Financial Firms Investing in Flash Storage Save and Earn More Money Than Those Who Don’t

Every industry is looking for new ways to enhance business application performance. In financial services, for example, completing more transactions faster brings more revenue. Therefore, faster – and better – decision-making has a greater impact on a business’ bottom line and its ability to add services more quickly for customers.


NetApp’s Mihaela Risca, Industry Manager, Financial Services answers questions around 2015 Financial Services Trends and IT priorities. In addition, she addresses how flash storage technology speeds up the performance of financial services applications making data results more available to organizations more quickly.


What are NetApp Financial Services customers’ main IT priorities in 2015?


Mihaela Risca: In 2015, retail banks are investing in mobile and online capabilities to augment their existing infrastructure. Research shows mobile banking is expected to grow 7.5% and spending on online banking to increase 7%. In addition, regulatory and compliance challenges are still top of mind and security is becoming a top spending initiative.. According to a report from IDC Financial Insights, worldwide spending on risk information technologies will reach $79.2 billion in 2015 and $97.3 billion by 2018.


Are financial services customers demanding more storage performance as a result of current changes in IT such as new server platforms, CPUs and operating systems coming to market?


MR: Yes. Between high frequency stock trades, detecting real-time fraud patterns, or managing asset-liabilities, today’s financial organizations need a highly available, resilient storage foundation for their IT infrastructure. To meet this need, IT architects are rebalancing their data center infrastructure to realize the full potential of new server platforms, CPUs and operating systems. And because of this perfect storm of mission-critical need and upgrade cycles, there has never been a better time to deploy flash storage.


Banks in particular are looking at areas of IT that bring the most cost savings, such as storage performance, high availability and business agility. According to McKinsey, banks that apply agile methodologies to less than a quarter of their projects deliver 70% of projects on budget and 55% on time.


What are the main business critical applications in Financial Services for Banking, Financial Markets and Insurance?


MR: Business critical applications vary, depending on the specific financial services sector. For the banking industry, IT organizations are focused on applications for risk and compliance retail banking (including omni-channel banking), digital payments, digital channels and processes, analytics, and security.

Main business critical applications for financial markets include risk management, compliance, trade execution and market surveillance.

In the insurance industry, IT organizations are investing in applications for fraud detection and prevention as well as for transform claims/policy processing systems.


How has flash been adopted by the Financial Services sector? Do you see more of a hybrid approach or all-flash array (AFA)?


MR: Flash is best for high-performing financial services applications such as risk analytics, portfolio optimization, and asset-liability management. The value flash brings in accelerating databases, enhancing data processing pipelines, parallelizing analytic computations and generating reports cannot be understated, particularly for data-intensive applications such as post-trade analytics and regulatory reporting.


With “no one size fits all” approach to flash, NetApp believes Financial Services customers will deploy the technology at every layer in the stack to solve a wide variety of challenges. By offering a broad portfolio including both hybrid and all-flash storage offerings, NetApp is enabling Financial Services IT organizations to optimize the level of performance, efficiency, and scalability to meet their specific needs.


How are NetApp Financial Services customers benefitting from flash technology today?


MR: One great example is RP Data, the largest provider of real estate property information in Australia and New Zealand. Continued growth for RP Data depended on the company’s ability to provide better and faster insights than its competition. After the implementation of the NetApp EF-Series all flash array, RP Data’s renovated infrastructure was able to handle and transfer heavier workloads faster than ever before. As a result, customers are now able to get real-time data on property sales. Real-estate agents can now offer more accurate and timely information to their customers. Lastly, banks and mortgage lenders have faster access to a wealth of new data on properties and borrowers.


Another example is Universal-Investment, one of Germany’s most successful investment companies. Universal-Investment was faced with extremely high business growth and the need to sustain competitive advantage. By using NetApp EF-Series all flash arrays, Universal-Investment was able to increase performance by 100%, and deliver a reliable, high availability solution for core applications.