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Innovation goes East: dawn of the Technology Spring

I’m writing this from Singapore, identified last year by Insead as the 3rd most innovative country in the world and in March 2013 named “Top Innovation City” in a Wall Street journal report.

Financial institutions and corporates operating in this region need modern technology solutions that can be rapidly implemented and easily scaled to respond to massively increasing volumes. Even the simplest of problems need automation when faced with internet scale.

Asian market innovation is all about the delivery of next generation technology based solutions; solving business problems arising from rapid growth and rising customer expectations brought about by the so-called Asian century. This ‘Technology Spring’ in Asia will see legacy systems that once provided the platform for growth displaced by newer technologies that are fit for purpose and a springboard from which Asia can drive the next phase of dramatic growth.

Financial institutions and corporates in the region are managing growing volumes of transactions, from the simple payments and collections to more complex financial instrument flows. They want to streamline and automate the capture and reconciliation of financial information to drive insightful business decisions – they are willing to embrace innovation in their pursuit of change.

The banks in this region, like many others, invested heavily in nostro reconciliation platforms in the last decade, some in the last millennium. They are now asking those same nostro vendors for innovative new solutions for today’s challenges; ideally for the legacy platforms to be re-purposed for today and the future. However, most banks are discovering that it is not possible to re-purpose yesterday’s technology. The legacy nostro platforms are simply too inflexible and too entrenched in the nostro process (primarily SWIFT based processing) for this re-purposing.

Forward-looking banks don’t want to be hemmed in by the limitations of old technology. There is a growing appetite to embrace technology innovations that will give them an edge and allow them to scale with ease as their business grows. Things to look out for include:

  • Data and compute grid technology that can deliver Internet-scale performance and the power to process hundreds of millions of transactions per second;
  • Multi-tenancy architectures that allow organisations to deliver a single instance solution to multiple customers and benefit from economies of scale;
  • Built-in artificial intelligence including machine-learning strategies to achieve high levels of automation, significantly beyond legacy alternatives.

Collectively these innovations can allow financial services institutions to move from a batch-based and reactive-decision model, to real-time, insight-led decision making. Achieving such a leap forward in their reconciliation and control processes can help their business to flourish in the rapidly growing, innovation driven market that is Asia.

Innovation is moving east and the dawn of a Technology Spring is rapidly approaching.

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