Every year, the annual standards release ensures that the messages exchanged by SWIFT users remain suitable for the business areas in which they are used. The Standards Release has a global impact on information systems across the financial services industry. The annual Standards Release deployed for FIN messages, impacts institutions at different levels, from the interface used to connect to SWIFT to back-office applications, to business flows and processes.
The consequences for each user depend on a number of variables. Some changes are mandatory for all users. Others may only affect a limited number of customers, depending on geography and specific business use of SWIFT messaging.
The standards release for 2015 includes:
- Several changes due to new regulations
- Changes to support the requirements of local markets
- New features to support evolving business processes and new financial instruments
- The clarification of definitions to promote greater message consistency and improved automation
Standards Release Impact Assessment
Bruno Achermann who leadsStandards & Provider Management Operations, Zurcher Kantonalbank (KZB) is responsible for ensuring that the standards release changes are implemented. Achermann decided to opt for a SWIFT ‘Standards Release Impact Assessment' provided by our Consulting Services team to help with resource planning. "I was able to see at a glance how many change requests applied to each of the messages. I could then allocate a set of priorities to one of the business engineers, estimate what resources would be needed to complete the changes in ZKB's systems and, importantly, check that our software provider was aligned with the work they had to complete for the release", he explained. The creation of a report by the SWIFT Consulting Services team not only provided a high level overview of the forthcoming Standards Release, but also assessed the bank's 2013 traffic and mapped the forthcoming changes in SWIFT'S FIN messages to the actual message usage by ZKB.
Our experience has been a positive one, we saved time and allocated resources more efficiently. We were also able to set out in the knowledge that we had established the right priorities and, at the same time, could better manage the internal expectations of our business managers.
To find out more read our case study ‘Making business sense of the SWIFT Standards Release' on www.swift.com/services.
Challenge of a Standards Release
"The challenge of a Standards Release varies according to the size of an institution'', said Achermann. "At the one end are the large banks with considerable in-house IT teams and specialist SWIFT expertise 'on tap'. At the other end of the scale, many small banks simply outsource the operation of their SWIFT functionality to a large third party provider. There is, however, a large swathe of institutions in the middle such as ZKB."
Based on the scope of your organisation; SWIFT offers a number of additional solutions to choose from including MyStandards and the Standards Release Patch Installation. These SWIFT Services solutions enable transitioning to the new Standards release simple and easy for all customers.
MyStandards is an impactful tool to help manage the Standards Release process using a powerful set of change management and impact analysis features. This can significantly reduce manual effort and reduce the risk of missing an important change.
Marc Delbaere, head of MyStandards affirms that "MyStandards is effectively tackling two standards-related industry issues: variation and change. The Standards Release is the best example of the latter. By simplifying the story at the source and providing the right tools to the industry, we believe we can significantly decrease the implementation costs across the industry." MyStandards proposes an end-to-end approach to handling the Standards Release, from the initial analysis to the customer roll-out. Find out more [here].
Standards Upgrade (Standards Release patch installation)
The process around the Standards Release upgrade often adds an extra burden on operations departments. As noted by Johan Limborgh (Services & Support manager, EMEA) "A few days before the Standards Release support staff notice a sharp increase in calls for assistance where clients are facing issues pertaining to migrating to the new standards." A new proactive support option from SWIFT, can provide further peace of mind as we provide complete end to end support to successfully complete the Standards Release patch installation (Download the Standards Upgrade factsheet). "The Standards Release patch installation is a great option to consider because a SWIFT expert will perform a remote installation of the Standards Release patch on your Alliance Access / Entry environment. The Standards Release patch therefore helps mitigate the preparation, installation and post processing activities which customers encounter around the annual Message Standards patch installation."
For a more in-depth discussion on how SWIFT can help you build your institutions strategic and tactical implementation roadmap for the Standards Release 2015 or other standards related projects, contact your Account Manager.