For some time there have been rumors about Deutsche Banking having selected TCS BaNCS for some or all of its international subsidiaries. Today, both Deutsche Bankand Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)published a press release announcing that Deutsche Bank will implement TCS BaNCS Core Banking as its new core banking platform for Global Transaction Banking (GTB). The first international subsidiary, which is located in Abu Dhabi, went live three days ago. I discussed the deal with N. Ganapathy Subramaniam (NGS), the president of TCS Financial Solutions.

The transformation initiative and the related deal span a 10-year period and include implementation and after-sales services. The global transformation initiative comprises in a first step 30 countries and may see extensions to the previously reported 50-plus countries later on. Abu Dhabi is the first country that went live with TCS BaNCS. The Deutsche Bank branch opened in early 2010 using other Deutsche Bank applications. The functional focus in on corporate banking for Abu Dhabi but the contract is for both Retail and Corporate banking. The next steps will focus on Saudi Arabia and countries outside the Middle East.

So, what does all this mean for the international banking community and its application delivery teams? Here is my first reaction:

  • International banking platform consolidation sees fast support. The Abu Dhabi branch started preparing to move to TCS BaNCS in April 2010 and needed about nine months to go life. Given that there was no Abu Dhabi installation of TCS BaNCS prior to Deutsche Bank’s, this is certainly an indicator of how flexible modern banking platforms, their architecture, and their underlying tools are.
  • Multicountry operations can reach a new level. Plans include running the international banking platforms in multientity/single-instance mode out of two international banking platform hubs. If Deutsche Bank and TCS are able to deliver on these plans, this will boost international banking platform consolidation to the next level; today, many international banks still consider one or two banking platform hubs per region mandatory.
  • The size of the deal is significant. NGS stated that “this is one of the largest deals in the core banking sector.” I do not disagree at all. However, it is not only the size of the deal that makes this deal relevant: Deutsche Bank is moving toward off-the-shelf solutions for its home country, Germany, (SAP for Banking) and for its international subsidiaries as far as GTB is concerned (TCS BaNCS). If Deutsche Bank executes on its decisions, it will become the first global tier 1 bank with this kind of off-the-shelf constellation.

Right now, Deutsche Bank’s press release is an indicator that Deutsche Bank considers the Abu Dhabi rollout a success. Five or ten rollouts from now, we will know how well Deutsche Bank’s international operational model and TCS BaNCS’s multientity capabilities are aligned. In any case, the outcome of this initiative will change how international banks run their international subsidiaries. Global tier 1 and tier 2 banks need to observe the initiative for a few more migrated banks to assess whether modern global banking platforms are up to their functional and operational requirements in their countries of operation around the world. Smaller banks will find it comforting that the same class of modern banking platforms can deliver on regional functional and regulatory requirements rapidly — if the banking platform is up to it and the overall process is well managed on the vendor side as well as within the bank. Let me know your thoughts about this 2010 deal and its impact on the industry and banking platforms: