Banco Popular Announces New Website

I call bullshit to Banco Popular's recent announcementLast week Banco Popular of Puerto Rico announced that they were almost ready to launch, August 22nd, a new Internet banking website. In the announcement, Banco Popular is claiming that the new website cost $2 million.

Have you ever played this card game were players take turns discarding cards from their hand? The winner is the first person to get rid of all their cards. While there are a few rules for discarding, the fun of the game comes when your opponent doesn't believe you are following those rules and challenges your play. To do so the player must call out, and so am I with reference to Banco Popular's announcement, "Bull Shit!"

I'm sorry, there is just no way, in these days of sophisticated and efficient software development languages and tools, dirt cheap quad-core servers, and cheap bandwidth, that it takes $2 million dollars to build a website. Come on! We are talking about 5 or 10 (maybe 20) web forms, a database, some security, but we are not talking about building a robotic car.

According to the announcement, they built the website internally and the development required one year. Which if I know Banco Popular (or their technology leading subsidiary, Evertec), they probably used Java, which could actually explain why it took so much money, but I digress.

With a napkin project estimate, I determined (using what would be moderately expensive external consultant rates) that it would require over 15 people working for one year to rack up $2 million in costs. 15 people! I know individual programmers that could build a website of that complexity in 6 months So how can we explain an estimated 15 programmers working for one year to build what would be classified as a no-brainer website?

There are only three ways Banco Popular can rack up such a high cost for a website:

  1. My initial reaction, before I read the announcement, was that Banco Popular paid a local consulting company this sum of money to complete the development. This would be an excellent example of the kleptocracy and panismo I mentioned in this blog post about the obstacles to web start-ups. Just as it shouldn't have taken a year for an internal development staff to build this website, it would probably take less for a consulting company. So, if, in fact, Banco Popular did pay a local company to develop the site, then (in a high falsetto) "somebody got an extremely nice commission, " to put it nicely.

  2. Banco Popular programmers really suck. Since I don't know any of them, I can't really say, but if it took them a year, then I think, and I repeat, they suck!

  3. Finally, maybe the team was much smaller, and maybe they weren't working on the project full time. Hey it could happen! So while they were not fulltime, perhaps the accounting for the project used their full-time rate, with benefits, and everything to determine the programmer's base rate; essentially over-inflating the hourly rate charged by an "employee". Yeah, I guess so, something like this:

    Position Hours Rate Cost
    Project Manager 520 $1,000 $ 520,000
    Anaylst 1040 $680 $ 707,200
    Programmer 2080 $370 $ 769,600



    $1,996,800

    Now that's a team and company I want to work for!

    I guess another potential explanation is that Banco Popular employees must be paid extremely well, but extremely well. While I'm sure a few select people are, typically they do not have technology jobs. Remember Puerto Rico ranks last in tech pay after all of the United States. So no, that can't be it.
In conclusion

Seriously folks, and we wonder why the Internet market in Puerto Rico is so abnormal, twisted, and outdated! When the leader in technology on the island comes out with something like this in 2008, all you can say is WTF? I would have believed this number back in 1997, but not today. When you have kids in their bedrooms building more complex web applications using Ruby on Rails than the best on the island, you've got to conclude that the Internet will be forever screwed in Puerto Rico.

Then again, as I have concluded, Puerto Rico is 10 years behind or more when it comes to the Internet, so maybe this is a good number. If you believe that, you probably also believe that the chupacabra is an alien, politicians care about you, or we actually are a bioisla.

43 comments:

Anónimo

11 de agosto de 2008, 15:55
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dijo...

Saludos,

Pues yo si creo que el numero esta bastante cerca de eso.
Obviamente no es un solo Project Manager, no es un solo programador, etc.

Yo trabaje por muchos años con la agencia de una compañia de carros bien grande en EEUU y ellos si pagaban 2 millones todos los años para rediseñar el website y hacerlo mejor.... ANUALMENTE! En la agencia nada mas eran sobre 25 empleados para el diseño y todo el texto,etc que sale en el website. La compañia que se subcontrata para la programacion tenia sobre 30 empleados dedicados a este cliente.
Esto de un website que no requiere ni la seguridad, ni manejar los clientes, ni hacerse responsable de millones de dolares para miles y miles de personas.

O sea, 2 millones son dos pesetas para este tipo de corporacion.

BTW: me encanta DondeQuiera... es la primera vez que no estoy de acuerdo con un blogpost de ustedes.

MC Don Dees

11 de agosto de 2008, 18:41
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dijo...

Wow, thanks for the kind words. If this is the first time we've not agreed then you must be my kind of people! No seriously, I appreciate you taking your valuable time to read my rants.

Your point is well taken. There are many local companies who are willing to pay those kind of costs. However, I'd like to make a distinction between what happens in the rest of the world on the Internet and what happens in Puerto Rico, which in my opinion is not related to what some people call reality.

By the way, where do you fall on the whole chupacabra is an alien debate?

la chica

11 de agosto de 2008, 20:42
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dijo...

En mi opinión está barato, si lo se...son 2 millones, pero yo trabaje en el mundo de los sistemas financieros y evaluamos paquetes sistemas ya hechos que sobrepasaban los 30 millones sin exagerar.

el banco popular hizo un esfuerzo maratonico de hacer su sistema de internet completamente from scratch. fue un rediseño de funciones, de look and feel, de procesos de apertura de cuenta...ahí hay mucho research y análisis envuelto, no es sólo sentarse a programar de la primera.

debemos respaldar el esfuerzo que ha hecho el banco usando recursos 100% boricuas y poniendo a Popular y a Puerto Rico al frente en la proxima generacion de banca por internet.

Luis Benitez

11 de agosto de 2008, 20:52
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dijo...

Hmm.. Yo cuando leí el artículo por primera vez me pareció bien poquito. $2 millones para escribir un banking application from scratch?? Pa mi que se gastaron mas... Acuerdate que no es tan solo desarrollar la aplicación y ya.. sino que está el diseño, la arquitectura, el desarrollo, y el testing. En mi compañía, por ejemplo estamos casi siempre 3 meses testing, 1 de ellos solo en "load testing" (para asegurarnos que el performance de la aplicación sea bueno cuando estén muchos usuarios conectados a la misma vez).

El diseño me imagino que tomó por lo menos un mes en lo que se aprobaron los wireframes, y me imagino que también el dpto. de legal lo tuvo que haber aprobado.

Me imagino también que tuvo que haber tomado otro mes en la traducción del site.

Bueno como dije.. yo pensé que el número está bajito.. digo si se puede hacer algo así entre 2-3 pelagatos en 2-3 meses, pero sería algo simple sin la complicaciones de workflow y seguridad que requiere una aplicación bancaria.

Gil C. Schmidt

12 de agosto de 2008, 18:09
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dijo...

Despite the reasonable comments that support the notion that Banco Popular paid or invested $2 million in their new web app, I have to toss in a Jenial "Poppycock!" to go along with an MC "Bullshit!"

There are two "reasons" for them to claim such a number: Tax deductions and future fees. By claiming $2 million (and We know banks can play with numbers like any two-bit Mafia bookie), they can cut into what they have stated--ad nauseam--are excessively high corporate taxes. (Boo-hoo.) And for another, how much do you want to bet that within the next 90 days, Banco Popular changes its current banking fee structure (already the highest around) to a new height of abuse? Let's guess how much publicity they give THOSE numbers...

rubyfanboy

13 de agosto de 2008, 08:27
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dijo...

2 million?! WTF?! are we talking mexican pesos here? you totally called: it's bullcrap. i mean, i'm sure i can slap something together in rails in a week and maybe add a month if you want useless testing. creating new accounts should be as simple as doing an insert in mysql. how hard can that be? it's not like big banks have a bunch of mainframes, millions of customers, complex security infrastructures, federal regulations to comply with, blah, blah; that make development more complex than what it seems. no, i'm sure it's not that. that's the excuse all big companies use.

there's certainly a correlation between how much companies invest in development and the future of web development in any given country. that's why there's no future in the u.s. either. have you looked at the internal billing rates in companies like google, yahoo, etc? those guys pay upwards of $200k for non-phd comp sci grads. so even if they don't charge for the apps we use they really don't do stuff cheap. that's why china and india is where it's at.

anyhow, you brought some good insight with that post. you totally rock!

la chica

13 de agosto de 2008, 09:11
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dijo...

La verdad es que no quería perder mis energías contestando a @gil C. schmidt, pero es que me asombra tanto la ignorancia de alguna gente.

me parece que el enfoque de esta noticia debe ser la innovación tecnologica que Popular ha protagonizado. el mundo de sistemas de información en Puerto Rico está en su mayor parte rejido por paquetes de software ya pre-hechos en USA, India, donde sea...y muchos basados en tecnologias de Microsoft (pleeeease!). Rara vez se diseña y se programa un software de esta magnitud, sino se compran esos paquetes y se customizan un poco.

Ya era hora que Puerto Rico tomara la delantera en todos los aspectos del software development process: análisis, diseño, desarrollo, testing, etc. Y usando una infraestructura tecnologica moderna, flexible, open. Ademas ya estamos en la delantera respecto a web 2.0, proveyendo funciones dinámicas y centradas en el cliente.

Y sobre futuros cargos...HELLO!! Como parte del nuevo sistema se introdujo una cuenta en internet que es libre de cargos y tiene todas las ventajas de una cuenta regular!!

Anónimo

13 de agosto de 2008, 10:33
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dijo...

First of all, it isn't just a "website" with 5 to 20 forms, a database, and a little security as you so eloquently put it.

It's a critical banking web-app involving millions of real-time banking transactions at any given time. SCREW the "forms". We're talking about online account openings, financial statements and all types of detailed transactions (such as transfers and payments, etc.) for every type of account offered. All in real-time.

You seem to forget all the communication involved with various mainframes, various databases, various web-services as well as integrating existing infrastructure such as banking-by-phone.

As for security... a "little security" doesn't cut it. If your idea of security is locking up your "dirt cheap quad servers" in a room with a lock and key, then you should be a security guard and not a programmer. Extreme security is needed everywhere imaginable. It's not just a simple username and password, click your heels twice and you'll be back in Kansas again. We're not just talking about encryption. You have to comply with various federal laws and auditing that are required by the US Government, which has been made extremely strict ever since the 911 attacks. Those audits affect not only affect encryption, but they also determine HOW you go about getting and using all the information available to you. They affect the architecture and database designs as well as the programming methodology.

As for the number of people working on the project, it's not just a project manager, analyst, and a few programmers as you seem to think. You also have to deal with the legal department of all the parties involved, revise and renew contracts, revise and renew BRD's. There are a lot more people involved.

As a critical web-app programmer, I'm deeply disappointed by your perceptions.

My perception is that if you believe that large scale enterprise web-apps can be achieved by programming a couple of forms in Ruby on Rails connecting to a database with a few simple tables, then you should stop wasting your time playing World of Warcraft and blogging, and apply for a job as a programming instructure at your local community college. It's obvious you know little of what you speak.

I apologize if my perception is incorrect, but given that you are so quick to rant and bash other people's work with baseless claims, then I am entitled to this perception. Check your facts next time you post something that is way off base. After all, it seems that most people commenting on this post disagree with your point of view.

Anónimo

13 de agosto de 2008, 10:42
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dijo...

While I won't comment on the validity of the $2 million figure, I will say that this whole post smells of First Year Comp. Sci student.

Sure, any competent programmer can develop the core functionality in 4 - 6 weeks, but this would only be covering the front-end application and its connectivity to the Business Layer. You do need to consider the effort required to re-architect the back end systems, the huge amount of testing required to ascertain that YOUR money is safeguarded, etc.

This is not a simple application taking in user input and simply writing a row to the database. It would be very ignorant to assume this effort is solved by a simple, single tier architecture where a Java servlet writes directly to a MySQL table.

Also, it is wrong to compare costs when it seems like you are comparing the hardware costs to those you would incur by going to NewEgg and throwing together your homegrown QuadCore PC with a pirated copy of Windows or free distribution of Linux. You have to keep in mind the licensing costs (Yes, enterprise Linux with 24/7 support is costly, how else do you think Novell and Red Hat do their business?). Also, a simple Dreamhost account will not suffice. It requires a good data center, with all the associated monitoring, utilities and support costs.

I won't go into any more detail, but my point is clear: you can't compare what you can do on your free time, to what it takes to analyze, develop, test and deploy a whole new application, from scratch, which complies with all Federal regulations and meets high standards of security, within a corporate environment. For those of you with no real experience, here's a shocker: programmers are not the only people involved in the creation of such a product.

Anónimo

13 de agosto de 2008, 11:39
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dijo...

I'd hate to see you play cards/poker at a casino. It seems that you terribly played bluff has been called and you owe $2 million.

Anónimo

13 de agosto de 2008, 11:40
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dijo...

Thank God smart people have taken the time to respond to such post. rubyfanboy seems that just took a programming course in mysql and thinks the real world is just as writing up some code for his next assignment. hope u never work for my company and i hope to never ever have to use a software coded by u, much less a BANKING software in mysql with no testing!

Anónimo

13 de agosto de 2008, 15:37
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dijo...

Wow, I'm so amazed how this heading has been so loud. The best thing on this is no matter how many dollars has been used to develop this APPLICATION (not a cheapy html site, hosted at geocities...)Banco Popular can tell anybody that all of their products are based on you...yes...you in mind in order to provide all of the comfort you need to make all of your transactions. -Yes, $2 millions to pay for quality programming.
-Yes, $2 millions to make your daily transactions secured.
-Yes, $2 millions to PROGRAM a very complex APPLICATION that address people needs in an online environment.
-Yes, $2 millions to contribute with the environment too...!!!
-Yes, $2 millions to help YOU to save on gas (stay at home and do your interaction without going to a branch to open an account.
-Yes, $2 millions to BUILD a NON-HTML site for those like you that think that Quality Measurement doesn't count.
-Yes, $2 millions to advice other companies that there are programmers...that can build a html-based form site in less time, of course they can! but in short time the company will invest more than $2 millions to fix it.
-Yes, $2 millions to invest in a TOP of the line A P P L I C A T I O N...not a simple wiki page.....[[[[[PRICELESS]]]]

MC Don Dees

13 de agosto de 2008, 16:32
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dijo...

Well, as the comments continue to roll in, first let me say thanks for reading and participating on Dondequiera. I think this has been a blast and I hope that we can continue our discussion. The only way we're going to make any effective changes in Puerto Rico is to discuss the "un-touchable" topics, i.e., those topics everyone privately acknowledges but no one publicly decries. At least, not until Dondequiera arrived.

Do you smell that? Yeah, I can assure you that I'm cooking up a smackdown of monumental proportions. So please stay tuned well I take care of business.

You know it's curious, if I didn't know any better I'd say most of you sound like you're part of Bacoo Popular's senior management, and as senior executives typically do, you're missing the point that is right in front of your faces.

I think I'll title my response, "Jane, you ignorant slut. You're wrong is so many ways I bet you had to take Introduction to Computer Logic twice."

Seriously, you have know idea who you're dealing with. Dondequiera is not an IT blog, for that maybe you should stop over at Tecnetico.com, I know his topics are easier to understand. I didn't want to get all technical on you all, but if it's a software development smackdown you want, that my friends, is what you are going to get.

No, Dondequiera is about a couple of guys trying to change the Internet paradigm in Puerto Rico. Sure it's David against BPPR's Goliath. But we, unlike anyone who hides behind a desk programming away at a safe job, are willing to put our careers on the line, in fact our very livelihood and that of our families to work on what we believe in. We felt so strongly about creating a new web start-up sector for the Internet, that we have risked more than you can possibly imagine. So yes, when BPPR came out with their $2 million announcement, I felt it was my duty to call them as I see them, for I believe that the announcement continues the damage Evertec started with TicketPop. In other words it's this type of spin that holds the Internet industry back. Tomorrow I'll be holding class on IT, Software Development, and Business Strategy, so bring a sharp pencil you're about to get schooled.

Karma

13 de agosto de 2008, 17:19
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dijo...

I'll be expecting your schooling with bated breath.

I don't expect to see much from someone who visualizes an enterprise financial website as just 10 - 15 forms tied to a single database.

This is not a fancy, event marketing website with a couple of tables in SQL and a simple implementation of the Google API thrown over some 2001-era HTML front end with IIS.

Don't throw rocks while living in a glass house... I wouldn't be so firm of my insight when all I could hope to show for it is a single site such as DondeEs (while claiming it's the second coming of Jesus Christ when it comes to Web 2.0 in Puerto Rico).

Luis Benitez

13 de agosto de 2008, 19:27
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dijo...

Mc,

Yo no trabajo para el banco (puedes ver para quien trabajo en mi profile), pero si conozco a par de gente que trabaja ahi (quien no!!).

¿Por qué no nos juntamos tu, rubyfanboy y yo y codificamos esto para el Banco?? Si lo pueden hacer en menos de un mes, se lo vendemos a Evertec por unos $20,000 (digamos) y que nos paguen una mensualidad.

You know how to contact me.. :)

Por mi parte, yo llevo en software development desde el '97 asi que voy a estar atento a las clases que me vas a dar.. (siempre me gusta mantenerme updated).

Peace!

Gil C. Schmidt

13 de agosto de 2008, 19:53
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dijo...

Jenius here...switching to Spanish: La pseudoanónima lachica no "quiere perder tiempo" contestándome, alegando que se asombra de Mi ignorancia.

Yo a veces Me asombra de ella también, pero en este caso, ni estamos tan en desacuerdo como crees, y la que se equivoca por milla y media es lachica, no El Jenio.

Yo he sido partidiario y partícipe de desarrollar tecnología y empresas tecnológicas en Puerto Rico; en eso Estamos de acuerdo. (Lee Gil The Jenius y verás que hablo más y mejor del tema que casi todos los demás.) Que Seamos una fuente de innovaciones tecnológicas, en eso Estamos de acuerdo. Que le demos una patada a los productitos de Microsoft, Estamos de acuerdo. Pero de ahí en adelante, Dejamos los acuerdos y Tengo que explicarte cómo son las cosas.

Mencionas "software ya pre-hechos" que "se customizan un poco." Hello! ¿Has oído de módulos e integración? Si dudas de su aplicación a la banca (como hacen los patéticos "anónimos" POPpyHeads), Wells Fargo, Bank of America y Chase Manhattan han creados sus websites a base de módulos...y todos ellos son más grandes y más visibles que el Banco Popular.

Mencionas que "Puerto Rico tomara la delantera" y que en "web 2.0". Ojalá eso fuera cierto, pero estoy de acuerdo con Don Dees que en cosas web, Estamos a 10 años de alcanzar el "cutting edge" diario de Web 2.0 Además, la definición de "web 2.0" es que se basa en "mash-ups", o sea, combinación de programas y servicios YA ESTABLECIDOS. Si arguyes que el Banco Popular es "impresionante" (Mi palabra, no la suya) por crear algo "in house", no puedes decir entonces que representa un esfuerzo vanguardista de web 2.0.

Sobre la cuenta nueva que ofrece el Popular, revisa los términos y condiciones con cuidado. Verás que pueden añadir cargos en cualquier momento. Lo que han hecho es ponerle bondo a un puerco y llamarlo "Pancho." O Richard.

Además, Mi argumento de que usarán sus alegados $2 millones como deducción es simple procedimiento comercial básico; lo que falta es que demuestren que los gastaron y NO DUDO que eso harán. (Que lo hayan hecho para su website es asunto con sólo dos caras: estupidez o mentira.) Y siguiendo la línea de simple procedimiento comercial básico, ¿quién crees que va a pagar ese gasto del Popular? ¿Los POPpyHeads? Claro que no: Lo van a pagar los clientes del Popular y los que Usamos sus servicios, lo querramos o no. (Asumo que sabes que es el Popular el que maneja la inmensa mayoría de las transacciones electrónicas de dinero en la Isla...)

Para los que dicen que "hay" que gastar esa cantidad de dinero porque "es un banco," están usando un argumento falso. Es como decir que hay que darle una aspirina cara a un ejecutivo "porque no es un simple obrero." Transacciones bancarias están harta definidas, se han creado cientos de programas para manejarlas, hay cientos de protocolos de seguridad ya establecidos y lo UNICO que hay que "personalizar" son las pantallas" porque TODO el "back end" ya está hecho. TODOS esos protocolos se han pulido a 95-98% de su forma y proceso final. A estas alturas, con más de 12 años de banca personal por Internet alrededor del mundo, gastar y que $2 millones en "pantallitas" es cosa de vanidosos o idiotas...que total, es lo mismo.

Por último, el Popular adquirió a eLoan hace más de 2 años. ¿No te perece que ese website sería mejor servido por los supuestos $2 millones? Después de todo, es "customer-centric," "empowering" y "levels the playing field"...que el Popular ahoga en la Isla. Si quieres sorprenderte de la ignorancia de algunos, pondera primero lo que no has visto, y luego lo que eLoan no ha hecho.

El Cuervo

13 de agosto de 2008, 20:45
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dijo...

Saludos,

Nunca había escuchado de este blog (ni de la compañía de tras de él), y lo acabo de descubrir gracias a un forward que me enviaron por email de este post.
Tras leer el post (y algunos otros posts anteriores) no tengo duda que el autor tiene la intención de tener un impacto positivo en lo que respecta a la situación actual en Puerto Rico, y esto per se es aplaudible.
Sin embargo, el argumento que presenta deja mucho que desear.
El autor generaliza los requirements de software, hardware, y bandwith necesario para proveer servicios de banca por internet. Dado que los requirementes de hardware y network para hacer un "web site" con cerca de 20 forms y una base de datos son aparentemente bajos (según parece sugerir el autor), entonces todo el costo tiene que corresponder exclusivamente al desarrollo del software.
Así que partiendo de que los 2 millones corresponden exclusivamente a sueldo de developers y managers, el autor plantea que el costo es excesivo, basado en un "napking estimate" el cual no presenta y luego procede a buscar explicaciones de por qué el costo anunciado no concuerda con su "napking estimate".
El problema es que sin la servilleta no hay argumento, ni espacio para discutir la validez de la conclusión. Cualquier elaboración, análisis y conclusión luego del estimado, realmente no tiene mucha substancia, si no se basan en detalles concretos relacionados al tipo de aplicación y los sistemas de información con los que trabaja e integra.

Roger Haldane

13 de agosto de 2008, 22:47
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dijo...

So I just finished putting on my best clothes, since we seem to be honored by the presence of a self-appointed diva. Time for another comment.

So you bash on la chica using Bank of America as an example of a bank that has used pre-packaged integration modules before. Yet you ignore her main point: that this software is expensive and developed offshore.

Perhaps you may think we are 10 years behind (I don't agree), but that may be due to the lack of cooperation between artists and programmers. In Puerto Rico someone throws something fancy looking into Flash and calls it quits, but no one seems to be able to create a nice looking, simple website that adheres to the Web 2.0 ideology. Take all the event sharing sites (DondeEs being one of them), most of them are very poorly implemented, surely thrown together by some programmer without the aid of a good web designer. That's what is keeping us behind times... You should still revise your 10 year figure, as I don't see many frames based, animated GIF-loaded websites these days anymore.

Web 2.0 is a loose term, and I agree that most of the social aspects are lost on a banking site, for obvious purposes (what, do you want Facebook integration so that you can see that "Jil has just submitted his minimum payment for August!" in your news feed?). However, there are some other aspects to Web 2.0 that may still be present in the upcoming site. I guess we will have to wait until next week and see what Popular has cooked up for us.

About the new Online Account, you mention that BPPR may throw some unexpected charges on us any day according to the T&C. You'll find that this is probably standard legalese for any financial service. Just take a read through the terms of any service next time you subscribe, you'll find the exact same sentence worded differently. It's just a way of covering your rear in the corporate world. And if they do charge you a couple of months from now? They would be invalidating the whole point of this new account, making it no different than the others, and you could just as well close it and move to another bank. They would not be holding your money hostage in any way.

I won't touch your taxing comment, as it has no place in this discussion. You can't compare a press release, with the actual documents that are used during an audit for the exact purposes you mention. A competent CPA won't go by whatever the newspaper says. Leave it to him to determine the validity of the $2M figure.

Clients, as in any capitalist country, will pay for the service. If you don't agree with this, may I suggest buying a one way ticket to Cuba? The reality is that Popular dominates the financial market in Puerto Rico, but there's nothing preventing any bank from challenging this. Since this is a capitalist world, banks tend to just go with the most economic route and choose to pay Popular to use their already established network. It's their decision not to lay down their own fiber. Not to mention, the datacenter and network operations center at Evertec is top notch and one of the main reasons banks prefer to just stick to the BPPR network.

I don't like calling people ignorant, but your next paragraph really makes it very hard for me to keep my mouth shut. You say that transactional systems are well established and all it takes is some customization of a couple of screens? Are you being serious? All banks have different needs which are not defined in the front end. The architecture of these systems is always evolving. You could have a point if you are referring to mainframes as being already established. Yet you don't seem to be aware of the decades long transition that all banks are participating in. Technologies keep evolving, they are being tested, implemented and proven, and that's how the newest hardware is taken advantage of. It's not as simple as throwing in a QuadCore into the room and calling it a day.

Back to the $2M. I don't see where in the article it is said that it cost $2M to pay the developers. I assume this figure covers the acquisition of eLoan (as you mentioned), it's integration into the current system, new hardware and maintenance costs (hosting your own server is expensive, this is not something co-location will suffice, don't even mention DreamHost or GoDaddy), a team of support & monitoring personnel to keep it running 24/7 without a hitch, the migration of legacy software and hardware towards a new architecture, and the change into real time banking (most banks take a couple of days to process transactions, BPPR claims they are moving towards real time). After all those costs are factored in, it leaves very, very little for the actual development of the online application. What you see through your browser is not just one page with some forms and a single database backing it. This is the end point, the result of the integration of multiple systems and the effort of dozens of people.

Kindly waiting for tomorrow's smackdown.

estas alturas, con más de 12 años de banca personal por Internet alrededor del mundo, gastar y que $2 millones en "pantallitas" es cosa de vanidosos o idiotas...que total, es lo mismo.

Por último, el Popular adquirió a eLoan hace más de 2 años. ¿No te perece que ese website sería mejor servido por los supuestos $2 millones? Después de todo, es "customer-centric," "empowering" y "levels the playing field"...que el Popular ahoga en la Isla. Si quieres sorprenderte de la ignorancia de algunos, pondera primero lo que no has visto, y luego lo que eLoan no ha hecho.

Hector

13 de agosto de 2008, 22:53
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dijo...

I'm willing to bring my Sarcasm detector to tomorrow's lesson (by MC DON DEES! OMG); the way I see it, rubyfanboy's comment is full of it.

The fact that it seems so close to MC Don Dees's original argument, is perhaps what makes some of you believe he is being serious. Well, no, what MC Don Dees's is stating in this post is actually as absurd as rubyfanboy's tongue in cheek insight.

Looking forward to the schooling, from the sidelines, obvously.

Roger Haldane

13 de agosto de 2008, 23:26
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dijo...

Please note that the last paragraph in my previous post, the one in spanish, is a leftover from Gil's post, as I was using it to go through each of his points. It's supposed to be a quote, everything else in english within my comment was of my own authoring.

Cheers

rubyfanboy

13 de agosto de 2008, 23:45
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dijo...

wow. this has turned out to be quite an entertaining flame war. particularly funny are the anonymous corporate suits that got all defensive. the dondequira dudes shouldn't get all pissed off either - it's always good to have extra traffic with lively discussions. especially when most people here have no idea what they're talking about and they know it.

look, i'm sure there are a bunch of ways that building an industrial strength java app can add up to 2 million. you can say that you're integrating multiple legacy applications (that's corporate speak for old cobol junk), engaging multidisciplinary teams, using all kinds of java frameworks, have a dedicated staff of highly competent developers, and that the ability to put this online with thousands of concurrent users really does add up to a lot of hours, blah, blah, blah. fine, it _could_ be justified. of course i jest when i say that it could be done in a week, but with that kind of money i can buy a big-ass house and enough mountain dew to code that up in a couple of months without sleeping and still have some pocket change left. that kind of money just sounds ridiculous, even if i don't know how much effort it really took.

...and what's the deal with smackdowns? that's soooo WWE. how about a COD4 shootout online? xbl o psn - you decide...

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 00:07
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dijo...

For those of u with access to BPPR's internet banking, u can already check out the new version at:

https://beta.bancopopular.com

Roger, Luis, el cuervo, karma, hector you guys rock!

Gabriel

14 de agosto de 2008, 09:06
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dijo...

Too much actual work for me lately but I can't let this pass without at least some quick comments:
I am not sure the defensive comments here are from people who worked on the project. Maybe they doesn't even work for the bank. There are some of us who are very defensive about our institutions and BPPR has insinuated itself as Patrimonio Nacional. Their ads are very patriotic, their CDs etc. Pointing out its flaws makes some ppl react like you are pointing out the flaws of Puerto Rico itself and that makes people uncomfortable

We have a discussion both in English and Spanish, without missing a beat. I think thats a great reflection of our society. Is it a good thing this mix of languages? I dunno, maybe its part of the reason we have collectively clouded judgment

About the two million. Go to a bank, any bank. Look at the reception area. Expensive floors, good carpets, nice cubicles, artwork. Beautiful, expensive places. Unlike cooperativas and other financial institutions, banks like to present opulence. Its part of the image, marketing. So for them to say they paid 2 million for an app, its bragging rights. Marketing. Many people will feel better about using it, “oh my money and identity are secure, the bank invested good money on this”. Could it be done as well for less. Well of course. The problem is not the app and the functionality, its the business intelligence and the liability behind the whole thing. I once worked on a project where the basic functionality for the web side of the app was done in a few months. Then every user facing screen was sent to the lawyers for review. Plus there were some arcane rule to connect from the web servers to the app server and to the actual database. More and more people got involved, more complexity got piled on. The cost was really high. Banking is very traditional, they are set in the Way Things Are. If BPPR had someone like Arkadi Kuhlmann leading them, it would be a different story.

Gabriel

14 de agosto de 2008, 09:07
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dijo...

One more thing. It speaks volumes of this blog that even with moderated comments, the owners have allowed dissenting opinions to show up. I normally don't post on moderated blogs but here its used effectively.

Gil C. Schmidt

14 de agosto de 2008, 11:38
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dijo...

My Thanks to Roger for going at My post point-by-point and doing so with brains attached to the process. As for Me being a self-appointed diva, I rock!

Whether We are 10 years behind or 5 or 6.112 is semantics, but We ARE behind. Your observation about the disconnect between artists and programmers is spot-on; I've seen it too often and I'm neither one of those things.

Yes, you can switch your account into and out of Popular, but they will still nickel-and-dime you on ATM, credit card and other electronic processing fees. How bad are they? I've interviewed more than 65 small businesses (gas stations, bakeries, boutiques, etc.) that refuse to have ATM systems anymore. "Too expensive and don't work well," are the usual complaints. Now that's Evertec's bailiwick and thus, Popular's. (I note that all the businesses I interviewed are west of an Arecibo-Ponce line.) And banks that charge ATM fees say it's because Popular charges them. That might be true, then again, it just might be pure bank-bashing.

I never said or advocate that Popular take a tax deduction based on a press release, only that this type of expense can and is taken as a deduction. However, a big deduction most often requires a big splash to make it seem more valid.

Your only ignorant point--and I stand by My use of the word ignorant--is suggesting I take a no-return trip to Cuba because I seem to object to paying for services. You're wrong. My point was that Popular wasn't "gifting" the website and in fact had the basic business responsibility of having clients pay for it. I simply objected to--and still object to--the idea that the website was "worth" $2 million. Remarks like these ("Love it or leave it") are the fallbacks for weak arguments. You--and I--deserve better.

As per My anecdote above, Evertec is not "the best" in many eyes, but it is "the only one" to too many. Should others compete? Hell yeah. Why do you think I'm interviewing these businesses?

A person may paint the banking industry as complex as they like, but this Popular website scenario boils down to three factors: (1) Financial regulations and standards; (2) Bookkeeping and (3) Hundreds if not thousands of successful models e-transaction models. For Popular to claim that claim that it needed to "start from scratch" is ludicrous. Thousands of banks handle millions of transactions worth billions of dollars an hour and you want to tell Me that Popular is so special it needs a new thingamijiggy that no one else has? Negatory. What it needs is its own look, and for that, only an idiot would pay $2 million. That the whole infrastructure costs that and more is beyond question, but then say that's what you spent the money on and don't go trying to snow Us on those other pipe dreams.

And finally, Thanks for dressing up in order to dress My arguments down a tad. I gather this won't be the last time We exchange viewpoints.

BIGuy

14 de agosto de 2008, 14:39
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dijo...

You know what the difference between steak and bologna is? Steak is the KING of meats, and bologna is his retarded cousin.

Arguing on the internet is like running in the special Olympics. Even if you win you're still retarded my friend.

The only thing you have proved with this post is:

1.You know nothing about business, marketing, internet banking, hell ANYTHING. You know squat. Your comments are baseless and are more of a rant of a jealous man than an informed individual.

2.Your folly is such you are arrogant enough to defy anyone who knows more about the internet than you? Hellooooooo you already proved you have no knowledge whatsoever.

and finally...
3.You probably eat a lot of bologna :)

What's great about the internet is that anyone can say whatever and not be accountable. You have tossed around so much non-sense and give the impression that you actually know a thing or two.

Like my old friend George Carlin used to say: "There are two types of people. Those who are idiots and those who are full of shit. You listen to a person and say this guy is a fucking idiot, the you listen to another and say... well he's fairly intelligent and well informed but somehow makes no sense... ahhhh HE'S FULL OF SHIT!!"

You my friend are both.

Oh and btw if your site is the front runner for web2.0 we are not impressed. And stop telling your friends from the world of war craft guild to stop helping you out by posting messages agreeing with you, and tell them to go back to discuss who was a better star trek captain Piccard or Kirk. That's really all they are good for.

-Peace

MC Don Dees

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:02
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dijo...

Hey bigguy:

I'm rubber and you're glue. Everything you say bounces off me
and sticks to you.

Seriously, was that like an autobiographical comment, or what? Because all I could think while reading it was, how ironic. This comment applies to itself. Ahh it was a recursive comment, clever.

Once again if you're not impressed with our web2.0 site, then tell me which one, made in Puerto Rico, you are impressed with?

Karma

14 de agosto de 2008, 16:23
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dijo...

Dude, just because the field is full of turds, and you happen to dump a shiny load, that doesn't give you automatic bragging rights. After all, a turd is a turd, even if it smells like flowers and has a nice pattern of corn kernels on it.

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 18:30
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dijo...

Pienso que el que hace este blog estudio en la inter o en la poli o en la umet ... no sabe lo que habla

Gil C. Schmidt

14 de agosto de 2008, 19:23
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dijo...

Here's a different, already-mentioned angle: What if $2 million for the website is too little?

I argue Popular overpaid. So let's put on Our Jenius Devil's Advocate hat and say--for the purposes of a hypothetical discussion only--that $2 million is not that much. That in fact, what Popular was doing with its website was so complex (I initially wrote "sooooo", but edited it in favor of an annoying parenthetical comment) that $2 million doesn't come close to covering all the bits and bytes and e-ball bearings it takes to crank out a top-of-the-line banking website.

Okay, Let's say that's the case. So here's My question: Then why SAY it cost $2 million? If it SHOULD or COULD have cost more, then Popular should be trumpeting its fiscal savvy, its sterling management acumen in these times of recessionary anxiety. It should be lecturing and hectoring the banking wanna-bes on how to REALLY make your mojo dance when the piper's got asthma. In short, Popular should be slanting this as SMART EXECUTION. But did Popular do that?

--crickets chirping to annoy the coquíes--

Nuh-uh. It did not. Let Me repeat: It. Did. Not. So what are We left with:

1) It really cost more than $2 million, but they said "$2 million." Busted.
2) It cost less than $2 million and they said it cost $2 million. Plausible.
3) It actually cost $2 million and they said so. Plausible.

Take either plausible and you're back to My original contention: Popular lied and/or they invested like idiots. Revamping, reengineering, redesigning a functional website is not a $2 million proposition, unless you want to fling money around like a drunken sailor or you want to pretend to be a hotshot. Either way, you're acting stupid, and whether you're a bank or a bologna salesman, you SHOULD expect to get called on it.

Or We could all just blame the Marketing Department for screwing it up, like tech-heads do every time the shinola hits the Victrola...

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 19:55
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dijo...

Gil, you should go ahead and study the differences between a website, and a whole infrastructure for financial transactions that just so happens to have a web application interface built on top of it.

Why does it seem like the naysayers keep visualizing what BPPR announced as just another simple website thrown together in DreamWeaver, with some SQL queries written into it?

Luis Benitez

14 de agosto de 2008, 20:03
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dijo...

ok.. I can't keep track anymore.. we need a forum!! :)

Gil, you seem to be mad at the fact that BPPR had to advertise how much it cost in the press release. Don't all companies do that ? I'm sure mine has done it... Even the government entities alway say: "$__ million allocated to XYZ program".

I also see it a lot in the mainland... it's just how press releases are done. Companies want to make clear how much they are investing in the local economy.

"Sprint invests $28 million to upgrade cell towers"...
"Centennial invests $40 million to"...
"Cemex invests $250 million in Puerto Rico"...

Anyway... this is where blogs break as a collaboration tool. Blogspot and other blog engines (e.g. wordpress) should have a feature to show all comments by thread to make it easier to follow.

Anónimo

14 de agosto de 2008, 20:22
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dijo...

Dale, como dijo Gil: "Que le demos una patada a los productitos de Microsoft, Estamos de acuerdo."

Vamos a tirar entonces dondees.com directito pal zafacon que esta programada en paginitas .asp...y este es el que nos esta dando lectures de IT y web 2.0. Bah!!

Mauricio Pujals

14 de agosto de 2008, 20:30
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dijo...

Jajá eso esta muy gracioso. No veo por que atacan al banco por utilizar Java, cuando el lenguaje de su preferencia es ASP.

No es que tenga una mala opinion de ASP - cualquier ingeniero competente reconoce que el mejor lenguaje para un proyecto es precismente el mismo que tu equipo domina - sin embargo para hecharle fiero a Java, tienes que "backearte" con algo mas fuerte que ASP, no crees?

Omar

14 de agosto de 2008, 21:52
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dijo...

Hey MC, do you know what doesn't impress me at all about your Web 2.0 website?

IT DOES NOT WORK IN FIREFOX.

You know, the golden boy of the Web 2.0 revolution? You've designed a web site that only works in Internet Explorer... no wonder you find $2M to be so expensive - you don't even spend the time to make your site work with all the common browsers!

That's one of the most rookie mistakes one can find in today's web design, yet you seem to believe to know enough to talk about the necessary work to keep an enterprise level web application running like butter.

Omar

14 de agosto de 2008, 21:56
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dijo...

To quantify my previous comment with facts, just visit http://dondees.com/puerto_rico/Villa-7---Parques-Nacionales/1618 using Firefox and try to "Enviar a amigo" or any of the other buttons. It's broken in Firefox.

You get what you pay for... I wouldn't doubt that if MC made a banking web site for $30,000 or whatever he may charge for his work, it would only end up working in Internet Explorer 5.4 while using Windows XP only in 800x600 16-bit resolution. And who's 10 years behind when it comes to the Internet now?

Gil C. Schmidt

14 de agosto de 2008, 21:57
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dijo...

Luis, I'm not mad at the announcement per se, for you are right: It IS a good thing for a company to talk about what you've invested in. What bothers Me about Popular (and I have plenty of beefs against it) is that it makes this announcement sans proper context. Now I will admit that I want it to be in MY context, i.e., reasonable investment, but I'm entitled to My opinion on that and, like you, I've provided context for Mine.

In any case, Popular doesn't give a damn what I think is reasonable investment or not. But I agree with My friend Don Dees that they've erred in the amount, and yet I continue to read the opposing views to see if there's enough in them to convince Me otherwise. So far, what I see is a ton of anonymous blather and bad spelling. Most likely Poppyheads, I think.

Omar

14 de agosto de 2008, 21:58
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dijo...

To hit the bug I just mentioned, just go to http://dondees.com/puerto_rico/Villa-7---Parques-Nacionales/1618 and click on Evaluaciones before trying the buttons. That's what happens when you undercut yourself and don't do all which is necessary.

Omar

14 de agosto de 2008, 22:14
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dijo...

I stand corrected - the bug shows up in IE as well. As long as you try to see the reviews before clicking anywhere else, it will happen.

Just goes on to show what happens when you believe you have a complete website done in a couple of weeks without extensive testing and peer code review.

rubyfanboy

14 de agosto de 2008, 22:35
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dijo...

ok, i lost interest on the whole topic by the time i got to the george carlin quote. wtf?! and what's so wrong about star trek discussions vs. the other highly sophisticated conversations going on here with people calling each other ignorants? although i do have to admit that star trek is for old people, just like java. i just wanted to chime in when they got into putting down people for using asp. that's just wrong. although i just realized that i have nothing positive to say about it either.

MC Don Dees

15 de agosto de 2008, 19:29
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dijo...

Thanks for pointing this out Omar, yeah, I know people in glass houses. I do appreciate the feedback.

JK

23 de diciembre de 2009, 01:34
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dijo...

Disregarding the large ammount of money the bank said to have invested in making the application to benefit it's consumers, I think your blog entry does nothing more than criticize in an extremely ridiculous way the fact that Banco Popular is a company from Puerto Rico. It is NOT necessary to point out such petty details about the relationship between them, it mocks and disrespects the country's community. You're just ranting on about random facts that you support all the way synically.

If you think it's so simple, and you think the bank's proclaimed invesment is bullshit, why don't you propose a solution or an objective opinion on the matter Einstein?
Or are you just about "smart" and "witty" only to be a sarcastic and synical twit?

MC Don Dees

23 de diciembre de 2009, 05:04
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dijo...

Hey JK,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective.

First of all, since I live in Puerto Rico, I think that entitles me a certain creative license.

What irked me about their announcement was the claim that they were advancing the state of the Internet in Puerto Rico and throwing around a number that seemed absurdly high.

I still stand by my assessment, I'm sorry you feel that expressing my dis-satisfaction seemed inappropriate, however I am entitled to my opinion.