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RBS Systems Crash-Again!


Morgellons

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Mar 24, 2012
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Last night the Royal Bank of Scotland IT systems crashed again, meaning customers couldn't get their cash. They own Ulster Bank too. I don't know if Ulster Bank systems were affected, there's nothing on the website as of yet.

Millions left without money as RBS systems crash - Telegraph

You would have thought they would have sorted out the IT issued from last time around.

mods, I kow there's an Ulster Bank thread somewhere but I just couldn't find it.
 

flibbles

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Jun 12, 2011
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My Ulster Bank online banking is still working, so for now it's UK only.
 

Sync

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RBS said all services had returned to normal at 0100 GMT but some customers still could not access their accounts
To point out the obvious boys, if some customers can't get into their accounts then service has not returned to normal. Honestly, their IT people need a smack.
 

Orbit v2

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There needs to be a smooth and practical process where a bank's license can be taken off them, so that the shareholders can be burned and the bank sold off to another entity who knows how to operate IT reliably. RBS should be the test case.
 

Aindriu

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To point out the obvious boys, if some customers can't get into their accounts then service has not returned to normal. Honestly, their IT people need a smack.
It is their own damn fault for outsourcing so much of their systems support to India. Last year they were frantically running around trying to take on staff that they had previously given compulsory redundancy too in order to fix that debacle.
 

TheWexfordInn

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Hmm, maybe their idea to outsource the experienced core IT development team over to India as a cost-cutting measure wasn't such a good idea after all. Who'da thunk it?
Oops looks like Aindriu was reading my mind.
 

Mad as Fish

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It's perhaps wise to remember that whenever we hear the phrase 'joined up government' what is meant is that we all become units on a vast state database which of course will never leak, will never be hacked, will be totally secure and will never crash.

RBS's woes might just cause our lords and masters to stop and think, not that thinking has ever been their strong point.
 
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Hmm, maybe their idea to outsource the experienced core IT development team over to India as a cost-cutting measure wasn't such a good idea after all. Who'da thunk it?
Oops looks like Aindriu was reading my mind.
Last year's problem wasn't down to out-sourcing. It was a domestic screw up.
 

Sync

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It is their own damn fault for outsourcing so much of their systems support to India. Last year they were frantically running around trying to take on staff that they had previously given compulsory redundancy too in order to fix that debacle.
The problem wasn't the outsourcing, it was planning. Hester himself confirmed as much. They spent too much developing new apps/services and neglected the existing infrastructure. The telegraph tried blaming India IIRC but it was without evidence and really, if you write a story for the Telegraph and don't blame a foregin country then you've had a bad day behind the typewriter.


"RBS has seen a big mushrooming in spending on technology. With hindsight maybe a bit more of that increase in spend should have been in the core taken-for-granted systems that work every day. Some of our focus was on the new things people want,
 
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The problem wasn't the outsourcing, it was planning. Hester himself confirmed as much. They spent too much developing new apps/services and neglected the existing infrastructure. The telegraph tried blaming India IIRC but it was without evidence and really, if you write a story for the Telegraph and don't blame a foregin country then you've had a bad day behind the typewriter.
The problem was with their scheduling package - CA7. They upgraded to a new version but noticed serious degraded performance over the weekend and decided to roll back to the previous version while they investigated the issue.

The problem was that the new version had reformatted the control files used as input to the schedules. CA had anticipated this and had provided a patch to be applied to the old version which would allow it to use the new format in the event of a rollback (a standard practice in the industry). Applying that patch was a documented step in the upgrade. Someone in Edinburgh failed to do that.
 

Sync

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And news this morning that Ulster customers have and are still being affected.

This is obviously a terrible visual fr the company, but internally it must be like getting punched in the gut. They've done a huge amount of work on this, put a lot of money and a lot of hours and...this happens. We've all worked on projects when things just fall apart despite your best efforts, it's an ordeal.

But back in the real world: There's no real reason to continue banking with these guys. They can't provide a stable service, all the other banks can.
 
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And news this morning that Ulster customers have and are still being affected.

This is obviously a terrible visual fr the company, but internally it must be like getting punched in the gut. They've done a huge amount of work on this, put a lot of money and a lot of hours and...this happens. We've all worked on projects when things just fall apart despite your best efforts, it's an ordeal.

But back in the real world: There's no real reason to continue banking with these guys. They can't provide a stable service, all the other banks can.
The bad news for Ulster Bank customers is that they are lowest in the pecking order for RBS.

In the banking industry IT is a major issue. Every time there is a merger or acquisition, IT systems have to be merged. Or not. It's almost impossible to merge legacy systems which have built-in dependencies to a host of packages. Thus you see banks running different security packages and different database sub-systems side by side. It can be very difficult to manage.

I see it everywhere I work.
 

Mad as Fish

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And news this morning that Ulster customers have and are still being affected.

This is obviously a terrible visual fr the company, but internally it must be like getting punched in the gut. They've done a huge amount of work on this, put a lot of money and a lot of hours and...this happens. We've all worked on projects when things just fall apart despite your best efforts, it's an ordeal.

But back in the real world: There's no real reason to continue banking with these guys. They can't provide a stable service, all the other banks can.
So far.

I bet they are all crossing themselves and thanking their lucky stars it's not them.
 

Analyzer

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This time the staff involved were presumably not watching grownups chasing a polystyrene lump around a field.
 
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So far.

I bet they are all crossing themselves and thanking their lucky stars it's not them.
That's the attitude I detect among my clients.

One customer expressed it well to me several years ago:

"Nobody said that the bear danced badly. They wondered at the fact that it danced at all."

Some banks run very slick and sophisticated IT operations, but others make me shudder.
 

Sync

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Some banks run very slick and sophisticated IT operations, but others make me shudder.
It's very much the new banks who have those slick systems. If you're starting up tomorrow it would be an admittedly complex task of having one central system managing all your products, keeping all data etc etc, but it's entirely doable.

The issue as you pointed out is the legacy apps which the banks are having to cobble together with bandaids and stickey tape.
 

Aindriu

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I bank with Ulster Bank and have had no issues logging in online on both their web app and their phone app this morning.
 

TheWexfordInn

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The problem wasn't the outsourcing, it was planning. Hester himself confirmed as much.
Well its not that surprising that the people who are responsible for the outsourcing say that it was nothing to do with the outsourcing.
I admit to having no knowledge of the particular systems involved in this and last years crashes but I have worked on the IT systems in both RBS (as a consultant) and Natwest (as an employee) and the industry people I have discussed last years crashes with who know about the current internal situation in RBS are firmly of the opinion that this would never have happened if outsourcing didn't occur. Then again there is always the argument that these people are as compromised as Hester in providing their slant but I can only go on what I have been told by people who appear to know what they are talking about.
 

Orbit v2

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From an outsider's point of view, it shouldn't matter whether it was caused by outsourcing or not. Someone needs to step back and look at what the core business of a bank is. They are supposed to mind your money for you, and give it back when you want it. if they can't do that, then the management/owners of a bank need to pay a hefty penalty.
 

TheWexfordInn

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RBS and Natwest banking systems are down again. Bank customers have been unable to withdraw cash or pay by card for a number of hours. No news from the bank as to when they will be working again. Those IT guys who were made redundant must be now laughing nearly as much as those bank executives were laughing at the bonuses they paid themselves with the savings they made outsourcing the jobs to India.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest customers are unable to access online or phone banking services while others report that they cannot pay by card or via PayPal.
RBS and Natwest Customers Suffer from Online Banking, ATMs, Debit Payments Outage - IBTimes UK
 
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