Coexis Claims To End Invidious Choice Between Bespoke And Off-The-Shelf

Terry Williams, the founder of Wilco, is now with a company which claims to have liberated corporate software buyers from the invidious choice between hugely expensive bespoke solutions and inflexible off the shelf packages. The liberator is a rules based

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Terry Williams, the founder of Wilco, is now with a company which claims to have liberated corporate software buyers from the invidious choice between hugely expensive bespoke solutions and inflexible off-the-shelf packages. The liberator is a rules-based software called Syn-Apps, and it was developed by Coexis.

Williams, who sold Wilco to ADP some years ago, joined Coexis – a London-based capital markets IT company – after leaving the chair at ADP Wilco. In the first instance, the company is applying its Syn~Apps technology to three hot areas in securities services: settlements (Syn~Settlements), order routing and funds supermarket trading (Syn~Orders),and counterparty reference data management (Syn~ReferenceData).

Coexis is making some bold claims for Syn-Apps. It says the technology can deliver customised solutions as quickly and cheaply as packaged solutions; exception-based STP and exceptions management; the flexibility to adapt applications normally maintained by vendors; and scalability.

“Syn-Apps are built using a high level modeling and rules-based software architecture,” explains the company. “They include ready-built models of functionality, operational rules and formulae common to the international capital markets industry at large, based on knowledge that Coexis has acquired over 30 years of developing systems for the industry. Internal IT staff and or business analysts can see and understand the high level language which describes these processes and very quickly learn to adapt them for themselves or build new ones to match proprietary business. Processes, which can deliver competitive advantage. Self-empowerment means that changes can be made quickly without reference to Coexis avoiding the delays that software changes usually incur, and without constraining the business’s agility and ability to respond to opportunities.”

Tim Rhodes, a founder-director of Coexis who led the development project, says Syn-Apps is the fruit of a decade’s work. “Ten years ago Coexis was a far-sighted proponent of a process-driven approach to software development, documenting our ideas and circulating them to the banking sector,” he says. “We set out to overcome the shortcomings and frustrations users have with both a bespoke and packaged approach to systems. While for many software houses this approach is now the hot issue, for Coexis our early thinking gave us a head start and we now have mature and deliverable products based on this new approach in Syn~Apps.”

Instead of buying a separate software application for equity settlements and bond settlements, and knitting them together, Syn~Apps is what Coexis calls a “conceptual application. It is conceived by ‘turning on’ functionality and wrapping it with the specific business rules and presentation requirements of the individual investment bank. Every rendition is therefore unique and adding new business functions is simply a matter of enabling them. This granular approach delivers the flexibility, fluidity and rapid personalisation capabilities which are characteristic of next generation software.”

“A good analogy,” explains Rhodes “is to imagine that equities is a yellow box and bonds is a blue box. If you were to add bonds into a ‘modular’, product specific, system and generated a diagram thereof, you would have a diagram with a yellow box and a blue box. This is how software packages were built in the past. In Syn~terms you have a box that was white (no functions enabled) which turned yellow when you enabled equities and then green (the sum of yellow and blue) when you enabled bonds. This removes the need for integration and speeds up implementation.”

The Syn~Platform contains the Syn~Engine runtime technology, which executes processes and rules, and all the features things needed to make a system run. It also includes the Syn~Solution Configuration Environment, which is used by customers to tailor a Syn~App to meet their particular needs.

Early adopters of the Syn-Apps technology include Swissca and Tokyo-Mitsubishi International. Swissca uses Syn Orders to centralise and automate order management of both internal and third party funds on behalf of the Swiss cantonal banks which own it. Mark O’Brien, associate director of IT and operations at Swissca says “Syn~ delivers solutions in a totally new way. You define business rules to it and these can be changed as processing requirements change. When you make these changes, the Syn~ solution just changes with your business. The system serves the needs of the business, not the other way round which is how it always should have been.”

Tokyo-Mitsubishi International, by contrast, uses Syn~Apps for equity settlement and static data management. “By introducing Syn~ we have been able to move from 0 to 95 per cent STP in cash equities,” says Don Simpson, managing director, operations and technology, Tokyo-Mitsubishi International. “Having accurate static data is also a critical factor for achieving high STP. We now have a platform for growing the business by five- or tenfold with minimal staff increase.”