Stefan DOBAK, CEO, GRATEX International

27 September 2012 —
stefan_dobakRecently, there is not so much good news on economy. Times are hard and maybe will be even harder in following years. Business is struggling; everybody is looking for possibility to save costs and make business more efficient. But at least this aspect of current times is hopeful. More pressure to efficiency gives us a chance to do things better.

From some point of view, there is nothing new. The effort to expend the minimum energy and resources on reaching goals has always been tightly woven into human beings, and seems to be an inherent part of human nature. Also, this natural feature is reflected in business and everything else we do, and we call it efficiency.

It might be perceived that in good times, the constant pressure to be efficient is eased; nevertheless, those who do not underestimate the importance of getting things done better and faster gain a big competitive advantage. This applies even more in the turbulent times the global economy is going through nowadays.

The main focus of our company lies on developing sophisticated IT solutions for financial institutions to help them improve their business processes, efficiency and customers' satisfaction and profitability. So let's have a look on practical impact of current trends for this sector of economy.

The existence of financial institutions is directly dependent on efficiency. Banks and insurance companies work with external sources, and their success or failure depend directly on the ability to manage risks, streamline business operations, analyse and evaluate data and to guarantee the stability for the clients. Since the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the pressure exerted on efficiency in financial institutions has grown considerably. Nowadays, in addition to the need to decrease costs, each bank and insurance company must improve the risk management quality and increase the transparency, as well as adapt to the new and more stringent regulations.

The changes in the financial institutions also bring the new visions of IT solutions for the financial sector. An increasing emphasis is put on the data processing automation with the aim of reducing the direct costs. Of an even higher importance are those solutions that allow the insurance company or bank to quickly and accurately assess and manage risks as well as prevent widespread fraudulent transactions and claims. In addition, a number of solutions to streamline the document management flow have come to the fore, along with a noticeably increased interest in solutions providing financial institutions with electronic sales channels. Moreover, a re-evaluation of technological platforms has started to be carried out, with the aim to gradually decrease the permanent fees for the suppliers. This will mean a gradual retreat from the solutions built on the platforms of legacy vendors to the technologies built on open source technologies. These trends have been motivated by the need of financial institutions to significantly increase the efficiency of key activities, to improve the quality of provided services and to reduce costs. Every successful IT company, including GRATEX International, has been closely monitoring these trends and customising their solutions accordingly.

The increased pressure exerted on efficiency will result in further changes. For the IT companies in the financial sector, it will mean a shift in the core activities towards real performance at the expense of the prepayment of non-specified innovations. New conditions in the operation of financial institutions will also bring significant centralisation of business processes and their control, as well as reduction of the middle layer management. Increasingly, clients prefer hosting services, which allow them to save costs on physical IT infrastructure. The solutions to sharing the costs within common corporate regional or holding entities will also be in ever greater demand.

The key task for IT suppliers in Europe will be to adjust to the new trends. To reduce costs and increase efficiency, wherever applicable, is a must for financial institutions and a challenge for the IT sector. The company GRATEX International has accepted this challenge.

by Stefan DOBAK

CEO, GRATEX International

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