The Infrastructure is one of the vital components in business strategy. If a bank wants to provide good customer service then they should adopt the best technologies that are available. The success of an organization lies with the Infrastructure development. The Infrastructure involves both the hardware and software platforms that are necessary for the operation of an organization.
Causes for change in Infrastructures
Cost of computing services and software is rising
High customer expectations
Integration of data across platforms
Current trends in hardware platforms
There are basically five trends in hardware platforms in recent years
Integration of Computing and Telecommunications Platforms
High rate of computation via network
Integration of telephone and internet
High computing power
Cost saving on large infrastructures
Smaller computer are connected to form a grid
Increase the agility of organizations
High speed of computing
Cost Saving as no capital investment is needed
High speed computing
Data transfer is quick
Business Agility of organizations
Develop systems that can automatically download updates
Protect themselves from hackers and intruders
Recover themselves in case of failure
Virtualization and Multi-core Processors
Both reduces power consumption
Virtualization – Accessing computing resources in multiple ways irrespective of geographical location and physical configuration.
Multi-core Processors – Use multi-core processors to reduce power consumption and heat.
Current trends in software platforms
Linux and the open-source software movement
Linux is one of the most widely used open source software program
Linux is supported by almost all platforms like HP, IBM, Intel, Dell, Sun etc.
Linux is a open software and can be customized according to the needs of the company.
Linux runs on all major hardware platforms – mainframes, servers, and clients
Programming language that is independent of the operating system and hardware processor.
Java virtual machine has been defined.
Java is compatible with any hardware
Java applet has been employed when an object moves or input is required for the user.
Leading interactive programming language available for the Web is Java.
Software for enterprise integration
The usage of enterprise-wide software systems by firms is an important trend in last few years.
The goal is to achieve an integrated firm-wide information environment, reduce cost, increase reliability, to adopt business best practices which are captured by the software.
AJAX, Mashups and Web-based software applications
Mashup – It is a Web application that combines data or functionality from more than one source.
It is the prewritten software developed by a software company
It helps the organizations from developing their own softwares.
The growth of telecom industry especially in mobile sector has been incredible over last few years. The service providers upgraded the mobile networks with next-Generation services like 3G, WAP and GPRS. The banks are trying to capitalize this growth in the telecom sector and provide the services to the customers through mobile. The main advantage of mobile banking over the Internet banking is that it offers ‘Anywhere Anytime Banking’. Customers can check their accounts, transfer funds, balance statements etc during travel without the access to a computer. The limitations of Internet Banking are overcome in mobile banking since it requires only a mobile which can be accessed by people of developing countries also.
Mobile Banking Business Models
The models of mobile banking are classified into three based on the relationship with the end-customers. They are
Non Bank-led model
Mobile Banking Services
The various services offered by the bank through mobile are listed below.
Balance statement and checking account history
Insurance policy management
Checking the terms of fixed deposits
Minimum balance alerts
Pension plan management
Payments & Transfers
Domestic and international fund transfers.
Various bill payments
Payments of different products brought via e-bay, Amazon etc.
Alerts and notifications about various portfolios from stock market
Assist in investments on stock market and mutual funds.
Cheque book and card requests
Provisions to register complaints through mobile
Status of insurance coverage, credits etc
ATM and Branch locator
General alerts like weather. News etc
Technologies Used in Mobile Banking
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
In Interactive Voice Response (IVR) a pre-assigned number is specified to the customers by the bank. In IVR, when a customer make to a call to this number he will be acknowledged by a pre-recorded message. The customer can choose from the menu options specified in the electronic message according to his requirements. There are some limitations for the mobile banking through IVR
IVR is expensive compared to data transfer via SMS or WAP
Can be used for Enquiry Based Services only
Short Messaging Service (SMS)
The most popular technology used in Mobile Banking to provide services to customers is Short Messaging Service (SMS). The bank will provide the necessary information to the customers in reply to a service command to a pre-specific number send by the customer. The advantages of SMS are
Cheaper compared to IVR
Anywhere Anytime Banking
Works across all service providers
The major limitation of SMS is regarding the security of the contents.
Wireless Access Protocol (WAP)
In WAP concept the customers access the WAP sites maintained by the bank through the WAP compatible browser on their mobile phones. The advantage of WAP concept is that
WAP sites offer the general form based interface
Effectively provide security
The disadvantage of WAP is dependency on speed of network connection and handset limitation.
Standalone Mobile Client Applications
This concept is used to provide complex banking transactions like trading in the stock market, securities etc. The advantages of this concept are
Can be easily personalized in accordance with the density of the user interface
Provides ample security
Provide reliable channel for communication.
The disadvantages are
Several different combinations may prevent support of different devices, operating system etc
Inconsistent performance due to differing handset capabilities
Advantages of Mobile Banking
It helps Banks as well as service providers to achieve growth
Banks will be able to provide good services to customers like reminding the customers on due dates of insurance, loan repayment dates etc
Anywhere Anytime Banking
Can be used over vast geographical area
Need fewer numbers of employees to provide the services for the consumers.
The mobile banking is expected to grow at a rapid rate. The online users of banking are expected to change to mobile banking. The number of mobile banking users is expected to grow to 50-100 million by 2016. The security of mobile banking is a major cause of worry. If the concerns of the customers are addressed properly, then mobile banking will be fully adopted by customers in future.
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The basic idea of Grid computing is that the computers are connected as a grid and the software running in the grid gives more priority to local users, but when they become idle these computers are used over the grid. In Grid computing the computers over the internet is connected using middleware permitting them to operate as a virtual whole. In Grid computing we use a distributed set of data centre rather than a single centralized data centre. The computers across the globe share resources for computation of large amount of data. If an organization having large numbers of computer, then a cluster is formed by connecting all computers. One main computer called front-end computer is connected to the grid through network. The remaining computers in the cluster is called back-end computer which is connected with front-end computer only. IBM is considered to be the leader in Grid computing. The IBM Grid data centres are compatible with all operating systems like Unix, Linux and Windows.
The primary objectives of Grid Computing are
Collective processing power
Providing remote access to IT resources
Advantages of Adopting Grid Computing
If more capacity is required, add more computers to the grid.
No need of large IT infrastructures like Servers
No need of experts to manage IT resources
Price will be based on consumption.
Grid computation allows effective utilization of resources.
Redundancy and recovery
Grid environments are much more modular and don’t have single points of failure. If any failure occurs, there are large numbers of resources to take the task.
Grid computing allows execution of large task by splitting into small pieces and executes them in different machines
Grid computation allows parallel execution of a task
Disadvantages of Adopting Grid Computing
Need fast internet connection
Data storage in grid computation is liable for attack from intruders and hackers.
It is difficult to manage so many computers in the Grid. There is unavailability of good middleware which hinders the implementation of grid computing.
Licensing across many servers may make it prohibitive for some apps
The Grid computation is not a new concept. The Grip computation has been used by many institutions to perform complex computations. The Grid computing offers efficient, quick, reliable and standard based solutions for the problems faced by Banks in this competitive environment. The Grid computation will help the Banks to provide services to the customers quickly. The distributed nature of grid computing is transparent to the customers for evaluation. If the security issue associated with the Grid computing is solved then the Grid computing can be used in the banking sector.
The cloud computing is the one of the most popular technology available in business. By 2015, the cloud computing services is expected to grow to $160 billion from existing $36 billion. The cloud computing provides number of services such as account operating, insurance services and loans etc. The cloud computing is customer-centric and flexible business model which will help the banks to gain maximum profit. The cloud computing will help the banks to deliver the services to the customers quickly. The idea behind cloud computing is that the data of the organization is stored in data centers located within the organization or datacenter provided by the cloud providers like Amazon.
Cloud computing is divided into three
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – Share the infrastructure between several users.
Database as a service (DaaS) – Data’s of many users is stored in single data base.
Software as a service (SaaS) – The services are given to the users on monthly subscription rather than buying the license by individuals. It has many advantages like simplicity in installation and maintenance, cost saving etc.
There are four types of clouds used
Private cloud – Built within company’s data centre and distributed to the internal business user through virtual communication, communications services etc. To meet the service requirements the components can be expanded and contracted. It permits more control to the organization, but does not support sharing of resources.
Public cloud – In public cloud the organizations operate the applications from a date centre which is provided by the third party. The servers, infrastructure and the network required for the operation of applications is provided by the third party.
Community cloud – Cloud is controlled and shared by multiple organizations having similar interest.
Hybrid cloud – In hybrid cloud features of both the internal private and external public clouds are combined.
Advantages of Adopting Cloud Computing
Capacity of the platform can be expanded or contracted according to the requirement.
No capital investment is needed
No need of IT infrastructure
No need of experts to look servers etc
Pricing is based on the consumption
Less operational cost
Allows organizations to react quickly to market conditions
Cloud computing is flexible
High computing power
Data transfer is faster
Built-in Disaster Recovery & Back-up Sites
Provides high level of redundancy
Device & Location Independence
Enable customers to access the system from anywhere
Low power consumption
Greater use of resources
Disadvantages of Adopting Cloud Computing
Data storage in cloud is insecure
Data Location & Privacy
Different privacy and data management laws be relevant in different nations
Internet Dependency, Performance & Latency
Dependency on internet
Latency on the Internet is highly inconsistent and volatile
Availability & Service Levels
Potential for down-time if the system isn’t available for use
Current Enterprise Applications Can’t Be Migrated Easily
Difficult to change existing arrangement to cloud computing
The cloud computing is an evolving concept and it has many advantages and disadvantages. The cloud services will help the organizations like banks to provide services quickly at cheaper rates. I will also help them to provide the customers with 365*7*24 access to the services. So it is upon each individual organization to decide whether they implement cloud computing technology or not.
Factors Affecting IT Infrastructure
There is a central difference between the old and new economies: the old industrial economy was driven by economies of scale; the new information economy is driven by economics of networks. (Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian, 1999)
Declining Communication Cost
The customers will be benefited if more networks enter into the market. If more competition takes place in the networking field the service providers will be forced to reduce the cost as well provides better service. Consider the case of Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the cost of calls was very high when BSNL alone enjoyed the monopoly of the network. But when more firms enter the telecom industry BSNL was forced to decrease the cost and increase the service provided to the customers. To improve the services given to the customer’s advancement in technology is necessary. They used new technologies like 3G to provide better services to the customers.
Improving Technology Standards
The network providers must upgrade the platform by adopting new technologies like mobile banking, grid computing and cloud computing which will help the service providers to improve the performance. Limited packages might benefit consumers. But network owner should not be able to bar services that allow competitive package offerings. For example, preferential caching by the network for an affiliated content provider might be o.k., but barring access for a 3rd party provider of caching services should raise concerns
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