UBS steps up its ability to launch, maintain consumer apps in pursuit of digital transformation


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UBS steps up its ability to launch, maintain consumer apps in pursuit of digital transformation

As clients of UBS demand more from technology, the bank has become increasingly attentive to their customers’ requirements. Today’s banking client is more sophisticated in the level of interactivity and responsiveness he expects from his financial institution. One snafu at a local ATM or on a user’s mobile device can quickly escalate onto social media and become a much larger deal. This dynamic hasn’t been lost on UBS management.

With the scale and breadth that UBS has, ensuring technology is always operating the way it should is a daunting task. Large financial institutions are increasingly turning to Application Performance Management (APM) firms for help with monitoring, troubleshooting, and analyzing the performance of their banking apps. In UBS’ case, the firm recently expanded its relationship with AppDynamics after an extensive evaluation.

According to Paul McEwen, CIO of infrastructure services at UBS, “Using AppDynamics, we have been able to improve the speed at which we identified and remediated application issues, as well as avoid incidents in the first place.” The multinational bank plans on rolling out AppDynamics’ Application Intelligence Platform across the company’s technology stack to proactively monitor issues before they impact critical business services.

It seems to be working — according to the bank, the initial AppDynamics deployment enabled the IT and product teams to spot and fix critical problems in minutes, rather than days, deliver a 4x reduction in the number of alerts generated by the system and a cut in staff onboarding time from one month to just a single day.

UBS, like other large multinational banks, is also transitioning technology infrastructure to its own private cloud. That means hundreds of internal applications, as well as those that customers interact with, need to work seamlessly across geographies. One of the services UBS plans on working with AppDynamics to support is Neo, the firm’s ambitious investment platform. By the end of 2016, UBS plans on offering 1 million of its clients a more efficient way to access the firm’s investment bank research, collaborate, analyze, and trade a variety of assets. AppDynamics can deliver its technology as an on-premise solution as well as via SaaS.

Using a leading APM provider also fits into UBS’ intentions to transform into a more digitally-enabled bank. Today’s banking customers don’t want different experiences and service levels from different banking channels. Delivering one experience via a mobile phone while an entirely another over the Internet doesn’t resonate well. Paul McEwen also notes, “As part of our integrated monitoring strategy, the AppDynamics platform helps us achieve some of our strategic IT goals – updating our platforms, increasing stability, boosting operational efficiency and agility, and creating a consistent user experience across all of our services.”

AppDynamics was recently named the fastest growing APM provider according to Gartner and based on 2014 revenue. In addition to UBS, the company counts Barclays, Nasdaq, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as financial industry clients. The company closed a $158 million investment round in January of 2016 led by General Atlantic and Altimeter Capital, with participation from Goldman Sachs and others.

The company, which was founded in 2008, also recently recruited tech exec, David Wadhwani, to take over the helm as CEO. Wadhwani, who joined from Adobe after a 10 year stint, is credited with leading the team that transformed the maker of Photoshop and other software editing tools transition to a fully digital firm, using software subscriptions rather than selling boxed products and yearly upgrades.

The company is expected by many in the industry to try its hand at an IPO in 2016 and Wadhwani seems poised to lead the company in that direction. “AppDynamics wins because we have a great product that targets a real need; there is a massive market opportunity — everyone will need what we supply; our investors have a long-term view; and we are proving that we have the management discipline to run on our own,” he told Forbes in an interview at the end of 2015.

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