Quinnox helps financial leader with critical Calypso upgrade

A major U.S. financial institution benefits from a team of Calypso specialists with a proven methodology to meet critical deadline.
Challenges: Lack of upgrading leads to a critical point

Like many of the leading financial institutions around the world, the corporate and investment banking arm of this large U.S.-based firm used the robust Calypso platform for running its entire front-to-back office derivatives (OTC and ETC) business. While they had been using Calypso v10.x since 2009, they had delayed upgrading to the latest version of Calypso for several years, including the essential v14.x upgrade. This was primarily due to the complexities involved, and the perceived impact of the upgrade on the business, among other technical reasons.

Unfortunately, this inaction over a period of time reached a critical juncture and the division was compelled to upgrade. Top-of-mind was Calypso’s policy that only provides support for two back versions. In addition, substantial new functionality available in Calypso v14.x could not be leveraged without an upgrade. Finally, the custom code that was written to fill in functional gaps in Calypso v10.x increased the TCO of the platform and had to be phased out.

However, this was no simple upgrade with some significant challenges

  • Substantial amount of custom code had been developed over six years to support regulatory changes, custom business processes and trading of new products.
  • There were more than 30 interfaces (inbound/outbound) to the Calypso platform, each of which would be impacted due to the platform upgrade.
  • Significant architectural changes had to be addressed, including moving from a basic client server RMI to a JBOSS distributed architecture, and Java upgrades that impacted custom code and interfaces.
Solutions: Proven methodology, Intense regression testing save the day

With an existing solid working relationship with this financial institution for six years, Quinnox was selected to help their division execute this critical upgrade. Leveraging our deep understanding of the challenges, and rich expertise with the Calypso platform, a team was put together to ensure a smooth transition to the latest platform using a two-pronged approach: 1) leverage a proven upgrade methodology 2) put an intense focus on regression testing.

The first goal was to deploy a like-for-like upgrade. This would ensure that all currently available functionality was available and unchanged to the users to the greatest extent possible. This would also eliminate the operational risk of implementing new functionality parallel to a massive upgrade. Another priority was to ensure that the upgrade would result in an enterprise level application server architecture that would be scalable.

With these two project drivers top-of-mind, the solution included

  • Tools and technologies – Java, JBOSS App server, HP Quality center, Redhat Linux, Webservices on JBOSS and IIS
  • Quinnox IPs and accelerators included QFrame – Calypso Automated Regression Testing Suite
  • Best practices – automated regression test suite, HP QC based logging and tracking, regular LOB business connects and updates, daily stand-ups and Kanban boards from QA phase onwards, multiple parallel run cycles, instrumented performance testing, continual optimization
  • Specialized team members – seasoned Calypso Business Analysts and Technical Developers were part of the core group
Results: Complex upgrade complete ahead of time, over $1million in potential annual savings

With the expert help of the specialized Quinnox Calypso team executing a custom solution, this complex and challenging upgrade was executed ahead of the typical 18-month schedule by four months. This aggressive timeline was especially important, not just from a productivity and functionality perspective, but in terms of avoiding additional costs. In fact, a delay of even one week would have resulted in a go-live delay of at least one month, with a cost implication of over $200k.

A major contributing factor to this success was the “battle-tested” Quinnox methodology for executing Calypso upgrades, which has been validated across multiple upgrades over several years and many engagements. This methodology helped us successfully deliver on the aggressive upgrade timeline with zero downtime post-upgrade.

There were other important cost-based results for this project, including

  • Ability to rationalize the application portfolio, reducing the technical footprint and bringing potential annual savings of over $1 million based on new functionality
  • Use of Calypso’s native functionality for features like regulatory reporting that will dramatically reduce maintenance costs
  • Automated regression testing suite reduced the test execution cycle time by about 30 percent, resulted in immediate cost savings on QA efforts of over $200k
  • Availability of the regression test suite for an ongoing annual saving of around $140k, in terms of additional coverage for monthly release
$1m
million in potential annual savings
$150K
in Calypso support costs avoided
$200K
immediate, $140 annual regression testing savings