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 حل واجب T306A الصيفي 2014 -- T306A TMA- Summer 2014

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مُساهمةموضوع: حل واجب T306A الصيفي 2014 -- T306A TMA- Summer 2014   الثلاثاء يوليو 15, 2014 3:47 am

Arab Open University
Faculty of Business Studies, KWB
T306A TMA- Summer 2014

                                         

Please read these instructions carefully. However, contact your tutor in case any difficulties with the instructions. You should submit your completed assignment to your tutor no later than August 9, 2014.

Read the following case and then answer all the questions that follow.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) – All the data under the sun
NBK was formed almost 60 years ago to meet the needs of the Kuwaiti business community. To ensure that it continues to be relevant, in recent years it has undergone a comprehensive IT facelift, a central part of which has been a total revamp of its BI system. Turning your back on customers can prove fatal. It’s hardly groundbreaking news, but sadly the world of commerce is littered with examples of those that ignored the blindingly obvious and paid the price. Legend has it that when the British Bank of the Middle East (BBME) in Kuwait rejected a prominent local merchant’s request to open a Letter of Guarantee for 10,000 Indian Rupees (which is equivalent today to about 750 KWD or $2600) it could hardly have expected what was to follow. The merchant was so infuriated by this apparently unreasonable refusal that he made sure the news spread far and wide. The response, following much discussion within the business community, was to form a national bank that would prioritise Kuwaiti needs and help the economic growth of the country. To this end, an Amiri decree was issued on 19th May 1952 to open the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). It commenced operations six months later and is now the largest private sector institution in Kuwait, having built up market share of almost 40 per cent. BBME, on the other hand, was bought out by HSBC in 1959; the name was consigned to the history books, its new owner having steered it to a better place under the auspices of its Saudi British Bank affiliate group.
In 2009, Global Finance magazine named NBK as one of the world’s 50 safest banks. In pure financial terms, by year-end 2008, it was posting $10.27 billion of assets under management and claimed a market capitalisation of $11.2 billion.
Its banking activities have grown to cover all areas, including retail banking, corporate banking and international trade, as well as investment banking and private banking. Products and services are managed through NBK’s homeland HQ and branches and its network of subsidiaries in 14 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and South East Asia.
NBK intends to keep hold of its credibility, mindful of what can happen, directly or indirectly, at the hands of poor customer service, and has gone out of its way to deliver an enterprise-wide data system to keep it on track.
An important milestone – and the turning point for NBK’s IT strategy – revealed it in 2003, recalls Hani Khalil, enterprise architect for NBK’s IT division. It started, he says, with the realisation that NBK needed to replace its core business and technology systems, the awareness of a systems shortfall at that time fuelled by the possibilities being afforded to go-ahead banks by the economic boom and expansion of financial markets globally. ‘Our priorities, or shall I say our dependencies, were evolved from our core strategy and vision to revamp our core capabilities,’ explains Khalil. Indeed, given NBK group’s mission to establish a leadership position across the region, it initiated an enterprise transformation project – codenamed Shorouq (Arabic for sunrise) – to revamp its business processes and IT infrastructure. The IT transformation project would include a full revamp of its core systems and, pertinent to its customer focus, all associated decision support tools – with more than a passing nod to Business Intelligence (BI). ‘The Shorouq programme was envisaged as a long-term enterprise technology architecture and IT strategy,’ notes Khalil. NBK has a full project roadmap that started in 2004 and will run until 2012 for application and data related projects. ‘As part of the programme, we formed an enterprise programme division to deliver this project in four major phases.’ The decision was taken to use a partner model to support this delivery, bringing in specialist application and technology vendors where required. Each element of Shorouq was aligned with the overall NBK business strategy.
Following intense discussion, the resultant enterprise architecture plan comprised three main streams as enablers for achieving the IT strategy: core system changes; the building of an SOA-driven integration platform; and the delivery of a BI system as part of fluid information architecture. A new Operational Data Store (ODS) – effectively a data warehouse – would consolidate data from across the enterprise and provide NBK with the ability to drive all of its enterprise BI and information requirements, and support all decisions out of one place. Befitting a bank that knew what it wanted, the project had a definite modus operandi from the word go. ‘As a part of Shorouq, we strategically decided to run all three streams in parallel, as opposed to the conventional waterfall approach of first implementing the integration platform, then implementing the core system, and finally investing in BI strategies and tools,’ says Khalil. NBK chose a number of vendors to cover the three project areas ‘as enablers for this journey’. India-based BI solutions specialist, iCreate was drafted in to help form and execute the BI strategy. iCreate was chosen because it had ‘knowledge and experience in the core banking system space – especially in the emerging market context – as well as the BI aspects of a bank’, explains Khalil. ‘This helped us keep the BI streams in line with all other critical tracks.’ iCreate, he adds, was ‘essential in delivering this successful vision’. Praise indeed, but success in this field comes with hard work from all parties. Unsurprisingly, the team had a clear target in sight. The existing system, prior to the Shorouq initiative, was completely ‘locked in’ to a mainframe platform which, over time, had become ‘a home for many custom applications’, serving the changing business needs of the bank. ‘The applications and systems were in a state where maintenance and further enhancements were becoming costly and slow,’ admits Khalil. The desire for NBK to grow required the implementation of what he describes as solutions based on ‘industry-standard best practices’. The key systems that were identified as being in need of full replacement were the core retail banking solution, trade finance, payment cards and the general ledger. ‘The decision to implement specialist systems for each of these functions brought with it a challenge of data consolidation,’ notes Khalil. In fact, the need to run a complementary BI programme to consolidate data across the systems was, in part, born out of the realisation that these specialist systems would not necessarily integrate at a data level, nor therefore align with NBK’s vision of enterprise-wide BI. However, implementing individual specialist components ‘allowed us to carry out the BI initiative in a piecemeal approach, yet still based on a solid foundation for achieving the final vision for NBK’s BI,’ explains Khalil. That vision, he adds, was to ensure that data quality and high availability could be maintained, to enable effective business operations, decision-making and reporting. ‘I can say that our key drivers within the BI initiative were good risk management, customer-centric marketing, increased demand of regulatory reporting and the integration of the regional branches of NBK. In NBK terminology, what was being sought was the single version of the truth.’ In order to make real this vision, Khalil’s team evaluated a number of BI technology options and, in consultation with iCreate, finally decided to deploy the Microsoft-based BI toolset because of its ‘low total cost of ownership’, as well as the fact that it would align with NBK’s strategy for channel and data management. SAP Business Objects software was also chosen to cover operational reporting as the vendor’s distribution and access were felt to be in line with the needs of the bank. With the various strands of the project getting underway simultaneously, iCreate’s knowledge of core banking systems was tested straight away, needing to source the data from the multiple systems to feed the BI initiative and, of course, the ODS. ‘We worked with iCreate to build the BI infrastructure and foundation,’ explains Khalil. ‘Some of these frameworks in the BI space are now found in the ODS, the retail banking data marts, and the enterprise reporting and distribution – and we had additional help from them in building data-related architectural components.’ Khalil comments that NBK’s partnership with iCreate has enabled the ‘seamless integration’ of the bank’s various systems for core banking, trade finance, card management, and legacy mainframe banking – along with a variety of other departmental systems – into the single enterprise ODS. The ODS was deployed on an MS SQL server. ‘We have used the ETL [extract, transform, load] tools within the SQL server umbrella to enable this project and, of course, we use the SAP Business Objects tools for reporting and distribution of information,’ he notes, clearly quite satisfied with the progress.
One of the first tasks from phase one, starting in Q2 2005 and completing in Q4 2005, was to migrate core data from NBK’s legacy applications to the new ODS using the ETL tool. This, says Khalil, was to ensure that all data was streamlined into the bank’s daily operations. Phase one of the migration continued with the ETL of existing management, operational and regulatory reporting data from those legacy systems to the new ODS. This duly started in Q1 2006 and was completed in Q4 that same year. The second project phase continued the migration into the ODS of all management, operational and regulatory reporting data from legacy systems but also covered ETL of data into the ODS from the other systems newly implemented under Shorouq. As well as TCS’s Bancs, the list included ACI’s Base24 EFTPOS and card system, and the CSI Banktrade trade finance system. This started in Q4 2006 and completed in Q2 2007. An enterprise-wide deployment of the SAP Business Objects solution for users was completed for the majority of the user community in Q1 2007, having kicked off in Q1 2005. From Q2 2007 to Q4 2007, the streamlining of the daily extract operations was carried out. From Q1 2008 to the end of the year, a data mart project was formally established to lay down the Management Information Systems (MIS) framework and platform. This included a complete enterprise data model for the delivery of consumer retail products and the customer mart, with data extraction from the legacy ODS side and from the new ODS. ‘This helps us ensure data consistency and integrity between the current operational data and final migrated data in the last phase of the programme,’ explains Khalil. The first two major project phases have now been delivered, with iCreate having played a major guiding role in each of these. An additional project milestone is expected to be delivered by the middle of this year, with the last of the four scheduled phases due for completion before the end of the year. The data integration project has had its share of challenges, but Khalil states that the team has been able to overcome each one ‘without any significant impacts on timelines or cost’. As an example of an area where matters could have come unstuck, he recalls that the legacy systems and their lack of proper documentation ‘formed a hurdle to the speed of analysis and transformation into the new models of technologies’. However, he notes, ‘using various techniques such as reverse engineering and ground-up analysis helped us overcomes these issues’. In terms of delivery of usable BI, NBK has successfully put in place processes to roll out functional solutions for its various user groups within the organisation. It has carried out a controlled roll out in the consumer banking group – ‘with good results’, claims Khalil. ‘We have more plans with the consumer banking group and other groups such as credit and corporate banking as well as risk management,’ he adds. The strategy of roll-out started with the main locations and then expanded to include all regional offices. Currently, the majority of systems are live in all country locations with ‘limited functionality’.
The project team continues to keep a close eye on performance as data volumes increase. In response, it makes ‘minor modifications to continuously improve the performance of the system’. So far, states Khalil, ‘we have not discovered any major deficiencies or limitations’. This good fortune he primarily attributes to ‘the rigorous technical design and planning that the team went through’. He adds that NBK and its technology team are sure that there is more to come from the system in terms of the final vision of making the bank’s systems and infrastructure agile and responsive to all market changes. In terms of overall project progress to date, Khalil says that ‘we have successfully managed to stay on course with our vision’. TCS Bancs, for example, is live on some of the modules (including loans and term deposits and a partial realisation of the CIF). By the end of June it is anticipated that NBK should be live with everything else in this strand, bar the corporate lending module. In the BI zone, whilst some elements are still to be rolled out, Khalil notes that what has been done to date ‘is already starting to exceed the expectations’ of the user community. ‘As we are still in the penultimate phase of implementation, the focus is more on delivering functionality and easing roll-out pains, rather than on performance or other such system health indicators,’ he explains. ‘However, we will review the completeness of our solution and implementation with each passing phase.’ The bank will validate the outcome and continue to compare and contrast usable functions to expected results. It will also be looking for the all-important ROI. To continue the journey, Khalil believes that working with trusted and experienced partners ‘such as iCreate’ in the area of BI is the right strategy. In this way, NBK’s banking personnel can continue to focus on their core business while NBK’s technology and implementation partners are able to get on with the implementation of the vision and strategy for enterprise technology.

Questions:


1. Critique the relevance and suitability of hard or soft approach in highlighting issues faced by NBK. (20% marks)

2. Apply the Soft Systems Method to this NBK situation case, including rich picture and conceptual mapping in order to brainstorm, analyse and make suitable recommendations. Provide a detailed narrative explaining your thinking process. (60% marks)

3. Investigate further suitable approaches and tools that could be used to investigate, illustrate and make recommendation to solving problems. Please consult all your course materials and undertake relevant literature search. (20% marks)

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