M&T recognized the need to enable real-time information flow between their core banking systems and hybrid cloud applications. Leveraging Z DIH, M&T embarked on an application modernization journey to deliver more accurate business outcomes and a better user experience.
M&T was searching for a faster, more efficient and flexible way to share core banking information with hybrid cloud applications and key personnel such as business analysts and data scientists—without disruption to their core banking application stacks.
M&T collaborated with IBM on a Z Digital Integration Hub (Z DIH) engagement to modernize their z/OS® applications for an event-driven architecture. This would enable real-time account information flow to downstream consumers, such as M&T’s payment decisioning application, as well as business analysts, data scientists and other consuming applications.
Billions of transactions occur online every day. With increasing volumes and the need to share data in the digital space, financial institutions such as M&T—one of the largest commercial bank holding companies in the U.S.—are expected to process and communicate banking information with high levels of speed and accuracy.
Previously, M&T conducted periodic bulk transfers in which large volumes of raw data were moved between core systems and functions, such as a payment decisioning application. The data elements then had to be aggregated and blended to create intelligible account information to be used by the payment decisioning application. This process took several hours to complete, resulting in various banking workloads consuming outdated information.
M&T also wanted to make core deposit information more readily available and consumable for their application developers, data scientists and business analysts. The complex data structures and formats associated with the core banking system meant that creating and modifying new applications could take over six weeks, even for minor changes.
Application developers had to work with multiple teams to access and interpret raw data elements before they could compose the necessary information in their applications. Similarly, data scientists and business analysts were unable to access core banking information for analysis without requesting a test bed be created from large data extracts specific to their project. M&T wanted to provide their employees with a self-service model in which information could be accessed on-demand without hindering production or affecting the bank’s core systems.
In search of a way to reduce information delays and make core banking information more accessible, M&T sought to enable their z/OS applications to follow an event-driven architecture that could generate current and consumable information without impacting day-to-day operations.
During a twelve-week collaborative engagement, IBM implemented a Z Digital Integration Hub (Z DIH) to compose and share current core banking information with other banking functions.
To begin this application modernization journey, M&T selected a payment decisioning application to continually consume core deposit information generated from the bank’s z/OS transactional environment. With event-processing capabilities in place, the payment decisioning application would be able to use the most current information from core banking transactions, thus consistently arriving at more accurate decisions.
Instead of periodically file transferring the full set of raw data to create this information, the Z DIH implementation continually consumes the transaction payload from core systems throughout the day and blends this with data from the bank’s overnight batch reconciliation process. As a result, the payment decisioning application always has access to current information for more accurate outcomes.
“Without this pilot and collaborative approach, our collective organizations would not have achieved the great outcomes we did,” says Plew.
Since the Z DIH cache implemented during the pilot stores core banking information rather than unintelligible raw data elements, relevant data is easier to access and can be reused in a variety of scenarios by users. Business analysts and data scientists can leverage the intra-day cache in a self-service model, which minimizes interference with core banking systems.
As a result of the Z DIH pilot, M&T is able to efficiently share core deposit information with sub-second accuracy, whereas previously core deposit information could be 3 hours stale. Relevant information is continually computed, ensuring functions such as the payment decisioning application have current account information to more accurately approve or deny payments, mitigating risk and potential fraud. Because Z DIH runs completely on z/OS, application modernization and data co-location can be accomplished with relative ease, reducing information delays and compliance risks. Z DIH also provides cost benefits from the efficient use of specialty engines (known as zIIPs) and the ability to drive query processing to Z DIH instead of core applications exclusively.
Leveraging Z DIH reduced the data-driven project timeline by 40 percent in cases where data mapping and testing were a large factor. “Once we populate and synchronize the data caches from our systems of record, the self-service capabilities of Z DIH allow our business and technology partners to build capabilities without cross-team dependencies,” says Plew. The core banking information in the Z DIH intra-day cache is intelligible and reusable for other use cases and applications, so a consuming application no longer needs to generate custom information from raw data elements.
The caches can also be accessed by application developers, business analysts and data scientists without requiring bulk data transfers or extraction from core systems. Through this self-service model, key personnel have the flexibility to perform their duties in a timely manner without impacting the systems crucial to the bank’s continuous operation. For example, business analysts can interact with the information in the Z DIH cache on-demand and with familiar tools to rapidly address client issues.
M&T Bank Corporation (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank.
The IBM Z DIH offering implements a business scenario during a short-term pilot engagement to facilitate application modernization and efficiently share current information between z/OS core systems and hybrid cloud applications.
You can learn more about IBM Z, the enterprise platform for mission-critical applications bringing next-level data privacy, security, and resiliency to your hybrid multicloud by visiting: https://www.ibm.com/support/z-content-solutions/z-digital-integration-hub/.
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