The world is in a constant state of flux. This is the result of visionaries who look at the processes we take for granted every day and imagine something better. Dreamers constantly envision innovations like:
- Mobile payments
- Cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers
These emerging financial technologies – fast becoming collectively known as "fintech" – are redefining how financial services are managing the issues of security, transnational payments, multisystem database interconnectivity and system integration, among others. Fintech offers the financial industry an opportunity to bring its practices in sync with the Information Age.
Infrastructure as a Service
Fintech has help the financial industry take dramatic steps forward in meeting technology compliance. For a major enterprise-level organization, the hassle of rolling out new software updates, expanding or contracting the IT footprint, retiring or rolling out software and hardware and meeting governmental and industrial compliances can be expensive and time-consuming.
- What if a bank could update all of their branches' computers from a single terminal?
- What if a user interface could be automatically configured to accommodate new features and products?
- What if an organization could rest assured that a remote, dedicated team would handle all of their compliance and hardware concerns with minimal oversight?
One fintech innovation, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), makes all of these possible. This technology makes use of cloud computing's technology stack to allow an organization's servers and software to be situated and operated by a service provider. This outsourcing of your IT needs allows you to focus your labor and financial resources on other matters, while a private contractor with the resources and expertise to manage your requirements at a lower price point takes care of your digital infrastructure.
A robust IaaS option can allow for:
- On-demand customer self-service
- Computing services available over both standard networks and mobile devices
- Easy infrastructure scalability
- Simplified resource sharing between applications
- Ease in metering services or use
Fintech has also revolutionized international remittance. Cross-border payments can be a nightmare. Imagine that you are a coffee importer, and your bank regularly charges you $100 per cross-border payment for payments to your suppliers. Sometimes, this works out well. However, your suppliers regularly complain about payments being weeks late, not arriving at all or being incomplete due to various banks deducting their fees as the payments wend their way through the international financial apparatus.
Cryptocurrencies may have an answer for this problem. The mathematics-based virtual currencies have been shown to have more uses than just being the new hot commodity on the block. The technology behind cryptocurrencies, the "blockchain," is currently being explored as a new way to share and store critical data.
A blockchain is a distributed ledger (database) that is openly shared by its users. As there are multiple copies of the ledger available, it is easy to detect and dispute unauthorized changes. Users can freely add new records to the ledger, with each ledger being able to check the validity of the record upon request. Records can be checked and authenticated without the need of a central authority or hosting server.
This level of redundancy can revolutionize security. Imagine a potential homeowner being able to check the status of a potential property purchase instantly, or a vendor being able to post a cross-border payment securely without the need of a single intermediary. Fintech offers the tools to make security manageable.
Ease of deployment
For a software developer in the financial sector, implementing a new IT solution has traditionally required rolling out a new update, installing it on all the effected systems, field-testing the upgrade and completing several rounds of beta-testing. Cloud computing's tech stack has simplified this process.
Instead of being required to take down the entire system, which could affect productivity or your customer experience, a cloud-based solution could allow a programmer to make a correction to your infrastructure on the server-side. This hidden fix would be invisible from the client-side, reducing disruptions to your services. Additionally, a cloud-based solution means that your infrastructure can be serviced remotely.
Fintech is redefining how we work, utilize our resources and construct our teams. It is making the world a smaller place. A healthy fintech adaption policy can help to future-proof your business. More importantly, a successful embrace of modern technology into your IT strategy can significantly improve your profitability. Outsourcing your maintenance or programming needs can significantly improve your bottom-line.
Albert Einstein once said, "You can't solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level." Fintech is a reminder for us all that success is reserved for those who are willing to look beyond what is, to see what must be.