Bank Programmers Getting Help; Software to Aid Systems Development Gains Favor

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Bank Programmers Getting Help

Cost constraints have forced bank operations executives to focus on getting more work from their programmers, resulting in growing purchases of specialized software that aids systems development.

Within the past year, practically every big bank has either begun to experiment with or is building systems with these software tools and techniques, according to the Gartner Group, a research and consulting company in Stamford, Conn.

The software aids, called computer-aided software engineering and usually referred to as Case, can cut the time it takes to develop a system. That speed can enable corporations to bring products to market faster - because the support systems will be completed faster - and can cut the development costs for a computer system.

40% Gain in Production

Aided by Case, which helps generate programming code, a programmer can do 40% more work.

Because Case tools are still relatively new, the Gartner Group estimates corporations have used the software aids to build one or two systems a year. In the next five years, 20% of a corporation's systems will be written using Case. Annual sales over that time are expected to rise from $1.4 billion last year to $4.4 billion.

"In the last year, people have come to believe that if they don't do this, they won't be competitive anymore," said Albert F. Case Jr., a manager with the Gartner Group. During that time, the use of Case software has moved from the experimental phase to be a regular part of systems development.

Technology executives said raising the productivity of programmers has become their highest priority in 1991, according to a recent survey by CSC Index, a Cambridge, Mass.-based management consulting company.

The two other major concerns, according to the survey, are the ability to develop software that supports the corporation's strategy, and the ability to rapidly deploy systems. Taken together, the top three priorities are evidence that senior management wants to get more of its investment in technology. …