Monday, September 4, 2017

ATMs Are IT Too!


That world of homogenous IT technology managed entirely by the internal IT organization has long disappeared.  Operations today require efficient and global management of technologically heterogeneous environments. The challenges and mistakes organizations make when tackling this important task include:
  • Operational disconnects caused by ineffective internal communications;
  • Resource contention when multiple, independently developed project plans compete;
  • Incompatible technical documentation; and
  • Inconsistent communications with vendors.
A case in point is the finance industry which has endured some rather unique pains in this area, especially when it comes to ATM Fleet Management. According to Diebold Nixdorf, a world leader in connected commerce, this problem has been caused by three major trends that have changed the nature of ATM network management.
The first, and broadest driver of these changes has been the rapid adoption of newer and more sophisticated technology. Some reports cite that in 2014, up to 95% of the world’s ATMs were running Windows XP. That year, the entire industry was basically forced to transition to Windows 7 and this was when some banks were still using OS/2!
“These more sophisticated systems, requiring updates, patches, and support in real-time, along with software and hardware that can operate nimbly in an agnostic ecosystem. And as more and more transactions are migrated to self-service terminals, the devices must advance in complexity, too.”
Security challenges, the second key trend, are also morphing daily as threats become more and more diverse. Specific problems include physical security of the cash inside the terminal, malware threats to software and the use of data skimming devices. As banks expand their self-service networks, competition around their ability to deliver greater functionality and more complex transactions within an even tighter personally identifiable information regulatory environment is daunting.
The final trend is around management and overhead. As the traditional focus of IT support groups has changed from PCs, firewalls, routers towards the administration of an extensive network of remote self-service terminals, the scope of the required core competencies has changed tremendously. These teams must now deal with multi-vendor hardware, software, security, and services. To deal with these tectonic shifts, financial institutions are now looking to partner with technology services companies.
In this strategy shift, they are looking for a provider that brings broad multi-vendor management skills and analytics-based, proactive technical support. Additional criteria for selecting a multi-vendor management partner include:
  • Global presence with the ability to provide on-site engineering support to any ATM site;
  • Demonstrated continuity of support as exhibited by an ability to dispatch the same customer engineers on most occasions;
  • Customer engineers with proven and demonstrable experience with the same type of installation and configuration;
  • Support organizations with the breadth and depth of resources necessary to deliver high-quality support with minimal service disruption; and
  • A global logistics infrastructure capable of providing the timely delivery of parts from any vendor, if required.
IBM has proven to be a major player in this space. Their ATM and branch services support provides a predictive maintenance solution that uses advanced analytics to identify potential concerns. They then work with financial organization’s IT teams to schedule proactive support services. This proactive approach ensures proper intervention before customer service is disrupted. As a proven, global provider of multi-vendor service support, IBM can be your single agnostic vendor supporting your multi-vendor ATM environment. If your team is in need of a multi-vendor support partner, consider IBM.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit Point B and Beyond.



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