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IT OUTSOURCING DRIVERS AND LOCATIONS

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Max Orlando

Findings from the KPMG and Deloitte 2012 studies
Two recent surveys conducted by market leaders consulting firms – KPMG and Deloitte – highlight less than optimal performances of IT outsourcing deals as clients are increasingly asking vendors to deliver strategic benefits – such as innovation and long term quality improvements – as well as tactical cost efficiency. By Max Orlando

The demand for Innovation and Quality of Service
In their ‘2012 UK Service Provider Performance and Satisfaction’ perception study (1), KPMG shows unimproved (if not slightly declining) levels of buyer satisfaction with the outcome of IT outsourcing contracts compared to the same study issued in 2010. The study investigated over 630 outsourcing contracts held by 230 clients – with a significant proportion operating in the UK Financial Services industry – and indicates that a substantial percentage of the participants (46%) remain “unsatisfied or indifferent” to the quality of service provided, with concerns over delays and cost escalation particularly prominent (2, 3). Buyer satisfaction appears to fall particularly below par when measured against key indicators such as Innovation, Risk Management and Strategic Relationship.

Max Orlando

Max Orlando

Interestingly, the ‘2012 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey’ issued by Deloitte (4) tells a similar story. The survey shows that nearly half of the respondents (111 global companies across 22 primary industries) had to terminate outsourcing contracts with their vendors in the past due primarily to concerns over the quality of service. Underestimation of the effort by the vendor, sub-par vendor performance and lower than expected cost reductions are quoted as the most important factors leading to contract termination. And it is revealing that – as the same study highlights – cost reduction is no longer the sole driver to outsourcing. Other factors such as ‘gaining competitive advantage’, ‘leveraging new technologies’ and the ‘ability to partner’ are becoming centre stage.

Enter Strategic Relationships
A significant element that emerges from the above studies is the clients’ increasing demand for a ‘Strategic Partnership’ with the vendor as a way to gain access to new skills and technologies while improving the quality of service in the long term. This is unsurprising in light of the findings that a strategic partnership with a specialised IT consultant is required in order to develop new systems capable of creating added value in domains where the client company faces a lack of appropriate resources (5). Outsourcing parties engaging in a trust-based, long term relationship are able to partner so as to actively cooperate in knowledge sharing, which ultimately leads to innovation and value creation (6).

For example, both the KPMG and Deloitte studies highlight an increasing interest in Cloud-based solutions to reduce capital spending and increase agility. KPMG anticipates the emergence of Financial Services-oriented Cloud solutions, while Deloitte places emphasis to the advent of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings, which enable client organisations to focus on value adding IT activities – such as writing code to solve business problems – while leaving the mechanics of infrastructure and operations to the vendor (7). It becomes therefore apparent that there is a clear opportunity in the horizon for client organisations to realise a first-mover advantage. And the know-how developed by vendors specialised in this area could certainly be leveraged to implement such a rapid transformation of the skill set required.

Yet technological change and skill set upgrade may not be the only gains to be made from a ‘strategic partnership’ with an external vendor. Perhaps a more long term benefit could be process innovation through the assimilation of the vendor’s best practices – such as project and risk management methodologies. For example, software development models – such as Agile – or software-oriented process improvement approaches – such as CMMI or ITIL – have been increasingly and successfully adopted by specialised vendors in recent years. Such vendors could therefore help organisations on the client-side understand their business value.

Process innovation and improvement can therefore stem from the absorption of the vendor’s best practices, which in turn requires a shift away from ‘staff augmentation’ and towards a ‘managed’ projects and services outsourcing strategy. A ‘managed’ approach is also beneficial in case the client organisation has a major skills gap, with no short-term plan to close it (8).

IT OUTSOURCING DRIVERS LOCATIONS

IT OUTSOURCING DRIVERS LOCATIONS

Much rhetoric exists around the concept of ‘strategic partnership’ but it seems reasonable to suggest that its essential elements should be the existence of strong and complementary skills (i.e. both parties have something of value to contribute) and the importance of the outsourcing relationship in both partners’ long-term strategic plans (9). This provides an effective platform for an intense two-way knowledge transfer, leading to organisational learning and innovation (10).

Focus on Coordination
As the complexity of the outsourced work increases and the inter-dependency between the client’s and the provider’s tasks intensifies, the issue of coordination between onshore and offshore teams gains prominence as a key factor to determine success or failure of outsourced projects (11). A study on 130 offshore operations presented in the Wall Street Journal revealed that projects that paid close attention to “managing coordination” significantly outperformed those that did not (ibid). Focusing on fostering collaboration between workers separated by geography and culture is found to ease communication and create a common ground of shared knowledge between the client’s and the provider’s teams, which in turn increases the chances of success of the inter-organisational engagement.

Communication is key and indeed Deloitte indicated that “increased communication” is by and large the most prevalent remedy to improve unsatisfactory deals. A coordination strategy to develop integration mechanisms aimed at minimising and bridging the communication gaps is therefore essential. Evidence from in-depth case studies on the subject has pointed to the importance of integration mechanisms such as establishing informal linkages between onshore and offshore staff through frequent, proactive travel and cross-training. Other integration mechanisms include the application of disciplined software processes – such as CMMI – and the setting up of onshore liaison roles dedicated to interfacing with the offshore team (12).

The need to manage coordination across teams is arguably particularly relevant to the provision of custom software solutions. Custom software systems – such as a bespoke system to capture OTC derivative trades or a front-end tool to manage a bank-specific client on-boarding process – have been found to facilitate competitive moves and enable differentiation of the firm (13). Yet the project-based provision of custom software solutions is uniquely more complex than other standardised activities as it implies an intense knowledge transfer between the client and the supplier’s teams. This is where an effective coordination strategy can play a key role.

Why Geography Matters
Intense knowledge transfer, as hinted above, requires close and continuous interactions between the client’s and the supplier’s team, face-to-face contacts and – crucially – trust (14). It is in this context that geographical proximity between the outsourcing partners can play an important role as it reduces communication and cultural barriers.

The choice about location is therefore an important one. The nearshore option emerged as a reaction to the difficulties implied by offshoring – especially those imposed by distance. While still providing significant cost savings compared to ‘in-house’ or ‘on-shore’ options, the nearshore destination also lowers communication barriers through easier face-to-face contacts, similar time zones, and closeness in culture and/or language (15). Cultural and physical proximity is particularly beneficial to the provision of complex and bespoke software solutions, whereby – as discussed – an in-depth working relationship between the outsourcing parties needs to be established throughout the project (16).

A number of nearshore outsourcing locations have therefore emerged in recent years, which have expanded considerably the outsourcing menu. In the European market, nearshore locations are clustered around Eastern Europe and Northern Africa, as Figure 2 shows. Ireland and Spain are two notable exceptions in Western Europe which provide even closer cultural proximity to clients and – particularly in the case of Spain – a large availability of skilled workforce (17).

Nearshore destinations (from Carmel E and Abbott P. 2006)

Nearshore destinations (from Carmel E and Abbott P. 2006)

Figure 2 – Nearshore destinations (from Carmel E and Abbott P. 2006)

Geographical distance is indeed an important factor in models of the outsourcing location decision, alongside other factors such as the quality of the country’s human capital and the physical infrastructure (18).

This is why geography matters in the context of strategic business services outsourcing as continuous face-to-face interactions and cultural fit are advantaged compared to the vast availability of cheap, faceless labour in remote locations.

Conclusion
As suggested by the market studies referenced in this report, the IT outsourcing phenomenon, which has been fuelled in recent years by the pursue of cost minimisation and financial flexibility, is now evolving as outsourcers are increasingly looking for more strategic and value-adding benefits – such as innovation and competitive edge. Insights presented in this report place emphasis on issues such as technological and process spill-over between client and vendor, managing teamwork and cultural and physical proximity as a way to obtain more from the outsourcing engagement. There is of course no magic recipe that companies can follow to secure outsourcing success under existing or future conditions. Yet what seems to be clear is that a shift in inter-organisational strategy is required to harness the potential of IT outsourcing to deliver an enduring business advantage.
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References
1. (n.a.) (n.d.) KPMG Service Provider Performance and Satisfaction Studies: The United Kingdom. In kpmginstitutes.com. Accessed Jan 30, 2013, from
http://www.kpmginstitutes.com/shared-services-outsourcing-institute/insights/2012/ssoa-united-kingdom-service-provider-studies.aspx
2. (n.a.) Sep 14, 2012. UK Service Provider Performance and Satisfaction 2012. In ComputerWeekly.com Research Library. Accessed Jan 21, 2013, from http://bitpipe.computerweekly.com/detail/RES/1347633009_999.html?__utma=1.1675776389.1355939269.1355940570.1355940585.5&__utmb=1.1.10.1355940585&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1355940585.5.5.utmcsr=google|utmccn=%28organic%29|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=it%20outsourcing%20uk%20survey&__utmv=-&__utmk=14587703
3. Linda Endersby, Jul 19, 2012. Outsourcing providers must improve service. In microscope.co.uk. Accessed Jan 21, 2013, from http://www.microscope.co.uk/news/2240159887/Outsourcing-providers-must-improve-service
4. (n.a.) (n.d.) Deloitte’s 2012 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey. In deloitte.com. Accessed Jan 25, 2013, from
http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/additional-services/Service-Delivery-Transformation/c78f7ebb3c356310VgnVCM2000001b56f00aRCRD.htm
http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/additional-services/Service-Delivery-Transformation/bb8f8da4b51ba310VgnVCM3000003456f70aRCRD.htm
5. Roy V and Aubert B. 2001. “A Resource-Based Analysis of Outsourcing: Evidence from Case Studies”. CIRANO Scientific Series, (ISSN 1198-8177): 1-32
6. Bergfeld MM and Doepfer BC. 2009. “Innovation in Outsourcing Alliances: Managing the Prisoner’s Dilemma of Cooperative Competence Building”. Presented at the R&D Management Conference Vienna, Austria, 21-24. June 2009
7. Joe Masters Emison. Apr 17, 2013. “Why PaaS Is The Future”. In informationweek.co.uk. Accessed 15 Jun 2013 from
http://www.informationweek.co.uk/cloud-computing/platform/why-paas-is-the-future/240152659
8. Tayntor CB. 2001. “A Practical Guide to Staff Augmentation and Outsourcing”. Information Systems Management, 18 (1): 1-8
9. Lacity MC and Willcocks LP. 1998. “An Empirical Investigation of Information Technology Sourcing Practices: Lessons from Experience”. MIS Quarterly, 22 (3): 363-408
10. Easterby-Smith M, Lyles MA and Tsang WKT. 2008. Inter-Organizational Knowledge Transfer: Current Themes and Future Prospects. Journal of Management Studies (45): 677-690
11. Srikanth K and Puranam P. 25 Jan 2010. “Advice for Outsourcers: Think Bigger.” In wjs.com. Accessed 19 Jun 2013 from
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704007804574574161967309526.html
12. Mirani R. 2007. “Procedural coordination and offshored software tasks: Lessons from two case studies”. Information & Management, 44 (2007): 216-230
13. Fichman R, Keil M. and Tiwana A. 2005. “Beyond valuation: Real options thinking in IT project management”. California Management Review, 47(2): 74–96
14. Sako M. 2006. “Outsourcing and Offshoring: Implications for productivity of business services”. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 22(4): 499-512
15. Carmel E and Abbott P. 2006. “Configurations of Global Software Development: Offshore versus Nearshore”. Proceedings of the 2006 international workshop on Global software development for the practitioner, 3-7
16. Krishna S, Sahay S and Walsham G. 2004. “Managing Cross-Cultural Issues in Global Software Outsourcing”. Communication of the ACM, 47(4): 62-66
17. Gonzalez R, Gasco J and Llopis J. 2006. “Information systems offshore outsourcing: a descriptive analysis”. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 106 (9): 1233-1248
18. Graf M and Mudambi SM. 2005. “The outsourcing of IT-enabled business processes: A conceptual model of the location decision”. Journal of International Management (11): 253–268
19. Miiken LTD. 2013. “European nearshore IT coverage of the Banking sector”.

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TCI: A time of critical importance

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TCI: A time of critical importance 1

By Fabrice Desnos, head of Northern Europe Region, Euler Hermes, the world’s leading trade credit insurer, outlines the importance of less publicised measures for the journey ahead.

After months of lockdown, Europe is shifting towards rebuilding economies and resuming trade. Amongst the multibillion-euro stimulus packages provided by governments to businesses to help them resume their engines of growth, the cooperation between the state and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters has perhaps missed the headlines. However, this cooperation will be vital when navigating the uncertain road ahead.

Covid-19 has created a global economic crisis of unprecedented scale and speed. Consequently, we’re experiencing unprecedented levels of support from national governments. Far-reaching fiscal intervention, job retention and business interruption loan schemes are providing a lifeline for businesses that have suffered reductions in turnovers to support national lockdowns.

However, it’s becoming clear the worst is still to come. The unintended consequence of government support measures is delaying the inevitable fallout in trade and commerce. Euler Hermes is already seeing increase in claims for late payments and expects this trend to accelerate as government support measures are progressively removed.

The Covid-19 crisis will have long lasting and sometimes irreversible effects on a number of sectors. It has accelerated transformations that were already underway and had radically changed the landscape for a number of businesses. This means we are seeing a growing number of “zombie” companies, currently under life support, but whose business models are no longer adapted for the post-crisis world. All factors which add up to what is best described as a corporate insolvency “time bomb”.

The effects of the crisis are already visible. In the second quarter of 2020, 147 large companies (those with a turnover above €50 million) failed; up from 77 in the first quarter, and compared to 163 for the whole of the first half of 2019. Retail, services, energy and automotive were the most impacted sectors this year, with the hotspots in retail and services in Western Europe and North America, energy in North America, and automotive in Western Europe

We expect this trend to accelerate and predict a +35% rise in corporate insolvencies globally by the end of 2021. European economies will be among the hardest hit. For example, Spain (+41%) and Italy (+27%) will see the most significant increases – alongside the UK (+43%), which will also feel the impact of Brexit – compared to France (+25%) or Germany (+12%).

Companies are restarting trade, often providing open credit to their clients. However, there can be no credit if there is no confidence. It is increasingly difficult for companies to identify which of their clients will emerge from the crisis from those that won’t, and whether or when they will be paid. In the immediate post-lockdown period, without visibility and confidence, the risk was that inter-company credit could evaporate, placing an additional liquidity strain on the companies that depend on it. This, in turn, would significantly put at risk the speed and extent of the economic recovery.

In recent months, Euler Hermes has co-operated with government agencies, trade associations and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters to create state support for intercompany trade, notably in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. All with the same goal: to allow companies to trade with each other in confidence.

By providing additional reinsurance capacity to the trade credit insurers, governments help them continue to provide cover to their clients at pre-crisis levels.

The beneficiaries are the thousands of businesses – clients of credit insurers and their buyers – that depend upon intercompany trade as a source of financing. Over 70% of Euler Hermes policyholders are SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economies and major providers of jobs. These agreements are not without costs or constraints for the insurers, but the industry has chosen to place the interests of its clients and of the economy ahead of other considerations, mindful of the important role credit insurance and inter-company trade will play in the recovery.

Taking the UK as an example, trade credit insurers provide cover for more than £171billion of intercompany transactions, covering 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers. The government has put in place a temporary scheme of £10billion to enable trade credit insurers, including Euler Hermes, to continue supporting businesses at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. This landmark agreement represents an important alliance between the public and private sectors to support trade and prevent the domino effect that payment defaults can create within critical supply chains.

But, as with all of the other government support measures, these schemes will not exist in the long term. It is already time for credit insurers and their clients to plan ahead, and prepare for a new normal in which the level and cost of credit risk will be heightened and where identifying the right counterparts, diversifying and insuring credit risk will be of paramount importance for businesses.

Trade credit insurance plays an understated role in the economy but is critical to its health. In normal circumstances, it tends to go unnoticed because it is doing its job. Government support schemes helped maintain confidence between companies and their customers in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.

However, as government support measures are progressively removed, this crisis will have a lasting impact. Accelerating transformations, leading to an increasing number of company restructurings and, in all likelihood, increasing the level of credit risk. To succeed in the post-crisis environment, bbusinesses have to move fast from resilience to adaptation. They have to adopt bold measures to protect their businesses against future crises (or another wave of this pandemic), minimize risk, and drive future growth. By maintaining trust to trade, with or without government support, credit insurance will have an increasing role to play in this.

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What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us?

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What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us? 2

By Ted Sausen, Subject Matter Expert, NICE Actimize

On September 20, 2020, just four days after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a much-anticipated Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the financial industry was shaken and their stock prices saw significant declines when the markets opened on Monday. So what caused this? Buzzfeed News in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released what is now being tagged the FinCEN files. These files and summarized reports describe over 200,000 transactions with a total over $2 trillion USD that has been reported to FinCEN as being suspicious in nature from the time periods 1999 to 2017. Buzzfeed obtained over 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and over 2,600 confidential documents financial institutions had filed with FinCEN over that span of time.

Similar such leaks have occurred previously, such as the Panama Papers in 2016 where over 11 million documents containing personal financial information on over 200,000 entities that belonged to a Panamanian law firm. This was followed up a year and a half later by the Paradise Papers in 2017. This leak contained even more documents and contained the names of more than 120,000 persons and entities. There are three factors that make the FinCEN Files leak significantly different than those mentioned. First, they are highly confidential documents leaked from a government agency. Secondly, they weren’t leaked from a single source. The leaked documents came from nearly 90 financial institutions facilitating financial transactions in more than 150 countries. Lastly, some high-profile names were released in this leak; however, the focus of this leak centered more around the transactions themselves and the financial institutions involved, not necessarily the names of individuals involved.

FinCEN Files and the Impact

What does this mean for the financial institutions? As mentioned above, many experienced a negative impact to their stocks. The next biggest impact is their reputation. Leaders of the highlighted institutions do not enjoy having potential shortcomings in their operations be exposed, nor do customers of those institutions appreciate seeing the institution managing their funds being published adversely in the media.

Where did the financial institutions go wrong? Based on the information, it is actually hard to say where they went wrong, or even ‘if’ they went wrong. Financial institutions are obligated to monitor transactional activity, both inbound and outbound, for suspicious or unusual behavior, especially those that could appear to be illicit activities related to money laundering. If such behavior is identified, the financial institution is required to complete a Suspicious Activity Report, or a SAR, and file it with FinCEN. The SAR contains all relevant information such as the parties involved, transaction(s), account(s), and details describing why the activity is deemed to be suspicious. In some cases, financial institutions will file a SAR if there is no direct suspicion; however, there also was not a logical explanation found either.

So what deems certain activities to be suspicious and how do financial institutions detect them? Most financial institutions have sophisticated solutions in place that monitor transactions over a period of time, and determine typical behavioral patterns for that client, and that client compared to their peers. If any activity falls disproportionately beyond those norms, the financial institution is notified, and an investigation is conducted. Because of the nature of this detection, incorporating multiple transactions, and comparing it to historical “norms”, it is very difficult to stop a transaction related to money laundering real-time. It is not uncommon for a transaction or series of transactions to occur and later be identified as suspicious, and a SAR is filed after the transaction has been completed.

FinCEN Files: Who’s at Fault?

Going back to my original question, was there any wrong doing? In this case, they were doing exactly what they were required to do. When suspicion was identified, SARs were filed. There are two things that are important to note. Suspicion does not equate to guilt, and individual financial institutions have a very limited view as to the overall flow of funds. They have visibility of where funds are coming from, or where they are going to; however, they don’t have an overall picture of the original source, or the final destination. The area where financial institutions may have fault is if multiple suspicions or probable guilt is found, but they fail to take appropriate action. According to Buzzfeed News, instances of transactions to or from sanctioned parties occurred, and known suspicious activity was allowed to continue after it was discovered.

Moving Forward

How do we do better? First and foremost, FinCEN needs to identify the source of the leak and fix it immediately. This is very sensitive data. Even within a financial institution, this information is only exposed to individuals with a high-level clearance on a need-to-know basis. This leak may result in relationship strains with some of the banks’ customers. Some people already have a fear of being watched or tracked, and releasing publicly that all these reports are being filed from financial institutions to the federal government won’t make that any better – especially if their financial institution was highlighted as one of those filing the most reports. Next, there has been more discussion around real-time AML. Many experts are still working on defining what that truly means, especially when some activities deal with multiple transactions over a period of time; however, there is definitely a place for certain money laundering transactions to be held in real time.

Lastly, the ability to share information between financial institutions more easily will go a long way in fighting financial crime overall. For those of you who are AML professionals, you may be thinking we already have such a mechanism in place with 314b. However, the feedback I have received is that it does not do an adequate job. It’s voluntary and getting responses to requests can be a challenge. Financial institutions need a consortium to effectively communicate with each other, while being able to exchange critical data needed for financial institutions to see the complete picture of financial transactions and all associated activities. That, combined with some type of feedback loop from law enforcement indicating which SARs are “useful” versus which are either “inadequate” or “unnecessary” will allow institutions to focus on those where criminal activity is really occurring.

We will continue to post updates as we learn more.

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How can financial services firms keep pace with escalating requirements?

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How can financial services firms keep pace with escalating requirements? 3

By Tim FitzGerald, UK Banking & Financial Services Sales Manager, InterSystems

Financial services firms are currently coming up against a number of critical challenges, ranging from market volatility, most recently influenced by COVID-19, to the introduction of regulations, such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB). However, these issues are being compounded as many financial institutions find it increasingly difficult to get a handle on the vast volumes of data that they have at their disposal. This is no surprise given that IDC has projected that by 2025, the global “datasphere” will have grown to a staggering 175 zettabytes of data – more than five times the amount of data generated in 2018. As an industry that has typically only invested in new technology when regulations deem it necessary, many traditional banks are now operating using legacy systems and applications that haven’t been designed or built to interoperate. Consequently, banks are struggling to leverage data to achieve business goals and to gain a clear picture of their organisation and processes in order to comply with regulatory requirements. These challenges have been more prevalent during the pandemic as financial services firms were forced to adapt their operations to radical changes in customer behaviour and increased demand for digital services – all while working largely remotely themselves.

As more stringent regulations come in to play and financial services firms look to keep pace with escalating requirements from regulators, consumer demand for more online services, and the ever-evolving nature of the industry and world at large, it’s vital they do two things. Firstly, they must begin to invest in the technology and processes that will allow them to more easily manage the data that traditional banks have been collecting and storing for upwards of 50 years. Secondly, they must innovate. For many, the COVID-19 pandemic will have been a catalyst for both actions. However, the hard work has only just begun.

Legacy technology

Traditionally, due to tight budgets and no overarching regulatory imperative to change, financial institutions haven’t done enough to address their overreliance on disconnected legacy systems. Even when faced with the new wave of regulation that was implemented in the wake of the 2008 banking crash, financial services organisations generally only had to invest in different applications on an ad hoc basis to meet each individual regulation. However, as new regulations require the analysis of larger data sets within smaller processing windows, breaking down any and all data siloes is essential and this will require financial institutions that are still reliant on legacy systems to implement new technologies to meet the regulatory stipulations.

With this in mind, solutions which offer high-quality data analytics and enhanced integration will be key to the success of financial institutions and crucial to eliminate data silos. This will enable organisations to achieve a faster and more accurate analysis of real-time and historical data no matter where they are accessing the data from within smaller processing windows to keep pace with regulatory requirements, while also benefiting from low infrastructure costs.

This technology will also play a huge part in helping financial institutions scale their online operations to meet demand from customers for digital services. According to PNC Bank, during the pandemic, it saw online sales jump from 25% to 75%. Therefore, having data platforms that are able to handle surges in online activity is becoming increasingly important.

Real-time analysis of data

Tim FitzGerald

Tim FitzGerald

While the precise solution financial services institutions need will differ based on the organisation, broadly speaking, the more data they are storing on legacy solutions, the more they are going to require an updated data platform that can handle real-time analytics. Even organisations that have fewer legacy systems are still likely to require solutions that deliver enhanced interoperability to help provide a real-time view across the business and enable them to meet the pressing regulatory requirements they face. Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that moving transactional data to a data warehouse, data lake, or any other silo will never deliver real-time analytics, therefore, businesses making risk decisions based on this and thinking it is real-time is completely inappropriate.

As such, financial services firms require a data platform that can ingest real-time transactional data, as well as from a variety of other sources of historical and reference data, normalise it, and make sense of it. The ability to process transactions at scale in real-time and simultaneously run analytics using transactional real-time data and large sets of non-real-time data, such as reference data, is a crucial capability for various business requirements. For example, powering mission-critical trading platforms that cannot slow down or drop trades, even as volumes spike.

Not only will having access to real-time data enable financial institutions to meet evolving regulatory requirements, but it will also allow them to make faster and more accurate decisions for their organisation andcustomers. With many financial services firms operating on a global basis, this is vital to help them keep up not only with evolving regulations but also changing circumstances in different markets in light of the pandemic. This data can also help them understand how to become more agile, help their employees become productive while working remotely, and how to build up operational resilience. These insights will also be vital as financial institutions need to consider the likelihood of subsequent waves of the virus, allowing them to gain a better understanding of what has and hasn’t worked for their business so far. 

Innovation

The financial services sector is fast-paced and ever-changing. With the launch of more digital-only banks, traditional institutions need to innovate to avoid being left behind, with COVID-19 only highlighting this further. With more than a third (35%) of customers increasing their use of online banking during this period, it is those banks and financial services firms with a solid online offering that have been best placed to answer this demand. As financial institutions cater to changing customer requirements, both now and in the future, implementing new technology that provides access to data in real-time will help them to uncover the fresh insights needed to develop new and transformative products and services for their customers. In turn, this will enable them to realise new revenue streams and potentially capture a bigger slice of the market. For instance, access to data will help banks better understand the needs of their customers during periods of upheaval, as well as under normal circumstance, which will allow them to target them with the specific services they may need during each of these periods to not only help their customers through difficult times but also to ensure the growth of their business. As financial institutions not only look to keep pace with but also gain an advantage over their competitors, using data to fuel excellent customer experiences will be essential to success.  

With the current economic uncertainty and market volatility, it’s critical that financial services are able to meet the changing requirements coming from all angles. With COVID-19 likely to be the biggest catalyst for financial institutions to digitally transform, they will be better able to cater to rapidly evolving landscapes and prepare for continued periods of remote working. As they look to achieve this, replacing legacy systems with innovative and agile technology solutions will be crucial to ensure they can gain the accurate and complete view of their enterprise data they need to comply with new and changing regulations, and better meet the needs of consumers in an increasingly digital landscape, whether they are located in an office or working remotely.

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American Express and Amazon Business Launch Co-branded Credit Cards for Small Businesses in the UK

The co-branded Cards offer flexible benefits and payment optionality by allowing small businesses to decide between earning rewards or adjusting...

Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream 16 Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream 17
Business16 hours ago

Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream

By Christian Spaltenstein, Managing Director, AFEX Americas Banking and financial operations have evolved immensely in the past few years. Innovation...

Local authorities and business networks play a key role in small business success, and must be protected during COVID rebuild 18 Local authorities and business networks play a key role in small business success, and must be protected during COVID rebuild 19
Banking16 hours ago

Local authorities and business networks play a key role in small business success, and must be protected during COVID rebuild

23% of UK’s top performing businesses have been supported by local enterprise partnerships and growth hubs Similarly, 30% of Britain’s...

What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us? 20 What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us? 21
Top Stories17 hours ago

What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us?

By Ted Sausen, Subject Matter Expert, NICE Actimize On September 20, 2020, just four days after the Financial Crimes Enforcement...

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Investing17 hours ago

Investment Roundtable: Live with Jim Bianco

With Q4’s macro picture still looking grim amid the return of exponential coronavirus waves in Europe and the U.S. and...

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