Jesper Steiness (STP SuisseTechPartners): Taking the Financial Industry into the Cloud

Jesper Steiness, Head of Business Development at SuisseTechPartners (STP), says today’s market turbulence, and the sudden embrace of home and remote working, have illustrated how native cloud technology solutions represent not just the future, but the present, for the financial industry.

 

Why is cloud deployment so critical to the future of the financial industry?

In a current environment that poses a threat not just to the profitability, but the survival of a wide range of businesses across the financial services industry; the wealth management, asset management and asset servicing sectors are particularly in need of technological solutions that will boost their efficiency, reduce their cost base, and perhaps most importantly, enable them to prepare for the business requirements and the workforce of tomorrow. That’s why the adoption of native cloud solutions – rather than just existing systems upgraded to be cloud-enabled – is an essential step. Not only does native cloud technology significantly lower companies’ fixed investment, it offers greater flexibility, scalability, efficiency and security. On top of that it, the agile development techniques allow FinTech providers to deliver enhancements much quicker, which is needed both now and in the future. Native cloud deployment furthermore facilitates financial firms’ ability to develop more effective business continuity planning (BCP). That is one lesson that has already become evident in the light of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak – and another is that the workforce of tomorrow, is likely to be rather different from today’s. The crisis has obliged companies to recognise the logic of home working, not only at times of pandemic infection, but as a new paradigm of working practice, set to be embraced ever more fully by Generation Z and its successor, Generation Alpha, which will start to join the workforce toward the end of this decade. For them, flexible working hours and locations will be the rule, not the exception, and companies that cannot offer such flexibility, will not be able attract and retain the talent of tomorrow.

“The days in which companies needs’ could be met by complex legacy solutions and basements full of server hardware are rapidly drawing to a close.”

What are the challenges for compliance systems now and in the future?

“But if the future is already here”, as author and futurologist William Gibson wrote, it's not (yet)evenly distributed. For instance, up to now the number of true native cloud compliance solutions in the market is limited, and the number that can be described as top-class, even more so. The current extreme market volatility has highlighted new requirements for the financial industry and the limitations of their existing systems. Users are looking for easy-to-grasp and real-time graphical user interfaces to track asset price and market movements, the ability to generate reporting quickly and easily, and a comprehensive scope covering all relevant structures and instruments. Financial firms cannot afford to make expensive mistakes regarding investment restrictions, especially with the stakes raised by high levels of volatility. The days in which companies needs’ could be met by complex legacy solutions, and basements full of server hardware, are rapidly drawing to a close.

 

How should companies optimise their digital transition?

The fast evolving FinTech world is illustrating how small, nimble and innovative firms can transform the tools needed by financial institutions to survive and thrive in the future – and even the risk of trusting a smaller and newer provider is starting to seem less than the threat of being left with technology incapable of meeting today’s business requirements. What the leading innovative FinTech firms can provide, is the experience of individuals with a proven track record in creating, marketing and developing financial software. Customers will need to check their requirements very diligently and ensure they are obtaining a superior native cloud solution that is future-proofed by agile development cycles. It’s worth bringing younger staff members into the selection process, even if Generation Alpha won’t be around to consult for a few years.

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