Over the past few years, the global financial services industry has become one of IBM's largest clients of On Demand services. Indeed, banks and other financial institutions have become so laden with technological infrastructure that they have almost become IT companies in their own right. In response to this, the IBM Haifa Labs decided recently to dedicate a day-long seminar to the financial services sector, which was met with tremendous interest throughout Israel's financial community.
Approximately 150 senior members of Israel's banking, financial, and IT communities attended the event, "Is the Financial Service Sector Ready for the Industry Revolution of the New Millennium?", held at the IBM Haifa Labs on the University of Haifa campus. Amit Fisher, a researcher in the IBM Haifa Labs Active Technologies Department and one of the seminar organizers, said the seminar's popularity was due to its innovative focus.
"The seminar was the first of its kind in Israel," said Fisher, whose team at the IBM research facility focuses primarily on developing middleware for the financial sector. "People from the financial community were also extremely interested in 'getting a peek' inside the IBM Research Lab, and we received a lot of positive feedback from seminar participants about the day's events."
The IBM Haifa Labs, along with the rest of the IBM Research Division, has recently begun opening its doors to customers, offering problem-solving, business optimization, and other vital services. Haifa researchers whose activities include the financial domain, work in such areas as active middleware technology-event-triggered applications that are very useful in a variety of financial, corporate, and e-business environments.
Lectures by IBM experts, senior banking technologists, venture capitalists, and Israeli financial software vendors provided a broad perspective of technological solutions currently available and in the planning for the financial community. The keynote lecture was delivered by Chris Holloway, IBM's chief architect for e-infrastructure in the financial services sector. In his presentation, Holloway described some of the key drivers for change in the architecture of IT infrastructure for financial service enterprises, and noted that enterprise-wide IT initiatives could be furthered by linking key IT services to strategic business goals.
Opher Etzion, manager of the Active Technologies Department in the IBM Haifa Labs, noted that the IBM Research Division is becoming increasingly focused on assisting IBM clients.
"IBM Research has developed specially designed technologies that can be used in solutions for the financial sector," said Etzion. "These tools help financial institutions manage and assess risks, meet guidelines, translate policy to business processes, and monitor regulatory adherence via computerized systems."
"Israeli banks have reasonably sophisticated IT systems," added Etzion. "They already enable a wide range of payment channels and options, and adopt new technologies very quickly. Our tools and services can help them optimize their technologies, and improve their business even further."
As global financial corporations continue to expand their reliance on technology infrastructure, the interdependency between such companies and IT organizations will continue to grow. With its On Demand focus already playing a major role in redoubling service efforts, IBM is able to harness the know-how of its Research Division to offer versatile and complete solutions for financial institutions around the globe.