The financial services industry is confronting an environment characterized by lower cash flows, greater financial uncertainty, increased regulatory and compliance demands and disruption from new financial technology (FinTech) firms transforming the industry.

While this is a challenging scenario, it also presents exciting opportunities for companies willing to innovate, digitalize, and transform processes, while gaining the benefits derived from access to more data and better insights. The finance function is at the heart of this transformation and many finance teams are finding that agile platform offerings provide them with better control, visibility and decision-making support.

Many financial services firms still use legacy platforms that are difficult to adapt and grow. Such platforms are expensive to maintain and are typically built on code refined over decades of development and across multiple physical servers. To accommodate rapid change, launch new products and address evolving customer demands, firms are turning to cloud-based agile platforms that offer:

  • Client-centric focused solutions, allowing for the creation of minimum viable products and allowing continuous stakeholder engagement;
  • A faster time-to-market with incremental implementations and releases; and
  • Adaptive system environments that can respond quickly to change and complexities.

This development is being driven by companies such as the Oracle Corporation and SAP SE, who have evolved their legacy offerings to cloud-based solutions and leverage the agile methodology.

Agile platforms use an incremental approach to product implementation, offering continuous product development to allow the solution to keep pace with business growth. When coupled with cloud computing, agile platforms can eliminate the development and maintenance of legacy infrastructure. Such platforms systematically reduce dependencies on the legacy tools and infrastructures, allowing the workforce to focus on faster builds, better quality of product offerings, and client/customer interactions.

Vendors are now providing cloud-based Agile Platforms as a Service (PaaS), with features including:

  • Innovation-enabled Scalability: With an almost unlimited server supply available through the cloud, agile platforms can allow DevOps teams to create, quickly test and apply rules to meet almost any accounting requirement.
  • Standardization: Agile platform vendors can take multiple legacy systems and standardize them into a single central accounting platform. The centralized platform provides improved compliance and auditability.
  • Consumption-based Focus: Close collaboration with users permits faster and more efficient creation and iteration of requirements and capabilities, enhancing the delivery of a financial system.
  • Vendor Agnosticism: Functionality and tools can be added to a single solution from different vendors to fit the needs of the organization.
  • Future Protection: Our experience indicates that cost savings of up to 50% for the finance function can be generated through increased automation and scalability, offering greater agility and flexibility while allowing the financial systems to keep pace with business growth.

While these are significant benefits, companies face challenges in implementing agile platforms. We will look at these challenges in the next blog of this series. In the meantime, read more about agile platforms.

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