Barclays and CommBank explore open source collaboration pact



Barclays Bank is to work with Commonwealth Bank of Australia on the development of open source tools for analysing large data sets in an effort to break free from the tyranny of vendor licensing fees.

Barclays’ global chief data officer Usama Fayyad says the UK bank wants to learn from the experience of CommBank’s tech team, which has spent the past three years working to create an extract, transform, load (ETL) tool that it can run on top of Hadoop to exploit its vast data sets

Fayadd told Australian tech news outlet itnews that his interest in CommBank’s pioneering work was piqued following a chance meeting with the Australian bank’s former CIO Michael Harte, who had flown to London to interview for the top tech job at Barclays.

Harte put Fayadd in touch with Andrew Kerr, who had been leading the open source project at CommBank. Fayadd reckons CommBank is about five­to­ten years head of other banks in its thinking on open source.

“For most banks this is not the normal way to approach a problem,” he told itnews. “They hardly ever think about open source, and if they do they think about it as consumers not contributors.”

For Fayadd, the collaboration will help the bank learn from CommBank’s experience as they work together to create and share new code that can be published and fine­tuned within the open source community.

“If I want to access a new data source in my bank, I might have to pay half a million pounds in licensing fees,” he told itnews. “The vendors are abusing the banks in terms of licensing prices. If this project takes off I think CBA will have a worldwide impact on the industry.”

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