In 2018, the International Monetary Fund published a report noting cyber criminals were gaining access to central bank systems through not just one, but multiple points of weakness.
Over the past 15 years, SkySparc has established itself as a leading consultant and systems support services provider to the central banking community and the wider public sector. Among its clients are the German Bundesbank, European Investment Bank, European Central Bank, the Netherlands Bank and the National Bank of Poland. In recent years, SkySparc has developed Patch Upgrade as-a-Service (PuaaS) in response to demand for more frequent upgrades, largely for cyber security reasons.
PuaaS builds on SkySparc’s methodology for upgrading treasury management systems, utilising its extensive test case library and its OmniFi application to deliver independently tested patch upgrade projects.
Recently, the Dutch State Treasury Agency (DSTA) became a PuaaS pilot client following an agreement to adopt the treasury management system Wallstreet Suite (WSS) as part of a multiyear outsourced support partnership. The treasury management system manages DSTA’s trading and investment, collateral management, risk management and accounting operations via connections with multiple third-party platforms.
“Intensifying cyber security threats, increased audit scrutiny and accelerating technology innovation all dictated that mission-critical systems must upgrade annually,” says Joakim Wiener, chief executive of SkySparc.
Previous upgrades to the DTSA’s systems had been highly manual and unstructured. It has also involved many ‘one-time use’ cases, which meant deployment was time-consuming and resource-intensive. SkySparc’s PuaaS differs in two main ways. First, automated pre-testing and unit testing increases the number of scenarios tested. This has eliminated most errors before user acceptance testing by businesses. Second, the use of scripted WSS deployment – as opposed to customisation for multiple environments – has eliminated almost all manual actions.
From scoping and building the software to the go-live date, the project took just five months. Since then, a second upgrade as part of the PuaaS rolling upgrade process was completed in just 200 days.
“The second upgrade required even less involvement from DSTA’s IT resources or business users,” says Wiener.
Since the roll-out at the DTSA, two existing SkySparc public sector clients – both central banks in European Union member states – have signed up to PuaaS. One central bank has also adopted the system for its core treasury system.
Over the past 12 months, SkySparc has continued to show its value as a trusted technology consultant. In 2018, the National Bank of Poland used OmniFi to improve data quality and management reporting of daily operations. Skysparc also supported a recent system upgrade at the German Bundesbank.