No matter how bad business gets, technology needs are never going to abate. That's why we've put together a shopping list of the issues and applications that will require your attention in 2003.
As firms move into the coming year, it is clear that money is tight and will probably stay that way for a long time. But, unfortunately for heads of business and technology at financial institutions, that doesn't alleviate their workload or obviate the importance of the technology-related issues that we have outlined here.
Almost every firm on Wall Street will have to deal with almost every issue we have covered this time around. Think you can avoid dealing with the Patriot Act? Feel you're secure enough not to worry about business-continuity planning? Perhaps you are under the impression that you don't need to save the instant messages zipping in and out of your firm.
In this issue, our first of 2003, we have tried to provide you with a way to approach each of these themes by looking at what your competitors are doing, weighing your options, and revealing what the analysts have to say. Our goal is that, armed with such information, you will be able to dole out your dwindling dollars more wisely.
Doing more with less has been the theme of financial-technology spending for the last few years, and there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. As outlined in our last cover story, return-on-investment will be a chief concern in all of your technology purchases in 2003. But some projects, often the ones that provide a real competitive advantage, resist yielding hard ROI numbers.
ROI centers around the concept that every dollar spent had better yield its like in return or the tech project in question will never get off the ground. But fear that an investment will not produce the desired results cannot stop firms from embracing technology.
Issues covered here, like customer-relationship-management strategies and wealth-management applications, resist offering ROI numbers but, as we explain, you ignore such trends at great peril.
Industry initiatives will also rear their ugly heads and demand attention. Though T+1 seems to be safely out of the way for the time being, unavoidable mandates such as Basel II requirements will need financial focus. Similarly, more acceptable version of the jointly released business-continuity white paper should hit the Street sometime during the year.
Of course, any attempt to highlight all of your technology challenges will certainly come up short, as every firm will face an array of different challenges in 2003.
Buy-side firms, for example, must eventually figure out how to say goodbye to their beloved fax machines, sell-side firms will continue to enhance connectivity with their clients, and custodians will weigh the cost/benefit equation of embracing Swift for payments and messaging.
But, despite the fact that we can only provide a sampling of challenges, we feel that reading our 2003 Tech Forecast will put you on sound footing when it comes to surveying the evolving financial-technology landscape.