This article is written by Kris Sharma, Financial Services Sector Lead, Canonical and originally appeared on the FINOS blog.
The banking sector is facing rapid and irreversible changes across technology, customer behaviour, and regulation. While customers are demanding ever higher levels of service and value and regulations are impacting business models and economics, technology can be a potent enabler of both customer experience and effective operations.
The banking industry will look radically different in the near future as new banking models will bring a lot of product and service innovation. There is a new wave of digital-only banks across the globe challenging traditional banking players. The digital-only banks are tightening the competitive landscape and the competition would create the impetus for banks to do more with technology and provide better customer services. In this quickly shifting landscape, financial institutions of all shapes and sizes need to find every possible way to respond and compete. This is where technology and innovation matters – having an open and flexible technology architecture driving business agility.
Open source technologies and open innovation have the potential to level the playing field and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation enabling financial institutions to get products and services to market faster and help solve the challenges facing the financial services industry.
Open Source is Everywhere
A recent report by The Linux Foundation and The Lab for Innovation Science at Harvard highlights that open source constitutes 80% of any given piece of modern software. In the last few years, financial institutions have already been leveraging open source across a broad spectrum, from its use in back-end technologies to regulator mandated Open Banking in the UK and PSD2 in Europe. The massive compute landscape, data storage and processing capabilities of financial institutions, and the trading infrastructure is largely run on open source Linux platforms. By plugging-in open source technology solutions, financial institutions are able to free up valuable resources to focus efforts on integration and create business value.
Open Source Drives Innovation and Delivers Business Value
The real draw of open source in financial services is the ability to explore and innovate with new technologies, to easily scale the solutions that deliver real competitive advantage and to reduce the overall cost of managing vast IT infrastructures through the use of common, best-of-breed open source technologies.
Open source platforms can be likened to working or playing with building blocks because developers are uninhibited by design constraints – they are free to innovate and develop new business value and differentiation for enterprise applications. The flexibility and adaptability is unmatched by any proprietary platform.
Open source often provides the foundational technology, including languages, libraries, and database technologies that lays a rich foundation to quickly develop enterprise applications. Financial institutions can maintain cost-effectiveness while tapping into the expertise of the open-source user community. Open source communities fuel the developer velocity and developers have a lot of access to tools through APIs and services.
Financial institutions are under pressure to increase business flexibility and the velocity of innovation with the same or fewer resources. Open source technologies are paving the way for financial services software development towards a future in which service offerings and applications can be rapidly constructed by assembling and integrating a wide variety of technical building blocks. By adding additional proprietary capabilities and functionality, banks can differentiate their offerings and drive consumer benefits.
FINOS and the Future of Open
The Fintech Open Source Foundation, which includes members and contributions from the financial services industry, develops open source software, standards and special interest groups whilst providing an independent setting to deliver solutions that address common banking challenges and drive innovation within the regulated industry.
Banks, fintechs and technology companies, at the forefront of the financial services industry and engineering in banking, are making long-term commitments to open source by collaborating within the foundation as FINOS members and uniting with a shared goal of “shaping the future of open source in financial services.”
Open source projects that have been contributed to FINOS by foundation member banks include Legend by Goldman Sachs, Morphir by Morgan Stanley, Perspective by JPMorgan Chase, and Waltz by Deutsche Bank. FINOS open source projects can be used directly from the FINOS GitHub Organisation and solve real world banking problems ranging from financial objects modeling through Legend to the mapping out internal banking systems through Waltz.