The new era of transaction switching
With the increasing number of payment channels and methods, the complexity of transaction switching software is ever growing. Aspects like reliability, performance, low latency, resilience and security have become qualifiers rather than differentiators. The most important differentiation for a modern transaction switch is its ability to respond to ever changing requirements and new payment channels.
The traditional legacy systems, though robust, lack the ability to adapt to new changes and are extremely costly to change. Companies have limited access to freely control the underlying software. Existing traditional systems have struggled to cope up with the rapid changes in the payments ecosystem.
The new world
Recent advances in programming languages and development frameworks have changed the landscape of tools that are now available. Improvements in DevOps approaches have resulted in production ready software that can be built efficiently, tested reliably and deployed rapidly. Advancements in virtualization and cloud infrastructure have enabled scalable infrastructure for the periodic peaks in transaction volumes. These changes increase the ability to build software and surrounding eco-systems that can substantially reduce the total cost of ownership and improve time to market.
A Strong continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline
A Strong CI/CD pipeline that encompasses a smart automation unit, integration & deployment unit and system testing tools, can help companies efficiently automate steps in their software delivery process. An environment that provides control over changes reduces the anxiety around deployment of production changes.
Improved monitoring and configuration
Intelligent monitoring tools that not only report but also provide actionable alerts, with predefined automated actions and smartly configured triage which reduces dependency on manual operation, thereby reducing manual errors.
An effective configuration framework, which complements the monitoring system by mirroring application configurations to enable version updates and offline production mirror images which in turn can help in live debugging.
Agile development methodologies
A team that works in an agile manner, adapting to new requirements, delivering new features at a rapid pace, while remaining reliable. This approach, coupled with a strong CI/CD pipeline, can help transform the development team in to a well-oiled machine that releases production ready software in an efficient manner.
Virtualization and cloud ready environment
Introducing effective cloud enabled virtual machines can help in cost control, as throughput capabilities can be scaled up or down according to the demand.
High performing frameworks and libraries for distributed systems
Advancements in programming languages and commodity hardware have delivered high performing, large scale, distributed systems. These resilient and cost-effective systems have helped companies reduce their dependency on costly proprietary hardware. Companies no longer have to be tied down by the prohibitive cost charged by these proprietary hardware platforms.
It is important for financial institutions to actively evaluate and identify products that adopt these principles and have flexible and configurable design fundamentals, building the foundation for future proof 21st century payments systems.