Do the various systems operating within your company speak the same language? Are customer IDs consistent? Are prices and quantities in standard formats (cases vs. individual units)? Are interest rates expressed in percentage points or basis points?
As companies and banks link their systems and share programming modules these seemingly minor details are causing major problems. An article in today's American Banker highlights the challenge of standardizing data terms. For example, as Bank of America consolidates its credit approval systems (it had 11) the bank is struggling to gain agreement between various business units on terminology:
Each of B of A’s “decisioning engines” is
specific to an individual product (such as credit cards or home equity
lines) or an individual channel (such as online banking or indirect
“To a large degree, the technological issues” for developing a
single system “have been solved,” Mr. Schmidt said. “It is more of a
business issue now. We still have lines of business, different
functional groups, still operating in silos.”
Yet another example of how the systems implementation and integration challenges are often not technical at all. The technology forces us to confront our underlying assumptions and re-think the way we do business. And it's the re-thinking and standardizing that challenges us.
A Challenge in Integration: Standardizing Terms
American Banker (subscription required)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
By Steve Bills