Community Blog

Community Blog

Open source is crossing the chasm in the financial services industry

November 29, 2018

Chasm-Curve-01-640x489A lot has been going on in the FINOS Community over the last couple of months. So much that, until today, I haven't had a chance to stop and reflect on what our Community has accomplished in less than 7 months since FINOS, the Fintech Open Source Foundation, was launched.

Most importantly, I see that the progress our Community is making will positively impact the global financial services industry, from those who drive and deliver technology across the organizations to those, end users, who consume the services. We all benefit from the improvements and advancements that our open source Community is bringing to the financial services ecosystem. 

The tl;dr is quite simple: our industry is increasingly eager and ready to embrace open collaboration as a prime way to deliver innovation and efficiency. It's time to catch up with, and maybe even surpass, Silicon Valley and there's an opportunity for all of you, companies and individuals, to benefit from this shifting paradigm and disrupt the way we build financial technology.

In case you missed it, let me start by giving you some concrete examples of the FINOS Community embracing open innovation. Just in the last month we have:

  • Launched our Data Analytics Visualization Program, initiated by our Platinum Member JPMorgan, which will seed the Program with the contribution of the production battle-tested Perspective data visualization framework. We are actively seeking contributions from other financial firms and vendors with the worthy objective of consolidating a fragmented ecosystem with a plethora of existing frameworks that lack competitive differentiation on their own.
  • Launched our Decentralized Ecosystem Growth Program, proposed by our Gold Member IHSMarkit in partnership with Clovyr, to facilitate the enterprise adoption of decentralized technologies with a specific focus on the financial services industry. I am particularly excited about this program, where open-source-by-definition technologies like blockchain can naturally reside. This has great potential to be a technology (and generational) bridge between the very diverse constituents of the decentralized ecosystem.
  • Hosted a very successful Open Source Strategy Forum in London, which not only served to accelerate the open source readiness of our Members and wider Community, but also reinforced the global nature of our Community (something very close to my heart, as good ole Europe is where I come from). We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the conference, and for the many of you who asked, stay tuned as we'll share presentations and videos very shortly. In the meantime check out my keynote

Candidly, when we worked with our Board earlier in the year to expand our Foundation into FINOS, I don't think anyone predicted that just 7 months later we would have 11 collaborative Programs actively working to solve some of the most long-standing challenges in our industry. Not only does this make us at FINOS extremely proud but, more importantly, it signifies that the industry is evolving faster than it has historically and recognizes FINOS as a trusted enabler of this evolution.

Now, let's not fool ourselves. 2018 has been the year of seeding, and while we are seeing some very promising contributions and adoption, we are far from done. To use a well known reference from Geoffrey Moore (most recently used by our friends at CNCF), open source in financial services is about to cross the chasm from early adopters to early majority. At that point open source will be the de-facto standard for rapidly delivering innovation in this industry, something most other industries recognized over the last two decades.

The good news is that our Community is open to everyone;  there's no paywall or membership required to participate. This is something I tried to convey in my OSSF Keynote "FINOS Contributor Pitch Deck". Even as a single individual there is opportunity: contributing to, maintaining, and/or actively participating in our Projects or Working Groups will put you on the radar of some of the most influential developers and decision makers in this industry. If you are a fintech startup, there is huge first mover advantage in opening your technology, or part thereof,  to quickly becoming a de-facto standard for our Community - using your technology to address specific industry challenges.

Finally, if you are a financial services institution, whether buy-side, sell-side or vendor, enabling your technology organization to seamlessly consume and contribute to our Community (and to open source more generally) has the potential to drastically reduce your technology TCO and enable you to focus on your real differentiators. 

In conclusion, very much like cloud adoption, open source is now an indispensable ingredient of any successful technology company. And as banks increasingly consider themselves or aspire to be technology companies, understanding and embracing open source might well be the secret sauce to delivering innovation across the whole technology organization.

And not just in the innovation center...bean bags on their own just won't cut it :)