08.28.2019
By Rob Daly

Study: IT Investment Boosts Bottom Line

When fintech vendor FIS surveyed 2,034 senior-level executives across investment banks, asset managers and other financial services for its third-annual Readiness Report, it found that the degree of technology investment had a strong correlation to a firm’s financial performance.

“Financial services firms that have invested in technology are growing twice as fast as their peers,” Jennifer Hanes, division executive, securities finance & processing – capital markets at FIS, told IntelAlley. “That is what we have seen in the data. Those who made the bolder steps earlier, had stronger financial results.”

FIS identified the top 20% of the top respondents by their financial performance and dubbed them “Readiness Leaders.” Of those Readiness Leaders, 74% of them felt that their technology was able to support the growth plans of their firms, while only 47% of the remaining respondents replied similarly.

The authors of the study noted that there was a gulf between Readiness Leaders and the rest of the survey’s participants regarding the adoption of cloud computing and data-management investments.

“In the prior 12 to 18 months, we would have seen much more reluctance to consider it,” said Hanes. “But today, we see a greater appetite and much less reticence by market participants to look at that as an option for their future. Some firms have taken it to a more aggressive place where they plan to have everything in the cloud by a date that is not too far in the future.”

Approximately one-third of the Readiness Leaders that are broker-dealers, 29%, have moved at least one mission-critical application to the cloud while 6% of institutional-only broker-dealers have done the same.

“A few years ago there was quite a different perspective on getting comfortable with the cloud or with outsourcing or moving away from internal IT,” she said. “Particularly with the Readiness Leaders, there has been much more of a willingness to look to third-party providers and outsourcing non-core competencies, and allowing them to focus on differentiating in the marketplace.”

Nearly half of the investment banks that participated in the study, 48%, planned to move their data-visualization portals for their clients to the cloud, according to the study’s authors.

Cloud computing scalability and flexible costs also helped 40% of of the overall Readiness Leaders to re-organize their businesses around data while only 4% of the rest of the respondents plan to follow the same path.

“Putting data front and center in how firms manage information and decisions, is incredibly important,” said Hanes. “The ability to manage that data cost-effectively is a requirement. It is not optional.”

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