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"A successful product company should posses the capabilities to innovate”

The B2B space is rapidly gaining center stage the world over. These platforms require robust and scalable architecture capable of handling mission critical applications on a 24x7 basis with real-time performance capabilities.

Founded in 1995, Financial Technologies (India) Ltd. (FT) leads the list of Indian companies focused exclusively on developing software products for the financial services industry. FT has various products for the Equity, Debt, Money Market, Foreign Exchange, Commodities and Derivatives markets and powers B2B e-Xchange. FT's e-Xchange Trading Platform enables enterprises to offer exchange market based products and services to clients. It supports high transaction density for an ever-expanding marketplace by delivering performance, scalability, open architecture and deployment flexibility.

With the success and credibility behind FT-engines, FT is positioned perfectly to provide end-to-end integrated products for the B2B Exchange Trading Platforms. Network Magazine caught up with Dewang Narella, chief technical architect at Financial Technologies to know more about the emerging scenario in the realm -of technologies for financial world.

In the world of technologies for finance how important is it to possess industry domain knowledge while architecting both solutions as well as products? This is especially important since you have a range of products looking into Commodities, Forex, Treasury, Debt, Derivatives and Equities.

In order to architect a solution/product for any sector, whether be it manufacturing or finance, it is mandatory to possess deep domain expertise of the sector, as well as a foresight to anticipate emerging trends. In addition to domain expertise, a successful product company should posses the capabilities to innovate, and have a strong technology vision for the market that it addresses.

You were recently in news for deploying your e-brokerage solution at Interconnected Stock Exchange. Please share some details on that. What made you choose Microsoft as a platform for choice as this was an enterprise wide solution involving some highly sophisticated VSAT's.

We have deployed ODIN (Open Dealer Integrated Network), our customized front-office online trading product. The Interconnected Stock Exchange has deployed one of the most heterogeneous networks (leased line/ISDN/Vsat/Dial-up

networks). In order to get a solution functioning over such a diverse network is a challenge in itself. Along with this, there is a complex task of handling more than 500 concurrent user sessions. We have chosen Microsoft as a solution platform, since this platform provides:

Cost benefit to customers
The platform is scaleable horizontally as well as vertically to handle loads that are evident in the finance Learning curve or training required at a customer site to manage such an environment is lot easier as manpower is available in the industry "FT e.Cosystem" for brokers and financial intermediaries that offers end-to-end solutions for E-brokerage and Net trading is a well-known product. Please share some details on it.

FT e.Cosystem is an end-to-end offering providing full Straight Through Processing across systems. There are multiple components involved Front-office, backoffice, Depository Backoffice, and banking (Payment gateway) integration, which communicate on a real-time basis.

Newer standards like FIXML are resulting in what is popularly being termed as "Financial Convergence " as they are helping in "Separation of Session and Application Layer. How is FT leveraging such trends into its range of products?

Financial convergence as a concept has been advocated by FT since the beginning of automation cycle. All our existing systems communicate on a real-time basis. We are moving towards integrating international standards such as FIXML, STPML in to our products, so as to provide standard interfaces for all our products. However, in the pure business context, it is primarily important to have the systems communicating with each other. Internationally, these standards have emanated because of existence of heterogeneous systems.

Straight through processing (STP) technology permits financial software products to directly interact with the stock exchange system by communicating with the exchange message structures. Please share some details where you might have implemented this technology?

FT has been providing this technology for more than 3 years now and is the heart of our trading engines. Both the premier exchanges in the country, NSE as well as BSE, have released messaging APIs so as to enable a customized front-office application to communicate with these exchanges. At FT we have developed a robust Exchange Bridge Technology solution, which gives real time access for NSE and BSE.

6. From a technical perspective what are the key success factors for e-broking solutions?

Primary challenges in an e-broking solution are:

  • Speed of execution, which is dependent on the trading interface with the exchange.
  • Smooth real-time integration between various system components for e.g. depository, banking
  • Solution scalability to handle increasing loads
  • Availability or uptime of the solution, which is dependent on the robustness of the solution

Online Screen Based trading is catching up fast in the financial trade. What kind of OLTP applications are you building for the banking industry?

FT's focus has been and will continue to be on the securities industry, whether be it equity, commodity, derivatives, treasury or forex. As a matter of fact we are looking at all transaction based markets, and are not foraying into branch automation. Players in the Banking industry have presently deployed FT's backoffice products (Match, DPM, M3) as well as products for the equity and treasury markets.

Worldwide product companies are fast moving to an ecosystem model where they are now trying to sell a product coupled with the solution integration. What is FT's strategy in this perspective since you are primarily a product company?

One needs to look at a strong integration model, wherein we are able to develop customized solutions around our products that address the unique requirements of our customers without compromising on performance. This also necessitates the need to integrate seamlessly with third party systems and legacy platforms.

What role do you see OFX standard playing in the integration of Consumer and Business Banking?
OFX has evolved over a period of years. There has been a convergence in the standards also. The standard for the future will be IFX, which provides support for both corporate as well as retail banking. This is on the payment side. SWIFT, as a standard, is still prevalent and would continue to do so for inter bank transactions.

In the wireless banking scenario do you see the emergence of mobile phones as point-of-sale payment devices? Are you looking at providing payments infra- structure for M-commerce services in the near future?

Definitely. With the emergence of PDA enabled devices available and lot of standardization happening in the M-commerce space, we would see mobile phones emerging as a single most important device apart from the Internet.

Bhavish sood can be reached at bhavishsood@netscape.net

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