Crossing-Tech: Integration made easy – James Nauffray
When integrating their IT applications, financial institutions have long grappled with the problem of data inconsistency caused by incompatiblesystems. In response to this, as CEO James Nauffray tells Ross Davies, Crossing-Tech has developed an innovative interoperability solution thatnot only reconciles these systems but also saves banks time and money.
As Europe continues to be rocked by the economic conflagration, banks across the continent are working hard to improve services, drive down costs and mitigate risk. Consequently, CIOs are stepping up to the strategic plate to better align business goals with IT infrastructures, allowing banks to respond faster to customers' needs.
Currently, in terms of IT, the financial sector's principal challenge comes in the shape of the proliferation of legacy systems, most commonly caused by mergers and acquisitions. As a result of this, banks are on the lookout to reconcile legacy systems and new applications in order to drive key business transformation initiatives.
Cleaning up data pollution
Through its patented Connectivity Factory product suite, Crossing-Tech can assist financial institutions in eliminating the data pollution synonymous with legacy systems. Formed in 2003 and headquartered in Switzerland, the company is present in more than 25 countries with its customer base predominantly comprising mid-to-large-sized institutions in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Adopting an out-of-the-box approach, Connectivity Factory constitutes a diverse range of services, connectors and adaptors that are able to integrate legacy systems, as well as packaged solutions and web services, within a matter of weeks. It equips companies with the unique ability to manage and monitor all their data, customer information and transactions in real time throughout the entire process lifecycle.
"Connectivity Factory presents a really unique way to tackle integration issues," says CEO James Nauffray. "In normalising the exchanges between banking applications and systems, we provide institutions with the capacity to alleviate cost, risk and time issues. The idea is really to maximise what the customer already has by integrating legacy systems with new technologies."
In-depth analysis and thorough training
Before setting to work on streamlining such IT projects, Crossing-Tech places a particular onus on analysing the specific business needs of each customer company. According to Nauffray, it is this preliminary phase that sets the company apart from its competitors in providing bespoke services and consultancy.
"I would say that 90% of the work we do takes the form of analysis," says Nauffray. "I believe this makes a real difference. Very often, when you talk about integration, it is mostly technical, which is a shame. While we speak to technical staff in order to help them understand how they can deploy the technology, the largest proportion of time is spent analysing the actual functional needs of the business in question."
Once the Connectivity Factory is fully operational, Crossing-Tech offers its clients advanced knowledge transfer programmes and training. As the solution is offered to a diverse number of project stakeholders within the company, training packages are tailored rather than dispensed en masse.
"Rather than just delivering a black box, we make sure that the customer takes full ownership," says Nauffray. "In order to overcome any technical barriers, as well as helping customers come to terms with the new functional architecture, we believe project coaching to be imperative."
Agile, agnostic IT architecture
Nauffray describes Crossing-Tech's approach as agnostic, meaning it can work within any IT environment. While he concedes that it is impossible for IT projects to move at the same pace as the banking sector with its ever-changing rules and regulations, he believes that the Connectivity Factory's agility in reducing the number of legacy systems will continue to underpin financial institutions' future success.
"Our priority is to help the customer decrease IT costs and optimise their business processes," he says. "As we are agnostic and can fit into any IT environment, the next step for the company will be in expanding our family of connectors. We are also looking to propose pre-packaged workflows to our customers in the future. It is an exciting time for us."