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A Conversation With Joseph Eng

Everyone is wondering what new CIO, Joseph Eng, is planning for S.W.I.F.T.-s next generation of standards. Eng discusses this and other issues with WS&T-s Executive Editor, Kerry Massaro.

Joseph Eng joined S.W.I.F.T. as CIO in April. He is responsible for all the company-s worldwide IT activities, and oversees close to 500 staffers. He works from one of S.W.I.F.T.-s newer development and operations facilities in Manassas, Va. Eng, who comes to S.W.I.F.T. from Ameritech where he was head of IT, reports to CEO Leonard Schrank.

WST: I thought we could start by talking about S.W.I.F.T.-s next generation of standards. Could you give us a status report on where the project is now and what you expect to do in the coming year?

Joseph Eng: Let me share with you a few things that I think would be of interest with regard to the next generation standards. We realize that we need to introduce a next generation set of standards, given that the new technology is IP-based. We are going to do two things. One is to exploit the new form of standards driven off of XML technology and the standardization that is occurring industry wide.

WST: So you are using XML as the base for the standard?

Joseph Eng: Yes, XML. S.W.I.F.T.-s focus is to drive interoperability within the financial industry, so we see XML as a vehicle to do that as a next generation mechanism.A second thing we are really trying to change is how standards are developed. And what I mean by that is standards have typically been very paper driven, with large documents going back and forth. You have to have standards bodies ... There is a long cycle time to understand the needs of standards, to develop them and gain consensus. We are still going to need those standards bodies and user groups to sign off on the progress of standards ... but at SIBOS we are going to release the Standards- Workstation. And what we are trying to do here is form a methodology for how to develop standards. It is a work station application that will allow us to work with our customers to, more quickly, depict what a standard would look like. It provides a graphical user interface. It allows you to mark up the standards. It provides a more iterative process of working with your customers and user group on what standards would look like. And we are able to generate some of the software parts on the back end. This would actually be how we would implement the standards within our next generation infrastructure. So we are both trying to facilitate how to create standards more easily and in a faster cycle time.

WST: Would you use the Standards- Workstation to compile the information needed to create standards?

Joseph Eng: Yes ...

WST: Now, when you are working with the users what are you looking to ascertain from them? ... What type of technology they use? What type of standards they currently use?

Joseph Eng: It-s going to be more of, I-ll call it business information ... the types of data they need to carry, how they carry that information'so I-ll call it the business rules'how they would process the messages once they got those standard messages. So by understanding those types of things we can depict'I-ll call it a data or process flow'with the standards. So when they get the message they know what to do with the message.

WST: Users don-t have to purchase any software to partake in this?

Joseph Eng: No, it-s more of an aid to help create the standards. And that is something we would use as part of our methodology. And we would bring that with us in the context of working with the standards-related bodies to define the standards.

WST: And once you start using the Standards- Workstation, how long do you think it will take to compile all of your information and put forth a standard?

Joseph Eng: Well, we think we can cut down standards more from a years process to that in terms of months. But we are going to need to trial this a few times with our customers and standards body users to see how it is going to work, so I don-t have any definitive timeframe.

WST: You are saying the old way could have taken a year, but now it could be within months ... but you don-t know exactly how many months?

Joseph Eng: Right, or I can-t be committal on a specific timeframe at this time.

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