Even if an incumbent financial institution decides to build versus buy on a new project, they’re not always developing their in-house technologies in-house. Banks, asset managers, and brokerages typically use a unique mix of their own engineering talent with both on-shore and off-shore consultants. If there isn’t a turnkey option available, DataArt is one of those consulting businesses both large and small financial firms turn to to help develop bespoke technology solutions. The firm employs over 2000 full time engineers and typically works on around 100 projects at any given time. Its financial service business is its largest practice out of the 5 industries DataArt serves. Within finserv, the consulting firm is most active in capital markets, trading, wealth management, payments, underbanked banking solutions, and private equity. Alexei Miller heads up the firm’s financial services practice and shares what he feels are the three most exciting trends his clients are facing in the market today:
- pure-play disruption: Silicon Valley has its sights set on disrupting financial services and is funding a variety of stand-alone companies to compete with traditional financial firms. While none of these startups are really big enough to threaten the incumbents, DataArt’s clients are definitely feeling the pressure to innovate from some of the pure-plays. But for the most part, according to Miller, this isn’t the compelling part of the disruption underway in financial services. “It’s great that there’s new interest and additional resources in the market,” Miller offered. “But there’s way too much hype."
- optimization: It’s here that Miller gets incrementally more excited. There’s lots of activity centered around applying existing or incremental versions of technologies to optimize current processes within financial services. Miller cites blockchain and big data as two prime examples of newer technologies deployed to optimize relatively mundane processes. Despite all the hype surrounding fintech, the DataArt executive thinks this is a very promising source of innovation.
- incumbent innovation: Miller lights up when he talks about the technology activities taking place at large financial institutions. He’s impressed by the quality and pace of new technologies being developed and deployed by these firms. Some of these firms are pooling resources together to spinoff new tools.