Improving Revenue Through Enhanced Interoperability

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What is the dependency between operational costs and lack of interoperability?

Today’s finance industry professionals face huge desktop challenges. Just picture a trader or a portfolio adviser, for instance, who has to make vital trade execution decisions about his clients’ portfolio in just a few milliseconds, hundreds of times a day. In the current state of affairs, they will need to juggle information and data originating from dozens of different applications (built on a variety of different programming languages) on their desktop. These apps often don’t talk to each other, forcing the adviser to copy/paste critical client data from one system to another. This process is not only time-consuming, but it also can lead to errors. So, the lack of interoperability becomes a real business problem for the organization with potentially huge monetary consequences.

It seems that things are not going to get any easier. A 2018 study conducted by Blissfully revealed that the number of SaaS applications on desktops is expected to double between 2017 and 2020, with the number of subscriptions also doubling. Companies are swapping one big old legacy application which was developed in-house for five new SaaS applications. It makes sense financially and technologically, but from the end user’s desktop point of view, this is making things worse.

The inevitable rise of single tasks specialized applications is not a bad thing if they can talk to each other. Hence the paramount importance of interoperability would establish a language-neutral communication stream between applications.

Why do we need standardization to make interoperability possible?

The emergence of universal standards is absolutely critical to desktops interoperability space. Luckily, we have FDC3, hosted within, and governed by FINOS (an independent non-profit organization focused on promoting open innovation within financial services). FDC3 is the first standardization initiative for application deployment in the financial industry. It has been developed in collaboration with representatives from over 40 major banks, buy-side firms, consultancies, and financial services platforms.

This is a major breakthrough. But alignment between different players will be essential for the success of universal interoperability in this is a challenging environment. And that is why having a solid governance framework is central.

The new standards will encourage teams to talk to each other. There has to be more communication, and a desktop community needs to emerge within and across large organizations. It is all about working together. This brings out an important aspect that seems distant from technology but is vital to the success of interoperability – organizational culture.

There needs to be as much alignment among people as among technologies. Competition between teams must disappear if we want to have interoperability working and move towards FDC3 standards. It’s a challenge but management teams in big organizations are aware of this and things are improving. HR and talent management teams will need to instill a culture of collaboration. This will be good for interoperability and all parties involved.

These were some of the topics that we discussed with experts from Credit Suisse, Eikos Partners (acquired by LightPoint Financial Technology), and FINOS during a recent TABBForum webinar. We also touched upon issues such as legacy applications and next-generation applications integration, end-user behavior analysis, and processes optimization. For more information, you can watch the webinar here.

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Author Details

Viktor Bonev

Former DevOps Engineering Lead