BIAN, IFX Collaboration Drives Bank Standards Interoperability

Archived Published: 13 December 2013 ID: G00260176

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The BIAN-IFX collaboration demonstrates interoperability between standards addressing different layers of service architecture. Maintaining momentum will require discipline and investment from BIAN-IFX and the industry.

News Analysis


On 9 December 2013, The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum and the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) released a proof-of-concept (POC) white paper, “Implementing BIAN Service Domains using the IFX Business Message Specification.” The paper demonstrates the interoperability of the two standards and the ability to map them to bank infrastructure. It also offers guidance about how the standards can be used together to implement banking systems.


BIAN and IFX's joint POC bodes well for the future of industry interoperability and the viability of the BIAN and IFX standards. The POC shows that separately developed standards addressing different parts of bank architecture can work together to resolve the lack of interoperability that leads to redundant, costly and inefficient bank operations.

The document can be used by:

  • BIAN and IFX teams as well as bank CIOs, COOs and architects to create faster, more scalable mapping exercises between other areas of BIAN and IFX.

  • BIAN, IFX and other standards organizations, for other industry collaboration efforts.

  • Bank CIOs, COOs and architects as a useful reference for mapping together service domain standards and messaging standards, along with the attendant object models, and for providing guidance to their development teams on standards.

Minor gaps between the BIAN and IFX standards are addressable at the implementers' level, and may be resolved at the standards level in the future — though that has not yet been determined.

But the POC also demonstrates the significant challenges for collaboration across industry standards bodies and industry standards in general. The challenge is not technical in nature; rather, it concerns people, resources and prioritization within member-driven, largely volunteer organizations. Two years have lapsed from the memorandum of understanding between BIAN and IFX in 2011 and this announcement, with a significant gap between the completion of the POC and publication of the white paper. These delays were largely due to funding and resources.

The next steps for this collaborative effort include further mapping work across complementary areas of BIAN and IFX, but are the mapping is less certain to happen if BIAN and IFX fail to create processes that ensure compatibility as they continue building out standards. Lack of processes for certifying standards adherence (which is on BIAN’s road map but doesn’t exist for IFX) hinders adoption and interoperability.


Bank CIOs, COOs, and enterprise architects:

  • Use the BIAN-IFX white paper as a reference for internal mapping initiatives and development of service oriented architectures, including adoption or mapping of these standards.

  • Reassess strategic use of BIAN and IFX based on the growing maturity of the standards, and in the light of their bank’s own architectural strategy.

  • Lobby for formalized collaboration between the two organizations, and a prioritization of continued mapping across the standards to promote implementation of the BIAN landscape.

  • Demand that software and service providers demonstrate how their solutions adhere to emerging industry standards for promotion of service-oriented architectures.

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