first discussion about this newly-launched BIS blog, a project I am involved in myself starting with this very moment.

I am coming from a journalistic environment, of which I was part for over 11 years. I am used to the acronyms, and for a month now I am continuously reading about SWIFT, PSD, SEPA, SCT, SDD… I have discovered many articles, discussions, studies about the respective subjects, but the first one I would like to talk to you about is SEPA – deadline for a deadline.

This month there has been a public consultation launched by the European Commission regarding a possible final date for the SEPA migration.

Did you answer this inquiry? I sincerely hope so.

I want to take advantage of the fact that the results are not out yet and ask you myself: are you FOR or AGAINST a deadline for SEPA migration?

Waiting for your answers with a great deal of interest,

Cristian Lacraru, moderator

We are bombarded with best practices, organized in methodologies, process models, bodies of knowledge, etc. Should we want to get better at development, which one to consider? Very difficult to say.

Let’s pick CMMI-DEV, the process model developed by the Software Engineering Institute ( The best practices are called specific and generic practices, grouped at first level by specific and generic goals, and finally organized in 22 process areas assigned to five maturity levels. For more information please consult the model itself at

All is nice and fit, but there are over 300 practices. And we want to implement them all, as we like the idea to get the benefits as shown by the SEI statistics. And why not, to prove we have a certain maturity level.

Over 300 you say? Well, first reason to give up. But stop! … We recognize most of them. We have them implemented already. Or at least that’s the first impression.

We decide to do a Gap Analysis, or alternatively a SCAMPI C (Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement). For the challenge, we target a maturity level, that means a predefined set of process areas, or we handpick the process areas to appraise. The results are telling us which practices we already implement and which ones are new to us.

What to do with the latter? Let’s don’t forget they are considered best practices, which, if implemented, will bring us measurable benefits.

So the first idea is to identify those benefits. If we can, we are happily producing a business case to identify the ROI and later to come up with a plan for process improvement. If we cannot, let’s at least try to identify and address the risks of not having them implemented. We may be in for some surprises and wonder how comes we haven’t realized so far how many critical problems had been so close to materialize. Funny to say, we might perform this risk management on the Risk Management specific practices.

What if we can identify neither the benefits nor the risks? I don’t know a “one size fit all” answer. It depends on the context. We may accept the situation and go on with our lives without caring so much about those “orphan” practices, and consequently about achieving a CMMI maturity level. Or we can trust the model and implement them anyway. Sooner or later we’ll realize if they are good for us.

Nicolae Giurescu





Titlu proiect: “Participarea BIS la SIBOS 09Hong-Kong”, cofinantata din Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regionalaprin Programul Operational Sectorial “Cresterea CompetitivitatiiEconomice”. (more…)

Rezultate: “In cadrul targului SIBOS, companiaromaneasca SC BIS SRL a avut un stand propriu in care au fostpromovate serviciile oferite de societatea romaneasca bancilorasiatice care intentioneaza sa isi deschida filiale in Europa deSud-Est”. (more…)

Incheiere proiect: “Finalizarea proiectului”Extinderea afacerii BIS pe piata internationala a solutiilor IT deefectuare a tranzactiilor financiare, prin participarea cu standpropriu la conferinta mondiala SIBOS 09 Hong-Kong”. (more…)


Persoana de contact
Nume: Stanescu Rasvan
Functie: Director Calitate
Adresa: Bucuresti, Calea Vitan 23 C, et.3, sector 3;
tel: 0212554577, 0212554578, 0212554579

Pentru informatii detaliatedespre celelalte programe cofinantate de Uniunea Europeana, vainvitam sa vizitati

Continutul acestui material nu reprezintain mod obligatoriu pozitia oficiala a Uniunii Europene sau aGuvernului Romaniei.

Business Information Systems (BIS) proposes youto become SEPAReady working with our skilled teamand certified software solution.

Business Information Systems provides low-cost,practice proven solutions for payments systems. They are based onqPayIntegrator suite ( recertified SWIFTReady ApplicationSEPA 2009 ) and on the value-added services performed byour SWIFT-certified technical and business experts.

BIS‘ goal is to assist banks and corporates inpreparing their business compliance with EPC specifications on SEPAand with ECB regulations on Target2.

Sibos 2009
“We may be small but we are complex”
Who said that? Someone from a small setting in USA -we wish we knew who.

It’s what we also think about our company, BIS.

When we first started the SPI (Software Process Improvement) all we knew about CMMI were the acronym and that it will be difficult. Someone told us it’s a huge headache waiting for us due to the bureaucracy CMMI will bring. That it is by no means suitable for our small organization.

After some training and a bit of self evaluation, we came to the conclusion that in fact CMMI is about the essential practices of the industry.
We develop software for financial institutions – we need these practices to be competitive and survive a rocking-and-rolling environment.
Size of the company is of course an issue in adopting the practices, even on maturity level 2 ; resources are not easily found when you are small.

But regarding the implementation of the CMMI practices, we’ve discovered soon enough that this doesn’t automatically bring bureaucracy in the company. It depends greatly on the solutions you choose. CMMI is telling in fact what practices you should have, not how to do things.

In a way it’s like when you prepare for a hiking in the mountains.

A quote from this page
” A few rules you should hike by are to always tell someone where your going and when they should expect you to return. […] Also hike with a buddy or group whenever possible. […] When heading out for a hiking trip there are some definite basic items you should bring along. The most important has to be food and water.
Remember anything can happen at anytime, don’t assume you won’t need it, etc. etc.”

These are recommended practices regardless of how many days you’re planning to hike, how big is your party or how difficult the trails are. They tell you what you need to stay safe and have fun!

It’s the same with any organization, regardless of the size. You need configuration management, project management, quality management and so on. The essential practices – take them with you and you will have a better chance to stay safe and even survive in a crisis situation.
How you implement those practices is a different story and it’s the most difficult part of the game. The tricks of the hiking expedition and of the SPI project.

Regarding the size problem, I don’t think we are telling news when we are saying that the main issues of our SPI project were:
– the budget allocated to the SPI project
– time
– human nature, naturally not always open to changes, especially when changes demand personal effort.
– creeping bureaucracy
These can be found in fact in any SPI project but, in a small setting, dealing with them is a little bit more difficult due to lack of resources.

Let’s consider what we found was the most difficult process area: measurement and analysis.
In this case, bureaucracy can creep and destroy all good intentions.
One must be very very careful in defining objectives and selecting metrics and indicators. “If we don’t need it, we won’t do it” must be written on all walls. Think “money”, think “time” – analyse the resources needed to collect and measure and analyse results.
Such measurement and analyses activities can divert most-needed resources from projects.

Our first MA plan had more than 30 metrics and after 3 months we discovered only a couple were applied.
Then we’ve defined a small set of objectives more realistic, intelligent and suitable for our business. We’ve chosen 5 “good” metrics and started with them the journey.
We came to the idea that automation is a must in collecting and validating measurement data and collecting data must be embedded in the daily activities.

This has brought Microsoft TFS and the Sharepoint technology in our path and we’ve been good travel companions ever since.
Andreea & Emilia

Since SEPA Project is a hot topic of the moment and BIS has been continuously preoccupied with its evolution, why don’t we first approach this subject?

In June 2009, BIS initiated and hosted in its conference room a series of 3 workshops on SEPA-related matters, gathering around 30 participants from the banking sector and 15 participants representing various companies (from the retail market, pharmaceutical industry, airline transports, etc). We intended these sessions to be less formal than the previous SEPA conferences we have organized and this proved to be a successful idea since the participants were very open to share their views on the current status of SEPA implementation in banks, on the impact that the adoption of SEPA instruments will have on their customers, as well as on other issues such as: settlement landscape, real daily issues they have to face, SEPA deadlines, SEPA benefits and so on.

Here are the handouts used during these workshops.

Consequent to these sessions, we have concluded that the feedback of the Romanian market is:

  • Corporates have little information about SEPA and PSD ; however, in order to comply with the payment requests of several of their providers abroad, companies have asked the banks they are working with for certain payment services, but the required services were not part of any banks’ portfolio. After several discussions they realized that the product they need is one of the SEPA instruments, an European direct debit product.
  • Most banks are not very eager to adopt the SEPA instruments and they rely on the generous timeframe of Romania’s Euro adoption (planned for 2014), which allegedly leaves them plenty of time for action. In our opinion, both for the banks and their corporate customers, this a decision matter on the future competition landscape they choose to position themselves in.

BIS has been an early bird in complying with SWIFT’s requirements for SEPA. BIS’ application – qPayIntegrator v2.0 – was the first SWIFTReady SEPA certified solution in 2008 and, at the same time, the first Romanian banking solution for the payment systems, which obtains SWIFT’s recognition for its proven compliance with the banking industry standards. For 2009, BIS has renewed its certification, becoming SWIFTReady SEPA 2009. BIS’ services portfolio has also gained SWIFT’s appreciation due to the large area of business competencies covered by our business experts (SWIFT certified consultants for TARGET2, SEPA, Cash Reporting, Securities, TSU, Corporate, CCI and EUCLID), as well as by our technical developers (certified for all the products available in SWIFTAlliance suite).

So, we have the solution, we have the expertise, we are ready for SEPA ! How about teaming to achieve together business excellence?

By: Ioana Guiman