Updated A report into the IT meltdown at TSB has suggested the British bank did not carry out rigorous enough testing and that the problems went beyond previously reported middleware issues.
The chaos at the bank, a subsidiary of the Spanish Sabadell Group, saw many customers unable to access services for a week at the end of April after the bank bodged a long-planned migration off its former parent firm Lloyds Banking Group’s systems. The IT issues were compounded by a wave of scams and an underwhelming response from execs.
Amid the crisis, the bank hired IBM in a systems integration role to identify and resolve the problems – which the bank’s CEO Paul Pester told MPs was due to issues with its middleware systems.
Big Blue produced a short presentation for the bank four days after being appointed, offering a “preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses” – and the Treasury Committee has today published the slide deck.
In it, IBM suggested that the bank’s testing was not up to scratch, saying it “has not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness”.
Emphasising the scale and complexity of the project, IBM said that a firm would need “longer than normal to prove the platform through incremental customer take-on to observe and mitigate any operational risks” – and warned that such projects bring a broad range of hard-to-diagnose technical and functional problems.
“To address this risk profile, IBM would expect world class design rigour, test discipline, comprehensive operational proving, cut-over trial runs and operational support set-up,” it said.
However, a set of bullet points suggest that this was not the case – or that TSB was not able to demonstrate this to IBM.
“Performance testing did not provide the required evidence of capacity and the lack of active-active test environments have materialised risk due to issues with global load balancing (GLB) across data centres,” IBM stated.
It said that a “limited number of services” – including mortgage origination and ATM and head office functions – had been launched on the new platform and a broader set of services to about 2,000 TSB partners.
The integrator added that it “has not seen evidence of technical information available to TSB”, such as architectures, configuration and design documents, test outcomes or monitoring information.