Re: Train of thought
Comment of the week!
On the fourth day of a IT systems choke-up that has left customers unable to access money and in some cases unable to buy food or travel, Natwest and RBS – which both belong to the RBS group – still have no idea when the issues will be fixed. A spokesperson said the banking group had been working overnight to fix the problems …
whilst an hour or two outage would be dismissed by the courts as "reasonable" within the banks T&Cs (which will try to remove any liability from the bank for any loss due to it's actions), I suspect a 4 day outage would be considered unreasonable, and consequential losses *will* be awarded.
Just the thought of the hundreds of claims through the courts, and having to argue each one on merit should keep the lawyers on the toilets for the next decade.
Once the final liablity has been costed, I wonder it IT staff will seem quite so expendable on a risk/return assesment. We need a bewigged icon with the caption "wait till the lawyers get there"
suppose a business has been unable to access it's account, and pay a supplier, and as a result they go bankrupt ?
Supposing, thanks to their incompetence, I am unable to pay for my cars service, and therefore can't get to a business meeting ?
As I said, T&Cs can be used to protect you from consequential losses, in reasonable circumstances. A 4 day, unplanned, unannounced outage is not reasonable in my book, not I suspect would the high court find so either.
I am taking your comment at face value. I apologise if you were being ironic.
I worked for a building society on mortgage systems and in a decade, we once serious outage, where the system went down for nearly a whole day because of a disk crash. Our overnight update was built up of a series of jobs for different purposes, each creating daily transaction records, with one program at the end that applied them all. The benefit was that if someone buggered up one of the overnight update programs, the rest would still get through, and the program that applied the transactions almost never changed.
A relative once had to pay a day's interest on the price of a house because the payments transfer system caused his completion to fail. The bank wriggled out of its liability citing T&Cs. The glitch was only a few tens of minutes, late in the banking day. Mercifully the person whose house he was buying did let him move in, even though he hadn't yet paid for it.
But I doubt that the bank could escape liability for *several* days' failure and interest. If they try, the lawyers sure as hell *will* be involved. Wonder if it affects hundred-M completions as well as hundred-k completions?
They won't start. BPO and ITO vendors write and sign contracts every week. Buyers sign such contracts once in a flood. As a result the vendors run rings round the buyers, and there's no chance that the bunglers of RBS would be able to pin something on the ITO.
And of course, are RBS management inconvenienced? Nope, they've got big credit balances and multiple accounts. Are the 1% inconvenienced? Nope, they bank with Coutts. It's the plebs who spend most of their salary or pension each month who are in the crap. And I can assure you that RBS won't go fighting for justice for the likes of you and I.
I thought I heard NatWest (the helpful bank) say somewhere
'no one will be out of pocket because of this'
Does anyone with a NatWest account want to lend me a tenner at a bazigilliion percent interest and a trimegazillion quid administration fee until monday and we'll split the compensation when it comes through?
I guess I'm paying the compensation
No suitcase of money. A well-stuffed wallet will suffice while people still think it's just a glitch. Only gold will be accepted after it becomes clear that TS really has hit TF. And be very careful who you let know that you've got gold, because of the knives and the guns.
Pray it never happens.
Are you really saying that you don't have enough savings anywhere to tide you over for day to day expenses for a couple of days? We're not even talking about the big non-cash outgoings - your mortgage, car repayments, insurance etc - those can be sorted out later if need be. It isn't as if this particular snafu has not been extensively publicised. Hell, when I've worked anywhere that involves payment processing all user memos get sent round for issues far less significant than this.
Your level of fail at understanding systematic failure and the importance of banks is breath taking.
But you've clearly either not bothered to read about it and learn, or have chosen to ignore what you've read so there is no point in rehearsing the arguments here for you now.
For the fools that don't grasp the problem with bank failures, even "technical" ones like this should read this story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18547149 and explain to me how workers on strike, unpaid wages and customers not having their orders fulfilled is not systematic failure.
In RBS parlance (I used to call it RBSBS), a GNEP is a Group Notifiable Event Process
"A notifiable event is when something happens that could cause damage to the Group by adversely affecting our customers, our finances or our reputation."
I'd hate to be the poor soul that had to raise this GNEP...
The experience of outsourcing is frequently terrible, for the simple reason that custom software isn't like business cards or the car fleet. For one thing, car production is a repeated action, so you get economies of scale. Custom software is like custom anything, it doesn't scale.
On top of that, there's often a confusion between the value that internal people bring, which is long-term experience of the software rather than experience of the technology. Someone who's been looking after a DB for 10 years doesn't need to look things up. You ask them how to find out the customer's name and address, and they'll tell you the service to use or the database fields to use.
What consultancies do is to always look to reduce costs. They'll often start you off with really good, experienced people, then once the consultancy has its feet under the table, they start putting graduate trainees on. You won't know this, or see any discount in your fees. You'll only find out when they screw things up. But this also means that they're moving staff off and on quite frequently.
The best run IT functions I've seen have been in-house with mostly homegrown systems and a few packages where the package was clearly a good fit. The words "we'll just get SAP and adapt it for our needs" are a sure sign that you have morons running your company.
"The words "we'll just get SAP and adapt it for our needs" are a sure sign that you have morons running your company."
Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it. Thank God, I am out of here. So sick of the absolute bullshit being spouted by the consultants that know f*** all about either the business processes used or the software they're supposed to be experts in.
Really pissed off with managers that refuse to use the correct SAP processes, then complain that things don't work, or expect me to instantly fix their cockups when it suddenly stops working because of something that they have done, but refuse to discuss what it was they did.
Really, really, sick and tired of the marketing bilge pumped out that portrays SAP as anything other than a massive scheme to screw every last penny out of c-level execs that think they are IT experts because they can send an email from their iPhones.
Utterly gob smacked that anyone can believe it makes sense to outsource the servers when the orignal costs quoted by the hosting company are higher than the internal IT budget.
So long, and thanks for all the stress
Well they launched some new payments facility on mobile, and those payments go might go share some infrastructure as the batch or other payments, they could have a knock-on effect.
For example perhaps there is a much higher volume than predicted. Or those mobile payments result in a much higher CPU cost or transaction time through the shared payments processing engine. Or connections to external interfaces e.g. for faster payments.
Don't have an inside information though, these are just guesses.
Ah - if I recall RBS correctly, then the sequence of processing will be something like this (admittedly speculative, things may have changed).
RBS have a system called Accounting Interface. It applies various accounting "rules" which reconcile the path of monetary transactions from, say, a cash withdrawal from an ATM (say, a Barclays one) back to the original customer account from which the money is debited. These transactions are then fed into the main batch account update program, and everything should reconcile at the end of exercise.
So a mobile payment would result in (possibly):
passage through some gateway to be added to a list of mobile transactions, which would then end up in a transaction file fed into their batch systems (plenty of scope for bog-up here).
In batch, these transactions are typically expanded by other generated transactions such as:
a) a debit from a holding account for the new mobile app
b) a credit back to that holding account from the customer account
c) a debit from the customer account
d) a credit to another holding account for transactions to the target of the payment
e) a debit from that holding account when the payment is transferred to the bank of the payee
and so on...
If the accounting rules governing each of these transactions are bogged-up in some way, the main batch account system (which updates EVERY account) will not reconcile properly, and panic will ensue. To fix this, the transactions via mobile would have to be corrected and everything re-run from that point. And then re-tested quite a few times to make sure they are correct this time.
Anyway, fun to speculate exactly what went wrong (I don't bank with RBS BTW).
"how does it have a domino effect?"
Because the mobile app is not simply accessing a web front of existing services, it is accessing the payment transactions back end which will need to have been modified to handle the different types of transactions, and this potentially requires changes to the entire CAUSTIC transaction processing service.
On the plus-side, all RBS Group employees are forced to have an RBS/Natwest account into which their salary will be paid. This happens around the 24th of each month.
Yep, you guessed it: RBS and Natwest probably won't be able to pay their staff until they fix the problem so they will be feeling their customers pain.
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