A brief history
Technology forms the bedrock on which the modern financial services industry is built. Ever since the Lombards invented , the financial services industry has been on the forefront of adopting new technologies. NYSE was the first to adopt the telegraph in 1844 to open up access to non-New Yorkers and over take their main rival – the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. More than a century later, NASDAQ rose as the biggest threat to NYSE through their all-electronic trading platform.
Technology as a competitive weapon is firmly ingrained in the organizational psyche of the financial services industry. However, managing the twin combination of technology innovation and financial innovation is a huge challenge. Technology that is typically sold with a 5-year horizon is usually made obsolete in half the time. How does business justify the (often painful) migration to a newer platform?
The status quo
Typically, a financial services company that has been around for more than 10-years usually has a mix of software and hardware platforms ranging from Sun Servers to Windows Desktops, JAVA middleware to .NET and not to mention C/C++ analytics and accounting software tied to specific versions of databases. As the needs of the business evolve, these systems tend to grow in persity as more vendors and specialist programmers are brought in to the mix.
The mission critical and path-dependent nature of these systems hardly gives IT managers any breathing space to think in strategic terms. The tactical nature of IT maintenance and increasing complexity bubbles up to the business not having timely access to critical information.How do you say spaghetti?
The financial crisis has brought renewed focus on risk management and regulatory compliance. Newer forms of risk have emerged: what was interest-rate risk alone now comes with credit-risk. And what was once credit-risk now has a counter-party component to it. Just as markets are globalized, so is risk.
In the era of globalized risk management, data is at a premium. When liquidity can turn on a dime, why should managers make-do with stale information?Cross-cutting concerns
Systems that can reach across to other systems, irrespective of the technology platform or database design – a system that “cross- cuts” information silos – are the answer. IT systems are typically organized hierarchically and IT managers realize that breaking this hierarchy makes the system unstable and difficult to maintain. Over the recent years, a whole crop of IT constructs have emerged to organize concepts that span hierarchies. SOA –is one such construct, mash-ups are another.
Legacy migration will make the system a great asset in the hands of those who know how to leverage it using modern technology. Let us help you capITalize!
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