Barclays to collaborate on CommBank’s Hadoop data extraction tool

Barclays’ plans to devote considerable IT resources to support an ambitious open source data project underway at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The project, which involves building an extract, transform and load (ETL) tool that can run on Hadoop, has been underway at CommBank for three years.

Global chief data officer for Barclays Usama Fayyad told Australia’s IT News that that bank first learned of the CommBank project from Michael Harte, who was formerly CommBank’s CIO and left earlier this year to become CIO of Barclays. After two or three years working on the ETL tool, CommBank recently submitted it to the open source community.

ETL tools can address some of the challenges of managing structured and unstructured data from disparate sources. This can be a particular challenge in financial services, where firms deal with vast amounts of data often stored in disparate systems. Firms often pay high fees to third party data vendors to access their own data.

“If I want to access a new data source in my bank, I might have to pay half a million pounds in licensing fees,” Fayyad told IT News. “The vendors are abusing the banks in terms of licensing prices.”

Fayyad began by bringing five Barclays team members to Australia in July to meet with the CommBank information strategy team working on the ETL project under the direction of Andrew Kerr.

Fayyad said the Barclays team was very impressed with the work done by CommBank thus far, calling the bank “five years to a decade ahead” of other banks in their thinking. He applauded the bank for opening up the tool to the open source community, thus introducing high quality technical oversight and testing into the quality of the development from the wider open source community.

The CommBank team was initially cautious about accepting assistance, Fayyad said, because it wanted to make sure that Barclays was willing to follow its methodology. While CommBank stands to benefit from the resources of Barclays’ 1000¬≠person IT department for the project, Fayyad said Barclays may stand to benefit even more from the years of experience CommBank has already put into the project. But Fayyad said the project has potential to create efficiencies across financial services.

“I am very interested in making sure the whole financial services community benefits from it,’ he said.
Author: Renee Caruthers

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