To Be Or Not To Be

In today’s world, technology is developing at an unprecedented rate. The latest innovative products or services adopted by the market today is tomorrow’s antique. As a result of this rapid development of technology, we often take things for granted.

But not always in history, the adoption speed of the news technologies by mankind being it happened to this high level. In respect to this, I’ll mention only two exceptional examples.

One of these is the wheel, invented at a relatively late point of human history, the oldest known being dates around 7000 years ago (from Mesopotamia. Looking around, we see wheels everywhere, be it as tires, or all the machinery that surrounding us every day. The wheel is pervasive in our lives not only materially, but also spiritually, being impregnated with many symbolic meanings, perhaps the most famous being a metaphor for the never ending cycle of life.

Even though this is something that holds fundamental impact on the development of human society, it was adopted by the inhabitants of America or Australia, late, very late, after the arrival of Europeans on those lands, The Olmec, and other Mesoamerican societies, world pioneers in mathematics and astronomy, but they did not use the wheel. Amazingly enough, they invented the wheel but did not use it for any purpose other than children’s toys.

A known fact by now, ignorance in adoption and the use of the wheel by some societies has had a dramatic effect on their evolution when they came into contact with those who adopted and used this device.

The second example refers to Gutenberg’s invention. In 1445, Johannes Gutenberg unveiled an innovation with profound consequences for subsequent economic history: a printing press based on movable type. Until then, books either had to be hand-copied by scribes, a very slow and laborious process, or they were block-printed specific pieces of wood cut for printing each page. Books were few and far between, and very expensive. After Gutenberg’s invention, things began to change. Books were printed and became more rapidly available. Without this innovation, mass literacy and education would have been impossible.

In Western Europe, the importance of the printing press was quickly recognized. Unfortunately, not everyone saw printing as a desirable innovation. As early as 1485 the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II issued an edict that Muslims were expressly forbidden from printing in Arabic. This rule was further reinforced by sultan Selim I in 1515. Only just in 1727, after 282 years from Gutenberg’s invention, the first printing press was allowed in the Ottoman lands, when sultan Ahmed III gives the permission to set up a press. Even this late permission was with restrains. In Egypt, on the other hand, the first printing press was set up only in 1798 (after 353 years), by Frenchmen who were part of the failed attempt by Napoleon Bonaparte to capture the country.

This opposition to the printing press had the obvious consequences for literacy, education, and economic success. For example, around 1800, probably only 2 to 3 percent of Ottoman Empire citizens were literate, compared with 60 percent of adult males and, 40 percent of adult females in England. In the Netherlands and Germany, literacy rates were even higher.

Probably, major consequence of the failure in adopting and using printing press at the right moment it was the loss of Ottoman Empire competition with Western countries and, consequently its collapse after some time.

From both stories it can be noted that a lack of creative ability and slowness in adopting new innovations can have profound consequences on the evolution of entire civilizations, countries, or human smaller organizations, like companies.

Sometimes creativity and agility in adoption of the new technological developments can make the difference between “to be or not be”.

 

Author: Nicu Stirbat

 

Mid October, at the hype of the autumn conference season, Sibos managed to draw 8200 participants who came over to Singapore to meet their peers, get up to date with the hottest topics in FinTech, listen to the opinions of notorious subject matter experts, see cutting-edge technology and last, but not least, make new connections. It is the biggest Sibos to date in the APAC and it is the second largest Sibos.At Sibos the Allevo team had a few goals, namely: creating awareness for the company and its flagship project, the FinTP Project, to update existing connections on latest developments and news from Allevo, to encourage banks to start looking more in depth into open source technologies and to make new connections.

 

Allevo’s flagship project, the FinTP Project

FinTP helps financial institutions of all types and sizes reduce TCO and achieve end-to-end interoperability across the financial supply chain. It is a complete open source application that processes transactions, automates flows and offers compliance to regulatory and industry standards. The Allevo guaranteed distribution of FinTP is aimed to grow competitiveness, offer operational risk containment and to make financial processing systems affordable to SMEs as well.

FinTP and all ancillary documentation is distributed freely and openly through the FINkers United community and it provides collaboration ground for rapid development and integration of new technologies, such as crypto currencies and distributed ledgers, biometric and cyber security, data analysis algorithms and many others. This creates an open infrastructure for achieving real-time payments and a better management of liquidity and assets.

 

Latest from Allevo – EximBank adopts FinTP

At Sibos, Allevo announced the recent adoption of FinTP by a new customer, EximBank, a niche bank, solely dedicated to corporate financing. The addition of this new bank to the list of FinTP adopters proves that FinTP is a flexible and reliable application, fit to serve the day to day operations of a bank. The first adopters of FinTP are existing Allevo customers, who are long time users of qPayIntegrator, a proprietary solution designed by Allevo back in 2001 to connect banks in Romania to the electronic payment system, to automate flows, to fetch payments from any type of back-office system, internally process them in ISO20022 format, achieve accounting reconciliation, offer a clear view on their liquidity and daily operations. FinTP is an open source application based on qPayIntegrator and thus the customers of qPayIntegrator are being migrated to FinTP, becoming early adopters of the first open source application of this kind. Apart from these, 3 more banks have adopted FinTP and we were proud to announce the collaboration with EximBank last week at Sibos.

 

Promoting BOOST – Banking On Open Source Technologies

Allevo has positioned itself as a supporter of open source software and has been promoting the idea of BOOST, short for Banking On Open Source Technologies. This has been the central theme of most of Allevo’s recent keynotes or panel debates. In line with the BOOST strategy, Allevo delivered last week at Sibos in Singapore an interactive Open Theatre session “Eating The Financial World”.

It was all about creating and sharing software applications and associated knowledge, about innovation through shared knowhow and collaboration and about bringing key inventions into established financial systems. We took a close look at five topics related to open source software, which contribute to having a good overview about how OSS caters for the needs of the banking industry, offering the same quality and security as proprietary software. Moreover, open source products give users control over the software they adopt, more transparency and an excellent platform for innovation and collaboration.

The five topics were: open source philosophy, software distribution trends, quality and security, platform for innovation and last, but not least, community.

 

Sibos back to Europe in 2016

All in all, this was yet another successful edition of Sibos and the Allevo team is looking forward to enjoy the one of next year in Geneva, closer to home, with an audience that is much more relevant to our primary business focus and strategy. It’s good that Sibos is coming back to Europe, especially as the last “European” one was in Dubai; basically it has not been to Europe since Amsterdam 2010.

Please reach out via any means of communication, should you be interested to start a discussion about FinTP and Banking On Open Source Technologies. In the spirit of open source, we are open for dialogue.

 

Author: Ioana Guiman

 

Not quite a tradition yet, but, just like in May, the day after the FinTP hackathon #2, we organized the Allevo User Group. The 23rd edition on 23. And the reason behind it stays the same: we wanted to debate the ideas from this hackathon’s kick-off while they were still hot.

 

On this edition of the user group’s agenda we included: qPI updates – qPI-SEPA, announcing two new qPI features under analysis: qPI-TE transaction enrichment and SEPA corporate to bank qPI-C2B -; FinTP Project project status – including product development, community processes, Hackathon #2 and the new automatic testing tool; the consultant session – Ruud van der Horst about how FinTP can address remittances and financial inclusion -; and last, but not least, our Sibos 2013 experience.

 

You are welcome to read more about it on our blog.

During the European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), Allevo was invited, for the 2nd year in a row, as one of the partners of The future and security of electronic payments event.Organized on October 21st by Oxygen Events with the support of the Romanian Banking Association (RBA), ANSSI and CERT-RO, the event was included in the ECSM calendar and debated the impact of digital technology over the banking industry, analyzing the opportunities and challenges this will bring in the future.

Allevo CCO, Sorina Bera, talked about TOSS (Treasure on Open Source Software), our financial transactions centralized processing solution for corporations that our company has initiated this year. The project comes in the context of the SEPA Regulation that says starting October 2016, in non-euro countries, corporations must also align to SEPA standards. To help in this process, Allevo solution will be integrated in the IT infrastructure of the corporations, between their back-office application and the communication interfaces with their partner banks, transforming in what we call a “unique processing window”.

1. SIBOS PUBLICATIONS

Sibos Issues

    Sibos Issues – Second edition 2015  (you can find us on page 6)

Sibos Issues – Monday edition (you can find us on page 6)

Sibos Issues – Tuesday edition (you can find us on page 10)

2. ALLEVO PRESS RELEASES

 Press Release: Allevo Open Source Solutions In Top – FinTP is the single open source application for processing financial transactions and the most recent customer using it is EximBank, a niche bank, solely dedicated to corporate financing.

 Allevo Press Release on FinTechFinTP, the first open source application for processing financial transactions expends its footprint

 Allevo Press Release on IBSintelligenceEximbank opts for Allevo’s open source application FinTP.

 Allevo Press Release on BobsguideFinTP, the first open source application for processing financial transactions expends its footprint

Open source software, once just the domain of technology hobbyists, is expanding its footprint or, how some people dare put it, is “eating the world”. That’s why, this year at Sibos in Singapore we started the discussion about Banking On Open Source Technologies (BOOST), about creating and sharing software applications and related knowledge, in line with open source culture, about innovation through shared knowhow and collaboration and about bringing key inventions into established financial systems.

We have ignited an in depth conversation on this topic during the “Eating the Financial World” session in Open Theatre One on Monday at 12:15. And we want to bring you on board the deep dive we took into the hidden truths of banking software, how this is changing and how it impacts all collateral sides of the business.

Marc Andreessen’s 2011 proclamation that software is eating the world takes on new significance in light of IDC’s prediction that mobile, cloud, social and big data technologies will disrupt firms in every industry. Everybody has a big appetite and we truly believe that OSS will have a huge bite, that open sourcing is an irreversible trend even in the software industry. Probably the appetite is not as high in the financial world as it is in other areas or as it should be. That is why it is worth having a closer look at five topics related to open-source software, which contribute to having a good overview about how OSS can very well cater for the needs of the banking industry, offering the same quality and security as traditionally licensed software. Moreover, OS products give users control over the software they adopt, more transparency and an excellent platform for innovation and collaboration.

Open Source philosophy

The main principles of OSS are free cultural sharing and cooperation in non-differentiating areas. Open source software is an act of creativity. The culture of sharing in open source is our way forward, because we believe that by collaborating with the brainpower of an entire community of professionals that share the same values, we can deliver the best results.

Software distribution trends

Many headlines nowadays announce that public authorities support the adoption of open source in favor of enterprise software. For example the Italian government issued the final rules in implementing a change to procurement law that now requires all public administrations in the country to first consider re-used or free software before committing to proprietary licenses. Government institutions, healthcare and education systems are already looking into the possibility of adopting open source software not only at infrastructure level to reduce costs, but also at application layer and beyond.

According to Gartner, open source software will be included in mission-critical software portfolios of virtually all Global 2000 enterprises by 2016.

Allevo decided to change its business model and started publishing the source code of its application for processing financial transactions, FinTP, under the GPL v3 license. In this new frame the customer benefits from a technology that drives cost reduction and conveys full control over the source code of the application. This model also eliminates the common vendor lock-in dependence and empowers the users with access to a transparent product development process and transparent product audit.

OSS quality & OSS security

There is a never-ending debate going on regarding software quality and security – open source or proprietary.

Team skills and expertise in various areas, tools (internal developer tools, work item tracking, source control systems, testing automation), experience, timeline, processes and workflow are what define the quality of a software product. The quality of the software is not worse or better than the community joint forces can deliver – most people claim better quality, security and scalability.

Moreover, both delivering open source and closed source solutions are subjected to the same security threats from a technical point of view. Each of the security vulnerabilities have to be contained through coherent management and control over the software development and deployment lifecycle processes. These processes need to be adapted to the type of distribution model – open source and closed source. In our opinion vulnerabilities that come from community contributions have a risk score as low as contributions in closed source applications.

Regarding transparency – having a closed application does not mean that vulnerabilities do not exist or that they cannot be exploited. It just means that they are less in the open. In open source, for any given problem, there is the possibility for a large number of ‘eyeballs’ to be looking at it. In a closed-source project, the maximum number of people looking at any given problem is always limited by the total number of employed developers.

Innovation Platform (and Coopetition)

An open source project can definitely become an innovation platform, supporting new business, but at the same time a standardization (including semantic) platform for operations.

Since changing our distribution model and publishing our proprietary application into open source, we identified several opportunities to deliver new solutions.

FinTP is positioned in the back-office of a bank and external market infrastructures – SWIFT Network, proprietary networks. On top of this financial middleware several operational features were added; features like duplicate detection, transaction filtering, accounting reconciliation, treasury flows, liquidity reporting, competitive alerts and so on.

But let’s give a couple of examples that go beyond the general use of our application. A micro-financing institution in Uganda selected our application to integrate new disbursement channels by connecting to mobile money transfer operators. This way, they can give loans to their customers and receive repayments via mobile phones, eliminating the need of working with cash and of asking their customers to come to their branches. Another example is the possibility to automate the payment flows for wage payments of Public Institutions.

What about the possibility of cooperation between competitors? Coopetition (cooperation & competition) is the new business paradigm that rises across industries, at global scale. The diversity of profiles and interests of individuals and companies extends the use of our source code to serve various purposes. Publishing developments committed by others, even by competitors, enlarges the footprint of the application and generates new cooperation areas.

Another argument for going forward comes from recent studies, which underline that the financial services industry has started to look into the possibility of adopting open source software at application layer. The argument is that open source enables companies to collaboratively develop non-differentiating software for processing transactions or regulatory compliance – the plumbing and framework all financial institutions need. We believe that the back-office area of banks and the processing of transactions is performed very similarly in most financial institution. Consequently, this is not an area where there should be competition. Using open source software allows them to focus on other areas that can differentiate them and attract customers – services offered to people and businesses.

Community

Behind any open source product there is a community of people having different roles and benefits. By comparison, for a closed-source product, the community is comprised of the provider and the client base.

In open source communities, the benefits are different for every member profile, but the essence is that everybody is involved because of having a shared interest and acts as an entrepreneur – having ideas, initiatives and the freedom to act accordingly to own beliefs.

When asked why corporations engaged with OSS communities, cost reduction remanded the top response (61%), but gaining competitive advantage came in second (45%), and for companies over 1000 employees, influencing a project’s direction was the third most popular answer.

FOSS – Future OSS: The senior open source strategist from Samsung states that they both use open source technology in their products and contribute to open source. This way, they make sure they can influence the development track of the projects. In his view, in order to be successful and have competitive advantage when consuming open source, one needs to collaborate with others to build reliable projects. Helping projects grow gives the possibility to free up engineering resources to work on things that are strategic, rather than work on things which are commodity.

More about this at Allevo’s stand N49 while at Sibos or any other time. Just drop us an email.

Software applications developed by Allevo for the financial – banking operations are getting more and more appreciated by banks, the most recent client being EximBank, a niche bank, solely dedicated to corporate financing.

By adopting FinTP, EximBank benefits from a technology that drives cost reduction and conveys full control over the source code of the application, thus eliminating the common vendor lock-in dependence, while gaining access to a transparent product development process and transparent product audit.

“EximBank is constantly concerned with up grading its IT infrastructure aiming at supporting an improvement in services’ quality; the Allevo solution offers us the flexibility to design our business infrastructure accordingly to our strategy”, declared Traian Halalai, Executive President of EximBank.

FinTP is an application distributed under GPL v3 open source software licensing frame that processes transactions, automates flows and offers compliance to regulatory and industry standards. FinTP is directly aimed to grow competitiveness, making financial processing systems affordable to both financial institutions and SMEs.

“The current financial market trends include mobile business, personalized customer experience and shortening of supply chains. Allevo has created a vehicle to support all these trends. To have adopters like EximBank reassures us that we made a good decision to start distributing our products under open source software licensing frame and to rethink our business model, focusing on providing services that address concrete needs of our customers”, says Corina Mihalache, CEO Allevo.

Feature-wise, FinTP provides support for the most used funds transfer instruments (credit transfer, direct debit, debit instruments) and includes features for operational risk containment (transaction filtering, duplicate detection, accounting reconciliation), liquidity reporting, treasury operations management, end-to-end management of remittances, competitive reporting and SEPA & TARGET2 compliance.


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