The new IT technologies our clients will soon be using
The massive adoption of information technology in the banking industry has revolutionized its habits. The dematerialization of financial securities, the remote management of its portfolio and the rising speed of financial flows were the visible consequences of this upheaval. Banks don’t consider IT spending as a “burden” but rather as a source of opportunities and profit. Banking institutions don’t complain as much about spending concerning IT investments, realizing their value in their business strategy.
In this way, as ALGOFI consultants we have the chance to work for clients with a heavy and powerful IT environment. The emerging IT technologies generate these firms’ interest and you could probably meet these technologies during your next missions.
Here’s a small preview of the tech that’s about to be adopted by our clients.
The main advantage of Cloud Computing is the fact that you can easily and quickly have access to computing resources on demand. Thus, we can adjust the computing power allocated to an application, according to the number of users. Teams using cloud infrastructures enjoy being independent in managing their IT resources with ease via an API.
The Cloud model is large: should we use an internally-hosted Cloud (like OpenShift), a public Cloud (Amazon Web Services) or a hybrid? Should we use just one or many cloud suppliers?
And lot of initiatives exist to make managing a cloud infrastructure simpler. The Terraform software is a reference in this field.
However, cloud adoption is limited by unpredictable billings for major accounts (consumption billing) or by the problem of sensitive data management.
Production engineers haven’t been able to escape the frenzy around Kubernetes. This light virtualization technology can be notably found in microservice architectures and suggests dividing an application into small independent services communicating with each other.
Managing thousands of containers is complicated, and Kubernetes software is a reference in Docker containers orchestration.
Note that Docker containers support for Microsoft Windows was announced few weeks ago.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Businesses processes are starting to contain a dose of AI to deliver more insightful answers.
The difficulty in this AI concept is the learning period – the “Machine Learning” phase.
It’s necessary to feed a lot of precise data to the software, for it to output relevant answers.
This AI tool galaxy could bring a lot to the banking industry, like fraud detection.
A slew of AI-oriented frameworks then appeared, like TensorFlow. Python is often the referential language in these new projects.
We can notice that the chatbots appeared in some highly frequented websites such as RATP or OUI.sncf. You might also have discussed with a chatbot on the website of your online bank.
These conversational agents are more or less smart according their “training” and their “knowledge base”.
The chatbots are used in user support, as a complement of incidents management and more traditional inquiries.
Developers can also use chatbots to request information concerning a project, or to launch commands on demand.
Beyond their playful aspect, robots transform the user’s experience. Out of the box solutions to create chatbots are even starting to appear.
NoSQL databases whose data models are more flexible than the traditional SQL database, are trying to gain market shares. The use of these NoSQL databases is for now often confined in small less critical projects.
Oracle revealed last year its Autonomous Database 18c provided with “autonomous” behaviors to facilitate maintenance.
Automation is a recurring subject in IT, but it has been gaining traction for some time now. The main interest of process automation is to avoid annoying and repetitive manual operations, which are potentially sources of errors.
This principle of start to end automation is one of the DevOps’ method credo.
Robot Process Automation (RPA) exists too. Its figureheads are editors like Automation Anywhere, UiPath or Blue Prism. The interest of this technology is that the software allows taking control of the computer mouse, recognizing displayed items on the screen, or searching for information in an application…
New computing languages
You won’t see a revolution in the TIOBE rank of most popular computing languages. The historical heavyweights (C++, Java, Python, SQL…) are still widely used in a variety of projects.
Among the latest languages, we notice the strong appearance of Go, invented by Google, which sees itself as an alternative for the C language. Docker, Kubernetes, data shippers Beats Elasticsearch, all are written in Go language. In the same approach, the Mozilla foundation promote the Rust language, which remains confidential.
In the Java ecosystem, the alternative language Kotlin seduced a part of “traditional” Java developers, like Android developers or the community around the Spring framework. Kotlin can be considered a more concise and modern version to develop applications Java-compatible virtual machines.
To learn these new languages, I suggest you try the free code editor Visual Studio Code which is seducing an increasing number of developers. This tool launched by Microsoft has succeed in federating developers via word-of-mouth thanks to the simplicity and the efficiency of its light graphic interface to write computer code.
It cannot be stressed enough – security must be at the heart of a firm’s concerns. Threats are intensifying, scandals emerge every week:
- recurrent data leaks from major web actors (recent example at Facebook).
- cyberattacks don’t spare anyone as Altran has painfully experienced recently.
The IT innovations on security unfortunately often come from malicious people, who don’t lack imagination for finding failures: ransomware or crypto jacking agents (mining of cryptocurrency Bitcoin by using our computer’s power without our knowledge).
The use of Blockchain for concrete projects is making headway. The young project Voltron managed to bring major banks together around the same Blockchain platform.
There have been no recent major innovations in computer security: passwords are still there; biometrics are still shy; computer failures in abundance; hackers are ever more inventive… The major bank institutions try to fight with these threats by alerting their consultants/employees:
- Posters in elevators against social engineering
- Setting up serious games
- Strengthening cyber security teams (intrusion tests)
The latest IT innovations also concern other sectors not mentioned in this article, like the internet of things or virtual reality. I advise consultants to keep up to date with technological advancements to develop your knowledge and thus suggest new solutions for your customers’ issues.