Systems integration has become so complex that in order to succeed, firms often need outside support in specific areas. We have assisted our clients in designing, building, implementing and integrating system solutions through mainframes, distributed computing, LANs and the Internet.
We are able to match the appropriate technology to a business's needs by using a range of tools, from COBOL to advanced technologies (C, C++, C#, MVC, Imaging, Expert Systems, Prototyping, CASE, JAVA, HTML and Neural Networks).
We support our clients with project management, requirements definition, system design, development, testing, conversions, and documentation and training.
Most firms have a technology architecture that evolved as users defined their needs and as specific applications were acquired. Efficient and high quality processing has increasingly requires the movement of data in the form of messages between internal applications and to/from other firms and industry utilities. This growth in the use of messaging has increased the need for flexible applications that can reformat and reroute these messages so that they can be read by the appropriate systems.
To make messaging work efficiently, the industry has accepted the challenge to develop message standards. SWIFT, ISITC and FIX have supplied, and are continuing to supply, a variety of useful message formats. When both sides to a transaction use the same format, the chances of misunderstandings and errors are reduced, and information exchange is made more efficient. As the potential use of messaging has increased, so has the need for a new category of application, often called "Middleware".
This layer of code sits between the processing applications and the network and performs three basic functions: reformatting, routing and protocol connectivity. In the past, each programmer wrote specific code that generated its output format and told the network where to send the data. This worked fine when there were only a few applications and a few end points. However, as the number of both has increased, it has become more and more difficult to maintain the hard coded instructions, and the need for a flexible solution has increased, Middleware solves this problem by providing flexible formatting and routing of messages, and it reduces the need to develop hard coded connectivity.
To provide middleware functionality, an application must also support the transfer of a message from one protocol to another while routing and formatting. Firms such as IBM, Mercator, Sybase (NEON), Netik, Stratus, Logica and MINT have developed applications which provide generic protocol conversion, routing and formatting. The use of middleware will continue to expand as real time processing and messaging become more prevalent, as developers realize that it is not economical to hard code every interface between applications and firms, and as the number of different points of connectivity continues to increase. TSG is available to assist firms implement their middleware projects, and in other projects requiring the integration of applications on disparate platforms.
Documentation and Training
User training can be a by-product of a well-structured user procedures document. When organized as a single project, user documentation can become the base for on-the-job training, classroom training, or computer based training and can be available as a HELP function through on-line reference tools. TSG has developed and delivered numerous client-specific processes, as well as staff developmental programs that include managing change, leadership, and technology. Through our Securities Operations Forum subsidiary, we train over 2,000 professionals annually in various facets of the securities business. A catalog of our courses is available at www.soforum.com.
Assisted a complex organization consisting of custody, trust, private banking and investment management services in selecting the appropriate Middleware product for their business. Developed the project plan and managed the implementation project, co-coordinating employees, consultants and vendor resources.
TSG assisted a major firm in the securities processing industry establish a complete Global Custody function that integrated several independent units into an efficient entity. This involved workflow analysis, capacity planning, creativity, and systems enhancements. Our client was able to increase their productivity and quality, and they became volume insensitive in several areas that were previously bottlenecks to growth.
Assisted several firms identify their SWIFT message requirements, define extracts, map data and install a SWIFT interface device. The message types were used to exchange data between investment managers and custodians, and between investment managers and brokers. Implementation of SWIFT connectivity plus changes in the firm's process flow can result in significant cost savings and reduced errors.
Connected Global Plus to a firm's existing record keeping system to support the merger of two major Global Custodians.
Also connected Global Plus to Portia to integrate the internal portfolio reporting process for a major international bank.
Defined user requirements, conducted a vendor survey and selected a system to support a new, centralized asset account service that is now being offered by an insurance company to their ten million Asian clients. Connected the Olympic system to a local bank using their proprietary standard, to a broker using SWIFT message standards, to various internal systems and to a new consolidated statement data base.
Assisted a major investment management firm establish a business-wide application architecture that reduced handling of data, redundant processing and maintenance of multiple legacy systems.
A major west coast medical center had numerous hardware platforms and operating systems. TSG assisted the CIO in re-architecting their network and the applications, and participated in the migration of several of the applications to a client/server environment. The new environment consisted of IBM, VAX, and PC's (UNIX/ C/Windows) applications.
Assisted our client in responding to an immediate customer requirement to provide electronic connectivity between disparate systems. This was accomplished by using different portions of an existing proprietary tool and using emulation to input data.
Defined requirements, wrote code, populated NEONet rules tables and tested the message flow to/from the SWIFT network using this middleware package.
Portia to Merrin
Integrated Portia with the Merrin trading system for a major New York bank.