Thursday, May 19, 2005

Financial Services Outsource Web Solutions Instead of Buying Software

With Jake Rohn, executive vice president of corporate development at Albridge Solutions, and Stuart Tarmy, the company's vice president of marketing. Albridge Solutions provides enterprise data consolidation and Web-based portfolio accounting and performance reporting solutions to the financial services industry.
Question: The financial services market has been slowly moving more toward using Web-based applications over software. What exactly are companies outsourcing through Web-based solutions, and what are the advantages of outsourcing Web-based solutions over buying software?
Rohn and Tarmy: Financial institutions are outsourcing a wide variety of application and data services across their technology platforms. This is being driven by the growing realization that Web-based applications are simpler to run (data updates can be applied by the host rather than the user), simpler to maintain (upgrades and bug fixes can be applied instantly without users applying new software), easier to access (anywhere with public Internet access), and not prone to personal computer problems. Most importantly, because Web-based solutions are more efficient to build and maintain on a total cost basis, it is more economical.

Question: What issues are financial services firms having with making the switch from software to outsourcing Web-based applications?
Rohn and Tarmy: Among the most prominent concerns are data migration, integration, replication and storage. Migrating to a new solution means that a significant data transfer project must be productively completed first. Successfully integrating data throughout an enterprise is critical to ensuring a seamless transition that enables a firm to maximize its investment and utilize the data more efficiently. As such, it is vital to find a partner that is experienced in managing these transitions and also has a strong commitment to ongoing investment in customer support and technology enhancements.

Question: Albridge Solutions has recently confirmed a number of partnerships that allow it to continue to ramp up its Web-application offerings to financial services companies. What trends do you plan to focus on to remain a top vendor in the financial services Web-application field?
Rohn and Tarmy: Performance reporting is gaining momentum as something that was once a value-added service, but is becoming a competitive "must have" that regulators will increasingly focus more attention on to provide improved transparency to investors. Also, heavily influencing our development strategy is the need for Web services and data replication to drive compliance needs, cross selling and the "virtual office," where an advisor can easily access their portfolio accounting, performance reporting, financial planning and analysis, and CRM solutions on their computer.