Believe it or not, there’s a war on the horizon and it doesn’t have anything to do with guns, bullets, or politics; but instead, legacy-based financial services companies versus the next big thing; FinTech, and how the former can effectively defend against the latter. By their own historical nature the financial sector has always tended to be about old money, conservative management, and lag-prone processing, and consequently, FinTech is about to rain on their parade, unless legacy folks get smart, very quickly.
As we’ve discussed in the past, the overarching concepts of FinTech represent entirely new ways to develop and deliver financial products ranging from elemental processes, to active interactivity with globally remote, and entirely demand-based, customer bases. Where in the past, legacy bankers and affiliated service-managers tended to operate on a purely face-to-face basis; the tenets of FinTech allow providers to execute all-scale transactions with customers anywhere, anytime; without the need for ponderous, costly, and necessary physical plants, locally-housed staffs, and supporting technical infrastructures.
However, while the aforementioned pluses obviously represent the new world, in today’s largely legacy financial world, those same elements work against the grain of just about every system, process, organizational precept and rule; thereby setting up the potential of a business slugfest of enormous proportions. However, for those who find themselves facing this kind of future, help is on the way in the form of the DevOps methodology, and its cadre of DevOps consultants.
From a technical perspective, deliveries of legacy financial service operations have tended to harbor common sets of requirements such as the ownership and management of large systems constellations, deep infrastructures, and highly-bureaucratic software product development processes. While it should be accepted that these kinds of constructs have evolved historically, the emergent global marketplace has put these kinds of environments on their back feet, since along with experiencing a “good problem” in the form of larger commercial pools to fish in; these operators have also found themselves struggling with a number of “bad problems” driven by ineffective ways to handle spontaneous product expansions that are both scalable and customer-driven.
As a general rule, these ailments have appeared as iterative systems development efforts; fostered by rigid process constructs; driven by vertical and largely-inflexible management structures. These elements, in turn, have lead to brittle products that are slow to deliver, and/or tend to fail at the point of sale.
Consequently, in the face of all of these negative characteristics, along with the constant drumbeat of FinTech as a potential technical threat, legacy folks have begun to ‘question’ just where financial products come from, and more importantly, how they are delivered; by whom; where; and in production schedule terms, when? This level of depth of reflection immediately offers several solutions oriented to the adoption and application of DevOps, since virtually every intellectual logjam offered above, can be solved by employing the methodology’s precepts in a fairly straightforward way.
For example; take the limitations associated with vertical management. The financial product development sector is rife with legacy management structures, which are both costly and time-consuming to a company and its customers. On the other hand, however, when properly delivered by experienced DevOps consultants, the methodology can help firm’s break down these constraints by leverage end-to-end collaboration. The result is reduced cost and much faster decision-making throughout.
In the case of production scheduling; the same lean, directly applied, tenets offer numerous ways to shortcut the product development cycle. This upside is further enhanced by the delivery and inculcation of a sense of ‘continuous everything’ that immediately applies to both the dev shop, and flows forward to enhance response times when considering and responding to the needs of particular financial service customers.
Finally, quality is assured since DevOps embeds QA as a collaborative partner ranging from elemental design to final customer delivery processes. Not only does this approach largely eliminate errors, it also creates more flexible and robust systems, which lead to better successor product all around.
Again, however, none of these values can be delivered or activated effectively, unless financial services companies are willing to change their approaches to the development and delivery of customer products. Nevertheless there is a solution to defeating the looming FinTech threat and its right in front of their faces; but to finish effectively, one must first start, by engaging a DevOps consultancy to help show the way to the ‘promise land’.