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Natwest and RBS hit by mobile app failures

Both the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest were hit by mobile application failures lasting for two days over the weekend.

The outage is believed to have been caused following a routine upgrade to the financial organisations’ online services over the weekend.

“We are aware that some customers are experiencing difficulty accessing our mobile banking,” claimed a statement from NatWest at the time.

“We’re investigating this and we are working to get it resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime our customers can visit one of our branches, use online banking or call us via telephone banking as normal.

“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience,” it added.

During the downtime, numerous customers took to social media to complain about the problems they were having accessing mobile banking.

According to Michael Allen, Solutions VP at application performance management company Dynatrace, this indicates how customers today expect 24/7 access to the services they use.

“Today’s customers expect 24/7 availability and failure to meet these expectations results in very public condemnation – as we can see from the flurry of angry Tweets from RBS and NatWest customers at the moment,” Allen claimed.

“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from the frequency with which this type of outage is occurring, maintaining a flawless digital customers experience is becoming more and more difficult; especially in the banking industry.

“The problem is that many of the underlying systems in the financial services sector are based on aging 2- plus years old architectures that weren’t originally designed to integrate with the new technologies that have become the norm today.

“When routine updates are rolled out on services such as mobile banking applications, it can cause unforeseen problems, as appears to have been the case here.

“Due to the complexities that are inherent in unravelling the root-cause of these problems, it can take hours, or even days, before IT teams are able to rectify the situation.

“Make IT Everyone’s Responsibility”

“Before these problems become a thing of the past, businesses need to realise that digital business performance is no longer the sole concern of the IT department; it has ramifications across the entire organisation and should be a priority for everyone – from the CEO right down to the IT manager.

“We also need to see a move towards continuous delivery, where digital services are developed more closely in line with the user needs and updates are less likely to cause major disruption,” he added.