October 01, 2006

After deploying the Tradix trading and risk management system from Chicago-based Ubitrade, a GL Trade (Paris) subsidiary, in 2005 and early 2006, the New York office of Natexis Banques Populaires (Paris) was left searching for a SWIFT messaging solution. "SWIFT is the standard communication vehicle for all banks throughout the world," relates Avram Kornberg, CIO, Natexis' U.S. headquarters. "The new environment did not support SWIFT capabilities," he says. "We didn't want to build that functionality ourselves and incur the burden of ongoing support to keep it up to date."

Natexis (U.S. operations: $32 billion in assets) found that many SWIFT messaging solution options involved purchasing a new extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tool. But since July 2003, Natexis had been using Informatica's (Redwood City, Calif.) PowerCenter ETL tool to compile data from its Sybase (Dublin, Calif.), Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) SQL Server, Pervasive (Austin, Texas) and IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) DB2 relational databases. "We wanted to stay an Informatica shop," Kornberg explains.

Natexis also explored custom-coding options, Kornberg says. "Everyone we spoke with could have done what we needed," but the solutions would have been costly and time-consuming to develop and implement, he adds.

The search, which began in November 2004, "might have taken forever if we hadn't talked to Informatica," according to Kornberg. About six months into the bank's search, Informatica introduced Natexis to San Mateo, Calif.-based Itemfield's ContentMaster, a software solution that transforms data into industry-specific formats, including SWIFT. "It was kind of like love at first sight," Kornberg says, noting that it was a cost-effective solution that integrated easily with the bank's new technology and did not require Natexis to purchase additional hardware. Natexis signed with Itemfield in April 2005.