Thursday, September 21, 2006

Show me the way to SOA

I've just gotten off the phone with Ron Mackintosh, chairman of SmartStream, a technology vendor that counts 75 of the world's Top 100 banks as its customers. US-based TA Associates, which has invested in a number of financial technology firms, recently bought UK private equity firm 3i's stake in SmartStream for an undisclosed sum.

Flush with funds, Mackintosh said SmartStream customers could expect business as usual in terms of the company's ongoing commitment to its Transaction Lifecycle Management platform, which he said is flexible enough to deal with emerging challenges around eliminating back office processing inefficiencies in the area of derivatives processing and hedge fund.

The latest buzz in the financial software industry is Software as a Service, but Mackintosh says SmartStream is happy with its current delivery model, WebConnect, which is a browser-based platform. However, at the Sibos conference in Sydney, SmartStream is expected to announce some modifications to its Business Process Management product line as part of its STP Control Architecture Strategy, an Service Oriented Architecture approach to STP, which will see it produce business services that can be used in composite applications.

Mackintosh does not rule out future acquisitions although he says there is nothing currently in the pipeline. Despite consolidation in other software sectors (ERP and accounting software, for example), Mackintosh says there is considerable potential for further consolidation in the financial software sector without compromising customer choice. "Given the vast number of companies servicing these customers [banks], no one has achieved a great deal of consolidation in this sector yet,"he said.

SmartStream has not ruled out a possible flotation on the UK's AIM market, which Mackintosh said may be an attractive option in the next two to three years, but the company would need to "bulk up its revenues" before that happened.

No comments: