Today’s desktop challenges across the finance industry are huge. 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 time a day. In the current state of affairs, he or she will need to juggle information and data originating from dozens of different applications (built in a variety of different programming languages) on his or her desktop, which very often don’t talk to each other, forcing the adviser to cut and paste critical client data from one application to another. This process is not only time-consuming, but it also can lead to errors. So, it 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 SaaS management platform company 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 the end-user’s desktop point of view, and this is making things worse and worse.

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

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), which 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 a universal interoperability in this is a challenging environment. And that is why a solid governance framework is central.

The new standards will encourage teams to talk to each other. It is an excellent thing, there needs to be more communication, and a desktop community needs to emerge within and across large organizations. It is all about working together. This brings to the front an important aspect which seems far removed from technology, but which in fact could be the glue to 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 I discussed with experts from Credit Suisse, Eikos Partners and FINOS during a recent TABBForum webinar. We also touched up 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.