ING Model Bank: Customer-Centric Integration to Remain Competitive

How does banking middleware evolve with the times to offer new services to customers and stay competitive globally? ING Model Bank underwent this transformation by using WSO2’s integration platform to perform key functions, as it sought to ensure information integrity and security, high performance, and superior customer experiences.

Traditionally, banks have big hosts given the complexity of systems and the number of processes that need to be supported. Yet to adapt to customers’ evolving needs (and new services), such systems have to change. Transforming banking middleware stacks begin with identifying three main problems and altering approaches used to tackle them:

  • Oversimplification – avoid oversimplification. Be ready to manage an “in motion” architecture and learn to design for changes (lowering costs in the process as well).
  • Big migration – apart from consuming resources, big migrations freeze an organization’s capacity to respond to customer needs. Learn to design for micro-changes instead.
  • Separating customer needs from technology – customer needs evolve, and technology must support this and processes must be linked accordingly.

A common solution to the above is to use the Bus pattern, which is a mix of the Canonical Data Model and Common Command Set, with a common communication mechanism. Implementing a Bus pattern can be done using either a broker or broker-less approach. While both these approaches have their advantages, they also have several drawbacks such as adding delays and complexity to the deployment. In such a context, Miguel Garcia, an enterprise architect at ING Model Bank, advocates using a hybrid model: “It’s by far the simpler approach.” The hybrid model has the best of both broker and broker-less approaches, and can be deployed in common scenarios faced worldwide. ING uses WSO2 integration technology (WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus and WSO2 Message Broker), by creating one common BUS created on REST and EVENT APIs managing interactions between all applications (or components).

“We use WSO2 as a broker because we really like the simplicity,” says Miguel. By using WSO2 ESB, ING is able to deploy APIs automatically from their development lifecycle using Swagger definitions with zero down-time. Integration is also accelerated by the ESB’s ability to provide API prototyping using scripting. Having successfully transformed using WSO2’s integration capabilities, Miguel also shares some best practices for undertaking similar projects:

  • In-depth knowledge of the product (such as how it manages interactions in complex scenarios) is essential for deriving the best possible benefits from the product.
  • Use the latest version of the product.
  • Use a clear templating system for traceability, monitoring and logging.
  • Clear definition of the common message and its properties to manage messages.

To find out more about these best practices, watch Miguel’s presentation:

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