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
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. 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 Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...