Martijn Groot, VP Product Strategy at Asset Control
In a bid to drive down costs and improve business agility in the face of fast evolving digital competition, many financial services organisations are rationalising IT infrastructure. Yet the focus is as much external as internal, with banks looking to facilitate partnerships with the burgeoning fintech ecosystem as well as enhance direct customer interaction.
IT is, therefore, now also tasked with automating an end to end supply chain involving different service providers – and that means finding a way to easily yet securely expose data to these third parties.API teams are focused on integrating and decommissioning legacy applications, and Data Stewards are tasked with eradicating line of business duplication; yet information consumers across the business are still constrained by both data siloes and proprietary data discovery methods, while the creation of links to external providers is fraught with risk. Where is the data governance? The ability to manage permissions, comply with data privacy laws, adhere to content license agreements or safeguard commercially sensitive information?
Martijn Groot, VP Product Management, Asset Control outlines the importance of a mature data governance model that empowers both internal and external business users through secure, managed self-service access to trusted, cross-functional information resources.
IT rationalisation has become a major focus for financial services firms over the past couple of years – from Deutsche Bank’s Strategy 2020 which includes modernising outdated and fragmented IT architecture, including the reduction of operating systems, hardware and software applications, to HSBC’s Simplify the Bank plan which includes an architecture-led strategy to halve the number of applications across the whole group over a 10-year period.
This emphasis on streamlining complex infrastructure is being driven by the new competitive and regulatory landscape. It has become very clear over the past decade that continuing with line of business data silos has become a significant risk, not only given the cost of regulatory compliance, with its demands for cross-sectional reporting, but also the implications for speed of business change.
As a result, a key part of this rationalisation process has been an investment in APIs to enable interoperability between applications and, hopefully, support the eradication of duplicate applications.However, while many organisations have appointed Data Stewards with a remit to determine data and application requirements across specific business functions, the siloed mentality remains due to a lack of data governance maturity. From cost reduction to business agility, the realisation of any successful application rationalisationor data supply chain improvement project will require significantly improved models for data governance.
Consistent Data Model
At the same time, of course, the business focus is turning increasingly outward, as organisations recognise the importance of the new financial ecosystem. IT is not only tasked with rationalisation but also moving away from individual process automation to automating an end-to-end supply chain involving different service providers.
With a need to expose data to the new fintech partners, as well as customers, many banks are putting in place their own API marketplaces through which they expose their data to selected third parties. While such changes in the retail market are being driven in the EU by the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), corporate products in cash, foreign exchange, liquidity and finance data will also demand new APIs.
Given this demand for openness both internally and externally, a common, cross-application taxonomy of products and services and uniform data dictionary is clearly important. Without this, services could still be added on top of existing infrastructures but the integration would be brittle and error prone and not up to quality levels or interaction speeds clients would expect.
But this model has to go further: consolidating data from different sources, mastering it and subjecting it to different quality controls and creating a common data model is a great start. But how is that data being consumed? Requiring business users to rely on the IT team to use proprietary APIs to gain access to this data makes for a steep and costly learning curve, undermines data value and compromises both the IT rationalisation vision and the creation of a successful financial ecosystem.
Mobilised and Empowered
It is essential to empower business users to explore and exploit this consistent information resource, not only to meet regulatory demands but to support business change. Replacing proprietary tools for data access and discovery by using industry standards APIs – such as the Representational state transfer (REST) API – will simplify the integration of standard data discovery tools. In addition, the use of a standard data schema within a datamartwill provide a shared understanding of terminology, definitions and values. The combination of standard data model with the REST API will enable business users to gain access to this golden copy repository in a lightweight fashion – without reliance on the intervention of IT.
Opening up a single, consistent data source to business users via standardised, self-service technologies is transformative. A simple browser based interface that enables business users to select the required data on demand, with the addition of formatting and frequency tools, effectively opens up the data asset to drive new value. Data can be accessed, integrated into other systems and/or explored via standard data discovery tools – all without any complex proprietary Java based tools.
Obviously this model has to be controlled – from avoiding a data deluge to ensuring confidentiality is maintained, the data cannot be left open to everyone. The ability to manage permissions, for service providers, internal users and customers is essential if the organisation is to ensure compliance to data privacy laws, adherence to content license agreements and protection of commercially sensitive information. A REST API should include the ability to control access to specific data to avoid exposure of data to users who are not permitted due to license constraints or data sensitivity.
With the right security measures in place, information that would have taken business users week to access whilst waiting for IT, can now be discovered and reported upon in days. Given the increasing need for reports – both regulatory and data discovery to support business change – this self-service access to trusted, standardised data is key. In addition to reducing the cost of business change, the use of the REST API also enables a simple, lightweight integration that reduces infrastructure costs – and avoids the need for expensive and highly trained experts.
The regulatory reporting requirements that have evolved over the past decade may have put the spotlight on the endemic, silo based infrastructure model but it has become very clear to the financial services industry that if operational costs are to be reduced, IT rationalisation is an imperative. At the same time, an integrated financial ecosystem is becoming vital in both retail and corporate markets. Without a mature data governance model that leverages new enablers, including APIs and standard data dictionaries, organisations will struggle to realise both rationalisation and extension goals.
To realise the new vision of agile, simplified financial services business models that are competitive in new digital markets organisations need to not only create a centralised data source but also explore new standardised technologies to mobilise data and empower users throughout the business and beyond.
Duo glide around world’s largest fountain in Dubai
Paragliders Llorens and Goberna take magical flight above the Palm Fountain.
Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna defied gravity to perform The Breaking Pointe flight around the world’s biggest fountain at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Here is all you need to know:
– Spaniard Llorens is a five-time world champion and Infinity Tumbling Guinness World Record holder, who has performed a series of spectacular projects during the last five years including paragliding with a flock of starlings and with the beautiful Aurora Borealis as a backdrop.
– Brazilian Goberna was a Guinness Book of World Records winner at only 12-years-old and, in December 2016, he took to the skies above one of the seven wonders of the natural world when paragliding at Iguazu Falls.
– This time around, the duo teamed up in Dubai to showcase The Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah. They overcame a tricky preparation period to expertly glide between the fountain’s powerful jets of water.
– Spanning across the boulevard, the Palm Fountain features two giant floating platforms covering 14,000 square metres of sea water. Reaching an impressive 105 metres high and lighting up the Dubai sky with 3,000 LED lights, the fountain “dances” to hit songs from sunset until midnight.
– They undertook training first at Paramotor Desert Adventure on January 12 to test out their brakes and motors with technician Ramon Lopez finally arriving after being held up by the heavy snow in Madrid.
– Training was crucial for the challenge of flying during the night with low visibility as safety director Alan Gayton ensured they had a reserve parachute in case of a technical issue with the main parachute. Llorens and Goberna also had to study the movement of the water with great precision in order not to get caught up in the jets of water
– Flying over water, it was also mandatory to have a lifejacket with rescue boats, jet skis and divers on hand which came handy when Goberna suffered a technical malfunction on the first January 14 practice run.
– After repairs long into the night, they returned to Paramotor Desert Adventure to test out the motors again before completing the stunning flight on January 15 with Llorens and Goberna performing in harmony.
– Llorens, 38, revealed: “As soon as we got the opportunity, we wanted to fly there. We needed to know the area really well beforehand and we needed to know how to ‘play’ with the fountain – this was new for us. Such strong streams of water shooting 100 metres up is a lot, so we had to be really prepared.”
– Goberna, 26, explained: “The motor wasn’t flying so good because, prior to arriving in Dubai, it was last used in Europe at high altitude. I needed to adjust the carburettor in the air inside the motor. In the first practice flight over the water, I broke one propeller. I really couldn’t understand what was happening and then another one broke. Eventually, a backup motor was required. After a long journey, the final result was beautiful! The team worked incredibly hard to make it.”
– Llorens added: “The highlight for me was playing between the super shooters with Rafael, because it’s something we’ve never done before; it felt really new and really powerful.”
EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030
By Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday announced goals for the 27-nation bloc to reduce poverty, inequality and boost training and jobs by 2030 as part of a post-pandemic economic overhaul financed by jointly borrowed funds.
The EU executive arm said the European Union should boost employment to 78% in 2030 from 73% in 2019, halve the gap between the number of employed women and men and cut the number of young people neither working nor studying to 9% from 12.6%
“With unemployment and inequalities expected to increase as a fallout of the pandemic, focusing our policy efforts on quality job creation, up- and reskilling and reducing poverty and exclusion is therefore essential to channel our resources where they are most needed,” the commission said.
The goals, which will have to be endorsed by EU leaders, also include an increase in the number of adults getting training every year to adapt to the EU’s transition to a greener and more digitalised economy to 60% from 40% now.
Finally, over the next 10 years, the EU should reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million from 91 million in 2019.
“These three 2030 headline targets are deemed ambitious and realistic at the same time,” the commission said.
The goals are part of the EU’s set of 20 social rights, agreed on in 2017, to make the EU more appealing to voters and counter eurosceptic sentiment across the bloc.
They say everybody has the right to quality education throughout their lives and that men and women must have equal opportunities in all areas and be paid the same for work of equal value.
The unemployed have the right to “personalised, continuous and consistent support”, while workers have the right “to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie)
UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump
LONDON (Reuters) – British engineer Meggitt said that it could return to profit growth in 2021 provided there are no further lockdowns, despite a weakening in the struggling aviation market at the end of 2020 and early this year.
Pandemic restrictions halted much flying globally last year and forced plane makers Boeing and Airbus to cut production rates, dragging down suppliers like Meggitt, which makes and services parts for such aircraft.
Meggitt’s underlying operating profit plunged by 53% to 191 million pounds ($267 million) in 2020, it said on Thursday, despite continued growth in its defence business which makes parts for military jets and accounts for about 45% of the business.
Meggitt, however, said it expected air traffic to recover in the second half of the year which would help it return to profit growth over the year, although its guidance for flat revenue disappointed analysts who had expected growth of 6%.
Meggitt’s Chief Executive Tony Wood said in November that he had expected flying to start to recover by Easter, but new variants have led to more restrictions and delayed the recovery.
“It has gone back a couple of months… it’s now very much in the summer,” Wood said of the recovery in an interview on Thursday.
Further in the future, Meggitt is positioning itself for the move to lower emissions flying, and its sensors and electric motors will be used on electric urban air mobility platforms, such as flying taxis, and in hybrid aeroplanes being developed.
But Meggitt said new tax breaks announced in Britain’s annual budget on Wednesday aimed at encouraging investment would not change its plans.
“Yes, it will be a benefit. Are we looking at any acceleration as a result specifically of that? Not really,” Woods said.
Shares in Meggitt were down 1% to 427 pence at 0943 GMT. The stock has risen by 50% since news of a COVID-19 vaccine last November, but is still down 23% on where it was pre-pandemic.
($1 = 0.7165 pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alistair Smout and Susan Fenton)
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Duo glide around world’s largest fountain in Dubai
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