Swedbank’s cost-effective key systems’ upgrade in cooperation with Euvic
24 July 2018
With Euvic’s assistance SwedBank, a leading bank operating in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, upgraded its key systems from the legacy Visual Basic 6 technology to the newest Visual Basic .NET. In this way the Bank decreased non-operational risk as regards its systems, ensuring that they made use of supported technology. The process was completed in line with the best practices and about 50 percent cheaper than using IT outsourcing services available in Sweden.
About the Client
Swedbank is a modern bank firmly rooted in Sweden’s savings bank history. With 7.2 million private and 600,000 corporate and organisational customers, Swedbank holds a leading position in its home markets of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As a major bank, it is a significant part of the financial system of these countries and plays an important role in the local communities it serves. To support its customers’ businesses, Swedbank also has operations in Norway, Finland, Denmark, the US, China, Luxembourg and South Africa. It employs about 14,000 staff in its branches throughout the world.
Migration became necessary in 2014 when Microsoft announced the official ending of support for Visual Basics 6. Swedbank decided to migrate all of its applications running on VB6 to Visual Basic .NET. As the Bank does not have its own internal resources to perform such a migration project, it began to look for an external partner, announcing a formal tender procedure and inviting the largest IT outsourcing providers operating both in Sweden and abroad.
Also Euvic was invited to Swedbank’s tender procedure. The first contacts between the companies were initiated shortly before in relation to Euvic’s commercial activities in Sweden.
“After the company’s presentation we realized that Euvic had vast experience in migration projects related to the technology of interest to us, well-developed work methodology and good credentials from other major clients and from Microsoft. This was so convincing that we decided to ask them to participate in our tender procedure,” said Gunnar Wilkstrom, Purchasing Manager at Swedbank.
The migration project involved 3 crucial applications that Swedbank uses to manage accounts and bank transactions, namely: Reconciliation, Temporary Postings, Rejected Transactions. They had a total of 262,000 lines of source code. For this reason the key criteria in the service provider selection included its competency in implementing large projects to migrate applications running on Visual Basics as well as project safety-related issues. Swedbank also wanted to obtain technical support for the upgraded applications. The price of the service was also important, but not crucial.
Swedbank received offers from all the companies invited to tender, including Euvic. Euvic’s offer included the demonstration of how it intended to use its migration tools in the project to automate part of the work, a sample of the code after migration and how the project would be implemented. It also presented a preliminary schedule.
“It was by far the best offer we received, in all respects, but the decisive factor was Euvic’s profound knowledge of complex projects and their proactive approach. They even answered our questions in an altered form if they thought they were insufficiently precise. We were positive that choosing them was the right decision,“ said Martina Akerlund, Business Project Manager at Swedbank, supervising the project from the business side.
The start of the project was preceded by a security audit of the environment in which the migration and maintenance work was to be carried out. Swedbank earlier presented its requirements in this regard and Euvic indicated those already satisfied and those that could be met later on. The audit confirmed that all the security requirements of Swedbank were fulfilled by Euvic (including the physical security of access to the data bank and the security of the software environment in which the project was to be implemented).
After the audit nothing stood in the way of starting the project. The project team formed by Euvic is made up of 6 specialists: 1 project manager, 4 developers and 1 tester. They cooperated with a designated employee of Swedbank, working based on the Agile (SCRUM) framework.
As a result ofthe project, the Reconciliation application was migratedfrom VB6toVB.NET, testedand thenimplemented in a production environment. Until now also the application TemporaryPostings has beenmigrated from VB6toVB.NETand tested. The project team prepared detaileddocumentation related to the work performed, including migration guidelinesand post-migration recommendations.
In the course of the project Euvic also developed additional tools for the automated code conversion to speed up the migration process. The work was carried out using the .NET Framework 4.5 and the latest version of Crystal Reports. The migration process is shown in the diagram below.
Figure 1 – A migration flow chart
“Although about 95 percent of all the work was done remotely, at Euvic’s location, all the time we had a sense of full control over the project, and we saw the effects of the work performed. It was possible thanks to the SCRUM framework based on which the project was carried out, as well as the ease of communication and cooperation with the Euvic project team,” said Caroline Stark, Project Manager on the IT side at Swedbank.
Plans for this year include the implementation of the Temporary Postings application and the migration of the last system, Rejected Transactions. Both companies also want to extend further the scope of services provided to Swedbank by Euvic.
Upgraded applications using supported technology
Thanks to the project Swedbank migrated its critical applications from Visual Basic 6 to Visual Basic .NET. In this way the Bank achieved its main objective which was to maintain a modern technology in its key applications and hence also the support for the technology provided by the manufacturer.
Full control over the project
All the project work has been carried out in accordance with the approved schedule, without any unexpected events. Maintaining full control over the project was also facilitated by its implementation in the SCRUM framework which provided the possibility of a permanent co-participation in the ongoing work and monitoring the results.
Swedbank’s satisfaction with the way the project was carried out is also confirmed by the results of a satisfaction survey conducted by Euvic after the completion of the first phase of the project. According to it, 69 percent of Swedbank staff involved in the project was satisfied or very satisfied with the communication in the project. 31 percent (4 people) didn’t respond to this question. 61 percent of Swedbank staff was satisfied or very satisfied with the way Euvic carried out the development work. 31 percent (4 people) didn’t respond to this question, and 8 percent (1 person) was dissatisfied.
Although cost-effectiveness wasn’t the decisive factor for choosing an IT outsourcing partner, Euvic proved that it could provide high service quality at a competitive price, being about 50 percent less expensive than the Sweden-based IT outsourcing providers competing for this project. The cost-effectiveness of the project was also driven by the way the project was carried out. Good organization and the use of tools that partially automated work contributed to reducing the involvement of Swedbank IT staff to about 40 man-days (compared to 150 man-days of Euvic’s team involvement).
Better performance of the upgraded application
The upgraded and implemented Reconciliation application has been running in a production environment for several months now. During that time there was 1 reported incident. Euvic maintenance team removed these errors in 8 hours. Both in terms of the number of reported incidents and the speed of response it is a better result than before the upgrade.
“We chose Euvic for several reasons. One of them was the attractive price, but that was not a major reason. The decisive factor was this supplier’s profound knowledge of complex projects and their proactive approach. Our cooperation has proved that Euvic not only has high quality technical delivery skills but is also very easy to work with thanks to good employee thinking, open communication, flexibility and proactivity,” said Martina Akerlund, Business Project Manager at Swedbank, supervising the project from the business side.back