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As a new Red Hatter, focused on the financial services industry and attending my first Red Hat Summit, I was truly blown away by the stories our financial services customers shared on the main stage, during many breakouts and panel discussions, and as a part of our Financial Services Industry session.  Hosting Summit in my hometown, Boston made it even more special. I had the opportunity to share the beauty of a crisp early morning run along the Seaport district with dozens of Red Hat Summit attendees, as well as the ultimate baseball experience that only comes from a night at Fenway Park — especially when the Red Sox win! All the while, talking with people who are passionate about the open source community and empowering the individual — what a great experience!

As I listened to the stories told by leaders in the financial services industry such as Macquarie Bank, Deutsche Bank, Keybank, Barclays, TD Bank, Citi, Capital One, BBVA, Rabobank, and others, I kept hearing 4 key goals:

  1. Reduce costs and increase operational efficiency
  2. Deliver superior client experiences across channels
  3. Keep pace with required changes through agile processes
  4. Innovate to remain relevant among digital disruptors

Reduce costs and increase operational efficiency

Financial institutions today understand that modernizing their infrastructure, moving away from monolithic architectures is expensive and time-consuming. With a trusted technology partner, financial institutions can consolidate workloads onto fewer servers and maximize the return on hardware and software investments. During Citi’s breakout session “How business automation is driving operational transformation at Citi,” they spoke about the successes they are having in optimizing IT with policy-driven automation to increase efficiency by standardizing operating systems so they’re easier to manage.  Like all financial institutions, Citi has strict security requirements, and they have been able to achieve these efficiencies because Red Hat products are built in a consistent, repeatable, and transparent way that includes packaging, testing, verifying, and delivering the components with security concerns at the forefront. With Red Hat, Citi has been able to empower the business, with technology that enables transformation by modernizing workloads with minimal disruption, while maximizing costs savings.

Deliver superior client experiences across channels

Fintechs have completely changed the game and are placing intense competitive pressure on incumbent financial institutions. Today’s customers expect near-instant gratification and resolution. In order to meet these rising expectations, financial institutions must allow their customers to move easily across channels. Every financial services presenter at Summit spoke of the importance of keeping the customer at the center of every technology and business decision. Deutsche Bank, during their main stage presentation, spoke specifically about the changes that the proliferation of mobile technology has caused many financial institutions who have to move away from traditional bank branches.

The customer may visit a branch, call the contact center, make a comment on Twitter or Facebook, or touch the institution’s offers via a Google search, if the financial institution has a digital core, it will be aware of all these access points and touches, and will respond accordingly and consistently. In order to win the hearts and minds of the customer, financial institutions must have an innate knowledge of the customer, gleaned by leveraging data as a competitive differentiation.

Keep pace with required changes through agile processes  

Macquarie Bank, who won the Innovation award for Enterprise Transformation, told a great story about their agile process. They described change as the new normal and said that the future will belong to the fast. However, due to complex regulatory requirements, it can make it challenging to move even simple changes into production. A great example of technology that is enabling this speed to market is OpenShift. Using microservices and standard governance in deployment procedures and processes reduces friction in moving solutions from dev to test to production. The efficiency gains that are possible provide a massive impact on the business as developers are now able to move solutions and microservices on OpenShift in seconds.

Innovate to remain relevant among digital disruptors

Many of the financial institutions spoke about being a “digital first organization”, not a bank. They have an understanding that they are no longer competing against other financial institutions but, they are competing against the last digital experience their customers had, the last app that they used, whether it be Uber, eBay, WeChat, WhatsApp, or Amazon. Their development teams are being forced to think differently, to use software and technologies and ways of working that weren’t historically part of the DNA of a financial institution. Kieran Broadfoot, Chief Technology Officer of Hosting, Barclays emphasized the importance of attracting superb talent to ensure that the bank is constantly innovating. He referenced Stephen O’Grady’s The New Kingmakers and reminded us that in order to be successful, financial institutions must understand the strategic role that developers will play in their future. They simply cannot stand still. Customers need services, and financial institutions must be ahead of the times.

If you weren’t able to join us in Boston, you can watch the recap here

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 14th annual Red Hat Summit, taking place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, May 8-10, 2018

Additional Resources

Learn more about Financial Services at Red Hat

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