Innovation has unleashed new, more streamlined ways of operating and this has led to an influx of fintech start-ups and tech companies entering the industry. While these innovations are providing customers with better choices and services, they are also creating new angles for bad actors to exploit consumers. It’s the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the financial services industry works in the best interest of everyone.
At this year’s Fujitsu World Tour, the FCA sat down with two of its collaborative partners – Oracle and Fujitsu – to discuss some of the digital transformation challenges they faced.
The Financial Conduct Authority
The FCA is an independent body that serves an important and increasingly complex purpose in our society. With more than 58,000 businesses under its watch, it has to protect the market’s integrity, promote competition in the interest of consumers, while also providing a degree of protection for customers. It’s down to the 3,500 individuals working for the FCA to provide oversight to more than 2.2 million financial services workers.
In recent years, as more fintech companies have entered the market, one of the FCA’s biggest challenges has been making sure its regulations are effective, but proportionate, so it doesn’t restrict innovation or growth.
“As the industry changes, the risks change and the things that might go wrong change,” explained Martin Bellamy, Chief Information Officer at the FCA. “So, it was clear to me before I even joined, that the FCA was going to need incredibly flexible and powerful data analytics and digital capabilities to be able to stay abreast of innovation within the industry.”
Adapting to change
The FCA has always been a particularly innovative body. In recent years, it began building a digital regulatory platform and has been deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) as a first choice for a while. In addition, its digital strategy included moving all infrastructure to the Cloud over five years.
Pulling off the planned move to the Cloud of something this critical was challenging. The FCA is a large organisation with decades of IT infrastructure built on top of layers of legacy systems.
A lot goes into a move so large and this is all made harder by the necessity of maintaining business as usual. The final push that convinced the FCA that it needed to adopt a different Cloud strategy was the imminent obsolescence of Exadata hardware plants.
These plants provided storage services for business-critical functions of the FCA, such as its data collection services. The FCA couldn’t afford any interruption to these functions while it completed its Cloud migration.
Moving to the Cloud is one of the most impactful actions a business can take, since it amounts to a dramatic transformation.
Or as Neil Caughey, a Senior Sales Director and Systems Leader at Oracle put it, “if you don’t have a data strategy and you’re not thinking about your most critical asset or how you can exploit it, you’re not looking very far into the future”.
However, picking your Cloud strategy can be daunting for any organisation. Figuring out which path will give the best results, be the least disruptive and integrate best with other IT systems and processes, takes a level of specific knowledge few organisations with this responsibility or complexity can boast of.
The FCA decided to work strategically with both Fujitsu providing the managed services together with Oracle. Together, the FCA reached the practical conclusion that they would be best served by the Oracle Exadata Cloud at Customer which is identical to Oracle’s Exadata Cloud service, but located on premise behind the FCA’s firewall.
But forming a strategic relationship across multiple organisations can be very difficult. That’s why building a foundation of trust was the most important objective as it allowed all three of us to work with a single team mentality.
A template for trust
Despite the unique nature of what the FCA does, most organisations have very similar challenges.
Fujitsu’s experience of co-creating or working together across both customers and our industry partnerships, like the relationship we forged with the FCA and Oracle, is based on a replicable template which can be used irrespective of sector or customer.
Because agility, collaboration and co-creation are the only guarantees against an uncertain future, this partnership was a journey for all involved. As our Client Managing Director, Patrick Stephenson closed out the session saying: “We seem to be building the innovative equivalent of the steam engine every day now. Anything is possible – so it’s more important than ever to find partners who understand change.”
To find out more about collaborative partnerships and how they can help super-charge your digital transformation strategy, click here.