Successful MERVA replacement projects
IBM’s MERVA (Message Entry and Routing with Interfaces to Various Applications), originally developed in the 1980s, evolved into a de facto standard for SWIFT FIN for large financial institutions. Now companies face the challenge of replacing their extensive MERVA system with a more up to date application exploiting today’s state of the art technology and architectures but at the same time retaining the rich application functionality provided by MERVA including:
- Manual data entry, authorization and correction
- Sophisticated printing services
- Complex organizational structures modelled via MERVA queues
- Elaborate analysis / routing mechanisms to determine the routing of messages
- Customer specific special processing for transactions interacting in a multitude of ways with MERVA using batch processing, API calls, and options such as the event driven launching of external applications or message validation services
Intercope’s MERVA experts are currently successfully working on such projects with 5 large financial institutions in both Europe and the US. Together with the customers they have analysed the MERVA queue structure, routing rules, application interfaces and other functions used in production systems. In a second step these rules and functions are modelled using BOX for SWIFTNet entities. This has resulted, in all 5 projects, in significant optimization and streamlining of daily processing. Finally, BOX for SWIFTNet is configured to meet the customer’s specific requirements on a development system and goes through the staging process of IT testing and user acceptance testing to the production system. With service providers and multi bank institutions this exercise is repeated many times as they operate BOX for SWIFTNet for many customers who all use MERVA in different flavours and configurations. This way one customer after another can be migrated in a flexible schedule avoiding any interference and big bang risk.
The configuration of multi-instance installations is eased by the combination of tools allowing the definition of generic parameters, workflows and routing rules for all entities but with specific settings for each organization and organizational unit. Also for the staging through development, acceptance and production systems easy to use tools are used whereby the configuration of one system can be exported, system specific parameters such as IP addresses are adopted by definitions in script files and the data is imported to the next system. Due to the flexibility of the software and the efficient cooperation of Intercope and customer experts this process has already been managed successfully – with one of the customers migrating 17 banks located in 9 countries over the past two years.
Typically these BOX for SWIFTNet installations include all the application functionality previously provided by MERVA and are using the Relationship Management Application as part of the security layer. With the BOX CBT version available in 4Q 2010 the network layer is also provided as an integral part of the product allowing these and other MERVA users to address their total SWIFT business needs with a single unique application avoiding the risk and cost of deploying a fragmented set of technologies.