Vendor for system support and implementation of the year: Murex

Asia Risk Awards 2021

Ganesh Kumar Mahalingam, Murex
Ganesh Kumar Mahalingam, Murex

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the entire financial services industry to respond quickly to new and existing business demands. Banks and vendor firms shifted quickly to remote-working solutions, while concern for ongoing project implementations grew.

But not for Murex, which managed to continue to work closely with its existing clients and successfully deliver go-lives remotely with minimal delays.

Despite travel restrictions, from June 2020 to May 2021, Murex delivered 31 go-lives in Asia-Pacific, up from 27 go-lives in the same period a year before. This achievement is testament to Murex’s ability to use remote collaboration tools strategically to help clients produce their desired outcomes with minimal overhead. 

Ganesh Kumar Mahalingam, head of lifecycle services for Asia-Pacific at Murex, says MX Operate, Murex’s round-the-clock dedicated technical support service, plays a key role in ensuring continuous stability and availability of the Murex platform for business and technical users. The Operate teams are organised in shifts with a global presence, meaning the pandemic did not impact their ability to deliver 24/7 support.

Operate consultants already work remotely, and hence, are efficient at using collaborative tools to guide clients remotely.

“Arrangements such as work from home for weekend support were already well-established, so it was straightforward to extend them during lockdowns. If anything, the pandemic simply reinforced the strengths and principles of the Operate support model and organisation,” he says.

MX Operate’s mission is to restore the availability of MX.3, Murex’s flagship platform for trading, risk management and regulatory requirements, even when the root cause of failure is not directly linked to MX.3.

In one instance, at one of Murex’s largest clients, the system performance was severely impacted, threatening the availability of the platform. The Operate team guided the client’s database team amid the database server investigation.

Eventually, the issue was identified to originate from database nodes located outside of Murex’s application, even though MX.3 was impacted due to the database server architecture. The team helped to unblock the situation and avoid any unavailability of the system to the business.

Mahalingam says the MX Operate team contains a global pool of deep technical experts, which helped offer seamless support services to clients, particularly when remote working became a norm.

Testing also accounts for a significant portion of project implementation and support. Murex has a tool for test automation, MXtest, designed to remove repetitive and manual testing.

By using MXtest to create regression test packages to automate testing, clients can systematically cut down the duration of their test cycles and their test efforts.

MXtest covers the full spectrum of Murex test needs, from test configuration to execution, monitoring and result analysis. The tool has a library of unitary test blocks that can be assembled to represent and automate any test scenario.

Mahalingam says Murex has set up a “test engineering” practice in Apac that actively advises clients to build extensive testing suites. These include defining the scope of test scenarios, the architecture of the tests and automation planning, among others. Test architects from the practice engage with clients to execute a robust testing approach during projects.

As of May 2021, 14 clients in Apac have licensed MXtest to execute test automation on their Murex instances.

Also, to improve the predictability of project implementations, Murex uses MXpress, which comprises market-specific product packaging, tooling, proven delivery methodologies and best processes backed by a global pool of experts.

Murex will continue to invest in this package offering and methodology to provide clients with better quality of implementations and experience.

It added a China Market package, which was built over the past year, covering all the popular products in this market across asset classes, and providing high-quality standard configuration for the Chinese market infrastructure.

“We can now deliver these products to any of our clients in record time, fully integrated into the front-to-back platform, and this repository has already been successfully deployed to more than six clients in China,” says Mahalingam.

On top of that, to help clients navigate the challenging Libor transition, Murex has invested in pre-packaging configurations across all business processes affected by the transition.

Mahalingam says the packaging aspect was instrumental in enabling the quick deployment of Libor transition solutions for all business processes while clients face extreme time pressure.

Looking ahead, Murex will continue championing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices and DevOps project implementations. This will help optimise the client configuration changes using automation and better collaboration.

With CI/CD, all system configurations are treated as code with proper auditing and versioning, and all changes undergo multiple levels of automated tests to avoid regressions. This helps reduce the need for manual testing, while DevOps provides the methodology and tooling to enable CI/CD to work efficiently.

Murex has delivered its first CI/CD go-live in Asia and has three additional ongoing CI/CD projects in the region.

Mahalingam says the projects are diverse in scope, complexity and location. New greenfield implementation projects will be systematically considered for a CI/CD approach, he adds.

One Asia Risk judge said Murex has strong specialisation and is responsive to customers’ needs.

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