February 25, 2011

There is a healthy amount of optimism surrounding banking and financial services technology in general. At least among some of the providers and vendors supplying technology to the financial institutions.

At an event at Microsoft's New York City offices Thursday evening, a number of financial services vendors, including Fiserv, Hyland, Accenture, Sungard, Open Text and Customer Effective, along with several of Microsoft's financial services team, seemed to agree the general freeze on enterprise IT innovation is starting to thaw.

Colleen Healy, Microsoft Financial Services industry general manager, says she is seeing a lot of activity in three areas:

1) Breaking down data silos - getting one view of the customer

2) Business intelligence

3) Relationship management

Healy adds that these are categories that can largely be addressed through the cloud, an idea Microsoft has been promoting heavily.

"The cloud is here, and even the traditional players are adapting their services to it," Healy says.

The vendors at Microsoft's event were happy to demonstrate just that - or at least how their services utilized Microsoft's capabilities to offer bankers better CRM, offer insurance agents a smoother claims adjustment process, improve capital markets reconciliation or bring financial management tools to investment bankers and the public alike. Much of what those giving technology demonstrations discussed pointed to the idea of differentiation through services, and the competitive advantage therein.

Stanley Young, CEO NYSE Technologies, Co-Global CIO, NYSE Euronext, told the story of how his NYSE Technologies division grew at an annual rate of 22 percent amid the financial crisis, saying that the opportunity to innovate comes during the most difficult times.

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