This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Significant change is underway in the global financial services sector, driven by rising customer expectations for levels of engagement and performance, growing competition and the power of technology to transform business models. It is unlikely that we will see similar levels of transformation again in our lifetimes.
As we embark on our journey to become the platform for open innovation in financial services and enable both traditional and new financial institutions to fulfil their potential in this rapidly changing industry, our partnerships are becoming an increasingly big part of our “collaborate to innovate” mantra.
Working ever closer with Microsoft will help us achieve these aims, faster and more productively.
Complementary to our financial services expertise and rich industry solutions, Microsoft provides access to a regulatory compliant, highly scalable and secure infrastructure. We strongly believe that partnering with a like-minded organisation such as Microsoft accelerates innovation for our customers and prospects.
Banks, fintechs, independent developers and universities can tap into our collaborative, open source environment to write new applications for retail and corporate banking, payment processing, lending, treasury and capital markets. The result is that banks and financial services institutions could quickly implement new product innovations on top of existing systems, in a secure environment with significantly reduced operating costs.
This enables us to focus on issues such as addressing the global gap in small- and medium-sized enterprise funding, which is now estimated to stand at US$1.6 trillion. We can also help banks reduce lags in back-office banking processes, such as credit checking or trade finance document review.
Since establishing our partnership with Microsoft, we have collaborated on a series of ground-breaking developments, including our FusionFabric.cloud platform. The solution is designed to accelerate innovation for our existing 9,000 banks and financial institution clients and to give fintechs access to this vibrant global marketplace. Everything is architected and delivered on the Microsoft Azure capability and technology stack.
In September 2018, we launched Fusion Essence in the cloud, a fully integrated core and digital solution localised for the UK market. Deployed on Microsoft Azure, it is available to all financial institutions but is particularly suited to ambitious challenger banks. It enables them to accelerate their entry to market and launch first-of-their-kind personalised offerings so they maintain a competitive edge.
From the second quarter of 2019, the Fusion Global PAYplus instant payments solution in the cloud will enable tier three and four financial institutions in the European Union and US to access the benefits that the cloud delivers – without the cost and on-premises infrastructure requirements that may previously have been a barrier to entry. It will deliver central updates, ensuring all users immediately benefit from the latest changes or new product functionalities, including SWIFT and clearing scheme updates.
One of the key outcomes of our partnership is using innovations like artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics to help existing and prospective clients to grow their businesses exponentially.
To understand how Finastra can use an integrated set of business scenarios to bring innovation to life, let’s look at the example of the fictional Kate Active international chain of gyms run by Kate Henderson. Working with Astra Bank, a US-based digital bank underpinned by Finastra, Kate has now built her business from zero to 78 gyms worldwide.
The tight integration between applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and LinkedIn, and the banking services enhanced by various fintechs, provided by Astra Bank is a key element of Kate’s success. Beginning with a fast onboarding process and loan request approval, Kate has gone on to use services from Astra Bank to set up incoming payment requests, support international trade finance and access business analytics – all underpinned by innovations enabled by FusionFabric.cloud.
“Finastra orchestrates my digital world,” says Kate. “Astra Bank is an extension to my business and provides a single view of my global operations. My relationship manager has a 360-degree real-time overview of risks, cashflow and ability to repay loans – there is never any need to cover old ground.”
Our platform approach, underpinned by Microsoft Azure, encourages innovation through collaboration and is changing the way financial software is developed, deployed and consumed. After just one year of working closely with Microsoft, we have become a Top 32 Microsoft Azure global partner – and we have only just started.
Brian Gibson is global head of Partnerships and Ecosystem at Finastra
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