Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

ColdFusion to the Rescue

A stopgap solution saves the day

In the 21st century business environment, companies live and die by their fat and bogus enterprise applications. New mega-industry groups have been created not only to develop these applications, but deploy, support, and train.

Nigeria is not left out of these influences. The banking industry in Nigeria is a typical example. Every bank in the country runs massive core banking applications such as Finacle from Infosys, FlexCube from Iflex (an Oracle company), Bankmaster, Phoenix, Equations, Globus, etc. These apps are expensive, clunky, and terribly difficult to use. Of all these, the cost of support, training, and hardware requirements are most annoying. Deploying any of these applications would set any organization back no less than a million dollars and it could take between eight months to four years to install. Additional user licenses could run as high as $2,000.

The cost would have been easier to account for if the ancillary cost didn't build up so fast. In terms of usability, organizations spend a lot training users how to use these apps. They usually build their processes around their idiosyncrasies instead of the other way round.

Access Bank is a typical example of a Nigerian enterprise that has deployed some of these applications. Access Bank was incorporated in 1989 as a commercial bank. It was a small fringe player until March 2002 when it was taken over by a new set of owners led by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe. At that time, the bank was running FlexCube 4.3. Either because the bank, before the new management came in, didn't implement it well, or for some other reason, FlexCube was anything but flexible. It was slow, buggy, and not user-friendly. However, in delivering its vision of transforming Access Bank into a world-class financial services provider, the new management knew it had to upgrade the banking application to the latest version. And like all enterprise applications, it would take time, cost a lot, and everyone had to be well trained.

Since customers couldn't wait for the FlexCube upgrade before getting superior customer service (why else would a customer stay with a bank when he could get better service from a competitor down the road?), the IT department was saddled with the responsibility of finding temporary solutions while the upgrade project was handed over to a project implementation team.

Like other banking applications, FlexCube 4.3 was a three-tier application with an Oracle 8i database, an application server running the business logic, and client interfaces. Since bottlenecks were at the client and application server, it was apparent that any solution must bypass the trouble spots to deliver speedy response to end users.

Specifically, the proposed temporary solution should be able to deliver all customer, account, and transaction information seamlessly to account officers and back-office staff without needing to install client-side applications. The solution must be web-based. Moreover, it must be cheap and cost-effective since it would just be ad hoc. Ad hoc because at that time it was thought that the solution would be discontinued once the FlexCube upgrade was in.

Immediately, the IT group swung into action. A slew of technologies were considered. ASP was dropped because it was considered legacy. ASP.NET was almost chosen because it came from Microsoft, was mature, and would plug well into the existing infrastructure. However, the cost of add-ons to provide functionalities such as charting, PDF generation, etc. was way beyond budget.

ColdFusion was considered. Everyone was initially put off by the price, especially when competing technologies were basically free. However, by the time the capabilities that ColdFusion could provide straight out of the box were considered dollar for dollar against ASP, JSP, ASP.NET, etc., it was obvious it was the clear winner.

ColdFusion was discovered to have the shallowest learning curve among these products. Its rapid application development paradigm was also way beyond the others.

The bank made a decision. A proprietary framework similar to Mach-II was developed. The first batch of modules was released to the staff in less than two weeks flat. This was achievable because there was no need to integrate expensive third-party middleware for PDF generation, charting, and LDAP. The most amazing thing was that only a short mail was sent out describing what the application could do. There was no need for expensive training because the interfaces and workflows were very user-friendly and extremely intuitive.

The benefits Access Bank derived from this adventure were manifold. The most important being that it was able to live up to its service delivery standard to the customers. The reality is that customers don't know and don't care what core application the bank uses. What matters is the quality of service they get.

Another benefit was that for the level of service delivered, the ColdFusion application was cheaper, more efficient, faster, and easier to use.

Overall, the application's return on investment (ROI) was the best the bank has ever seen. The total cost of deployment was less than 10 user licenses to the core banking application. Because all non-transactional activities were migrated to it, user licenses were only bought for the back-office staff, reducing the total cost of using the core banking application itself.

After this, the bank systematically developed other applications around the first one. The initial application, called Infopool, has now become the platform on which the bank is running almost all its processes. These include the bank's Web site, employee/self-service portal, the stock broking platform, etc.

Unlike other large organizations, especially other banks in Nigeria, Access Bank has discovered that implementing smart applications can complement core banking applications and reduce the total cost of business. All these would not have been possible without Adobe ColdFusion.

Other Information
Access Bank runs ColdFusion MX 7 Enterprise on three ML350 servers on Windows 2000 Enterprise Servers.

More Stories By Adédèjì Olówè

Adedeji Olowe, a business intelligence expert, has been using ColdFusion for several years. He has experience developing and extending enterprise applications for companies in the financial industry as well as systems integration.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant th...