Customer stories

BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank streamlines system landscape with OpenText. Large commercial bank saves more than $10 million through data archiving and application decommissioning with OpenText InfoArchive


  • Obliged to long-term data retention requirements within a highly regulated industry
  • Grappled with outdated, redundant systems as result of merger activities
  • Faced rising costs of growing number of legacy applications


  • Archived 4.3 terabytes of data, enabling a holistic view of legacy and current data

  • Saved $5 million per year

  • Achieved 3-month project execution and 12-month project payback


After acquiring M&I Bank in 2010, BMO Harris began a series of business and technology merger activities that identified numerous outdated or redundant legacy applications. Many were running in read-only mode purely for access to data. To address rising costs related to the growing number of legacy systems, BMO Harris developed a data retention and decommissioning (DRD) program.

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We wanted to make sure it really was a partnership. [OpenText] understood exactly what our mission was and we understood what they brought to the table. It’s very rare in a project of this size and scope that you can hit all of the requirements, get them all done and come in on time and on budget. I would absolutely recommend the OpenText InfoArchive application decommissioning solution.

Todd Sesto
Senior Technology Officer, BMO Harris Bank

"BMO Harris is in a highly regulated industry with data retention requirements that range from 7 to 40 years,” said Todd Sesto, Senior Technology Officer at BMO Harris Bank. “We have a history of mergers and acquisition and, with each merger, we get more and more data that has to be consolidated in order to address the expanding number of legacy applications.”

As part of its overall DRD program, BMO Harris embarked on a comprehensive “exit strategy” for data residing in applications at the end of their lifecycle. More than 100 applications were included in the program that began in 2012.

At the time of the decommissioning, the bank was using an application that consisted of three modules and corresponding databases: General Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Fixed Assets. The goal was to efficiently extract legacy data and archive it to a central repository. From there, it could retain and access data in a fully compliant manner, with a complete audit trail and chain of custody tracking. If this could be accomplished, the underlying legacy applications—which were costing more than $285,000 per month to keep running—could be decommissioned.

The project had four primary objectives. The first was to dramatically reduce cost by decreasing legacy software maintenance fees, energy costs for running related legacy hardware platforms and personnel costs to employ individuals with the unique skills to maintain them. Second, to allow easy retrieval of information using familiar web-based tools. Next, to rigorously support compliance requirements for data, including security, privacy, retention and disposal rules. Finally, to reproduce near exact replicas of original reports to minimize user adoption issues. In addition, BMO Harris required that data be stored in a standards based format that would be compatible with future technology.

BMO Harris Bank was able to save $5 million per year with ongoing reductions in the same ballpark due to reduced licensing, infrastructure and ongoing support cost.

Todd Sesto
Senior Technology Officer, BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank selected OpenText™ InfoArchive for its level of built-in functionality and ability to meet requirements at a reasonable cost. The bank also appreciated the approach that OpenText and partner, Flatirons Digital Innovations, brought to the project. While there were many existing repository solutions inside the bank, only InfoArchive offered comprehensive compliance features while assuring vendor stability and future technology compatibility. “We wanted to make sure it really was a partnership. They understood exactly what our mission was and we understood what they brought to the table,” Sesto said.

OpenText and Flatirons leveraged the power and ease of use of InfoArchive and added several pieces of functionality tailored to BMO Harris’s specific application decommissioning needs. This included easy storage of structured and unstructured data in a vendor-neutral, future-proof format, a full audit trail with unbroken chain of custody from data extraction to usage, the ability to query and transform data into reports similar to original systems and fine-grained data retention policies with incremental updates and deletes.

“The key features we’ve used are the easy ability to get data into the application and custom screens for user access to information,” Sesto noted. During the UI design process, InfoArchive’s advanced layout capabilities were used to consolidate data and reports to make the archived data more usable than in the legacy systems. This included scrolling tables, collapsible sections and elimination of views of data that are not important to archive users.

Over the course of three months, the solution exceeded the goals of the initial DRD project. “BMO Harris Bank was able to save $5 million per year with ongoing reductions in the same ballpark due to reduced licensing, infrastructure and ongoing support cost,” Sesto said. “It’s had a great payback for us [and allowed us to] meet regulatory requirements.” Within seven years, BMO Harris decommissioned 16 applications and archived 4.3 terabytes of data. Moreover, the bank demonstrated a compelling ROI over a seven-year period and paid back the cost of the project in 12 months, while improving ease of data access without sacrificing any of its strict data compliance requirements.

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank N.A. is a large commercial bank with more than $195 billion USD in assets. Headquartered in Chicago, it has more than 600 branches across nine states and is a subsidiary of the prestigious Bank of Montreal.