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You can’t be a large financial institution without using Snowbound Software!

by | May 14, 2012

Seems like a presumptuous statement, doesn’t it?  But…when 9 of the 10 largest financial institutions in the US use Snowbound Software products (and seven of world’s 10 largest as well), can it really be a fluke?

Let me explain.  As we know too well, we have all become very dependent upon our financial institutions.  Their systems cannot break down, they cannot be compromised, and they need to run 24x7x365. And if something goes wrong, there are millions of users who get upset.

To protect their operations, these institutions have standardized on UNIX servers because of the many suppliers, their stability and their security. And with the extensive mergers that have occurred and continue to occur, the systems these gigantic corporations own, even if they’re running UNIX, aren’t necessarily running the same UNIX. There are variations of UNIX by brand (Sun/Oracle, IBM, HP, Linux, etc.) and there are variations of versions as well.

But these organizations need their applications to run across all their platforms as seamlessly as possible. They can’t afford different behavior when running on an HP server versus an IBM or Sun/Oracle server. The solution for these organizations, made years ago, is UNIX as the OS and Java as the application platform. Java offers fabulous interoperability – as the same code runs on all UNIX systems, built-in from the bottom-up security (applications can’t touch client hardware), memory protection that  prevents program misbehavior, and easy installation and software updates.

Admittedly there are trade-offs. Java, as an interpreted language, adds a layer of computation that reduces performance. Due to its security capabilities, you can’t easily use it to drive hardware such as scanners or other peripherals. But with the performance of servers today, as well as the inherent scalability of Java, performance is a trade-off easily accepted for the benefits of security and universality.

OK, so I answered why financial institutions use UNIX.  But why do they use Snowbound?  Well, as much as the paperless revolution is upon us, paper or paper facsimiles still exist.  Systems as large as these have been built over decades and change has to be done gingerly.  So if faxes aren’t printed to paper anymore, they’re still graphical (raster) representations of text and need to be handled by a document imaging engine.  Same story for checks – even if scanned, they are still raster images. Signatures are graphical as well, and have to be preserved that way, and clearly that’s critical for financial documents.  And many institutions, for security reasons, like to archive documents as raster because they are much harder to modify. Often, even when sending their output to Adobe Acrobat files, the content is in raster form.

And no, I didn’t ignore the present and future.  The world of documents, even in banking, includes text based documents like MS Word, Acrobat PDF, and HTML.  The need for all these institutions is to have one system work with all their documents, avoiding extra software expense and personnel training.  Yes, they need it in Java and it needs to run on UNIX systems.

So when it comes to providing document handling and imaging solutions in Java for UNIX, the path leads to Snowbound Software. How can we help you?