In today’s fast-moving landscape, financial services firms are under increasing pressure to remain competitive and generate more revenue by developing new products and services faster, while still leveraging their existing resources.
In recent years, this has seen many financial services organisations turn to external fintech solutions to help accelerate innovation and quickly obtain new digital capabilities. And so, fintech partnerships have become critical components of financial institutions’ growth strategies, rather than the technology experiments they started out as.
To ensure innovation success, it’s vital that financial services organizations can easily leverage and provision new fintech services and applications by seamlessly integrating with their existing production applications and data sources. But the true value and potential of fintech solutions can’t be unleashed until integration is quick and easy.
As many firms will attest, arduous and costly integration can see the value of such initiatives dwindle before their very eyes – sometimes to be lost altogether. Common challenges can range from unforeseen issues tying up precious IT resources, to costs spiraling out of control and timescales sliding drastically from what was planned or what is desirable. Ultimately, these delays can result in the loss of any competitive edge as rivals launch similar solutions much faster.
Ensuring successful integration
Fintechs have become increasingly attractive as they incorporate the latest technologies, modern application methodologies, and deployment platforms. However, for banks to make effective use of these opportunities, those technologies need to be woven into its existing infrastructure, much of which is likely to be based on legacy technology.
Consequently, successful integration requires an understanding of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of those legacy systems. It also demands knowledge of the underlying data architecture and how to connect the new technology to systems that weren’t built to be connected to in such a way. While this isn’t an unsurmountable problem, getting it right will take resources, budget, and time.
Careful consideration is also needed when undertaking the integration to ensure that the resulting architecture doesn’t become overly complex. After all, if it comprises multiple technology layers from different vendors, all with differing versions and releases, any future change could impede the bank’s ability to take advantage of the benefits they set out to achieve.
Next will be to determine how data from existing systems will be fed into the new system and in what format. To get around this, it’s all too easy to layer extraction tools upon a myriad of other tools, including transformation tools, data lineage, master data management, databases, and data lake technologies. However, what firms are then left with is a multi-headed monster that no one person truly understands. This approach to data integration is also complex and costly to design, deploy, manage, and maintain. Fortunately, adopting a smart data fabric approach, a next generation architecture, can provide a way for financial services organizations to overcome these challenges.
Achieving bidirectional connectivity
By leveraging a smart data fabric, it is possible for institutions to connect and collect real-time event data and obtain unmatched integration capabilities using just one holistic platform. This approach eliminates the complexity and inefficiencies of manual integrations and other legacy approaches to integration and enables firms to integrate applications faster and more efficiently. It does this by essentially creating a dynamic real-time, bidirectional gateway between cloud-based fintech applications and their own production applications and data assets.
The smart data fabric integrates real-time event and transactional data, along with historical and other data from the large number of different back-end systems in use by financial services organizations. It transforms the data into a common, harmonized format to feed cloud fintech applications on demand, thus providing seamless, real-time, bidirectional connectivity and integration with the bank’s existing legacy enterprise data, production applications, and data sources.
Not only does this help firms to realize faster time to value and achieve simpler implementation that is easier to maintain, but it also gives financial services institutions the agility needed to innovate faster and keep critical initiatives on track. Additionally, it helps to futureproof their architecture by making it easier to incorporate any fintech applications and technologies available in the marketplace, thereby empowering them to react to new opportunities and changes in their environments.
Ultimately, there is immense value to be unlocked from fintech solutions and applications. However, that is only possible through swift and simple integration. By implementing a smart data fabric-enabled data gateway, financial services organizations can quickly and easily integrate new solutions within their existing infrastructure to ensure they are able to keep pace in a rapidly evolving landscape.