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Andera Launches SDK

January 20, 2011 1 comment

We were one of Andera’s first customers for their online account opening product. So far, the experience has been really good. They’ve always been open to suggestions and have a pretty quick turnaround. Well now they’ve released a SDK for their web services. While listening to the presentation, I could just imagine the potential uses.

A few that they mentioned dealt with verification of identity, credit and funding sources. This functionality could open doors for even better loan and account applications. With mobile becoming a bigger priority, being able to tie into these services could be a boon.

Some other examples they gave dealt with the gaming and travel industries. You could tell that they’ve put a lot of thought into this. The GUI for service looked really cool also.

I’m looking forward to working even closer with Andera in the future.

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K.I.S.S.

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

I came across an article on forbes.com recently called Why It’s Hard To Make Technology Simple.  The author talked about how most developers don’t want to develop complex software, but that they do because:
1. Software is developed by technologists, not normal people
2. The minimum required functionality is actually quite complex and
3. We all believe we like a variety of choices.

If this were 1995, I’d pretty much agree.  Software I wrote when I started my career was needlessly bloated.  But looking back, those features weren’t added because I thought they were cool, it was because someone wanted their favorite function added; something that would only be used once and then forgotten.

A prime example of this is the plethora of reports you find in software.  Honestly, 90% of reports are just an alternate view of your standard canned report.  There’s a reason software like Crystal Reports came into being; programmers got sick of writing inane reports (can you tell I have nightmares about writing reports?).

Nowadays, I probably spend more time trying to figure out how to make software simple to use.  It’s all about giving users what they need, not necessarily what they ask for.  I really enjoy taking complex business problems and turning them into simple software that quickly gets the job done.  The biggest compliment I get is when I hear someone say “that’s all I have to do?”

As we go forward, I believe technologists will continue to work towards simplifying technology.  The iPhone is the poster child for ease of use; music, photos, and apps in a phone that is wrapped into a simple interface. Yet, behind that pretty interface is a lot of complexity.  When it comes down to it, people want something that is easy to use and just works.


Categories: Development

No Know-How, No Order

January 20, 2009 4 comments

A few weeks ago The Bank Channel posted an article about banks getting their internet banking in order.  In the article they broke down the various barriers that banks face in upgrading their current offering.  While the list they had was thorough, there was only one problem, it didn’t include “know-how”.

There are 16,000+ banks and credit unions in the US.  I’d be surprised if more than 1% built their own IB system.  Also, going by what I’ve seen, most banks and credit unions don’t have much of a technical staff.  At most, a majority that do have technical people on staff have people that handle their core system and/or their servers and desktops.  Some may actually have a webmaster on staff.  I seriously doubt most have a software development team.

My current employer is one example of a bank that does have an in-house team.  Our E-Commerce department was formed from a software company subsidiary that was dissolved.  If not for owning that company, we wouldn’t have the expertise in-house to develop web applications.

As for developing an IB system, we have kicked that idea around.  But to be honest, we’re all working on so many other things that we don’t have the time to sit down and develop an IB system.  It was decided that the current vendors are “good enough”.  The same thing goes for new PFM systems.

One good thing about have web experience in-house is that we know, smell and can see “BS”.  Vendors’ excuses of how impossible a feature/function is to implement gets them an email of the pseudo-code of how to do it.  FYI, vendors don’t like it when you send them pseudo-code.

Now, because most banks and credit unions don’t have web developers, they are locked in to whatever their chosen vendor offers.  The best that they can do is make recommendations for features.  Ultimately, they are beholden to their vendor; and vendors know that banks don’t want to go through a lengthy conversion process.  As time goes on, it only becomes harder.   Changing your IB provider is now just as hard as changing your core because single sign-on is gaining in use.  Now if you change IB vendors, you have to make sure remote deposit capture, mobile banking, payroll systems, and PFM still works correctly.

One thing that I’ve seen is, it is really hard to develop these complex systems without a dedicated staff.  Sure, we could write the best IB and PFM system in the market, but we can’t dedicate our small staff to support these projects.  There is a reason that the majority of banks and credit unions buy their software.  In the greater scheme, an IB or PFM system is no different than the online account opening, online mortgage or commercial loan software.  In the end, all you can do is purchase the software that will best fill your needs and stay on the vendor to implement the features your customers want.

CodeGear + Ruby = Development Heaven

September 7, 2007 1 comment

CodeGear (Borland) has announced that they are releasing an IDE for Ruby. I’m a huge fan of Delphi so I’m really excited about this. I’ve always felt that Visual Studio was just an imitation of Delphi. This announcement could also help introduce Ruby to the enterprise. I just hope there is a Mac version since most Ruby developers develop on a Mac.

Categories: Development, Ruby