Aug 11, 2014

Consumerization of IT: Virtualization, Cloud and the User Experience

In this video blog, Michael Pasacrita, Web Applications Developer at Numerix speaks with Jim Jockle, CMO about the consumerization of IT and how it’s being developed, managed and adopted across financial institutions.  Michael and Jim examine the various business uses of these technology developments, and how they’re being implemented by the end user. Michael addresses the debate around virtualization versus cloud computing and importance of UI within the financial industry.

Weigh in and continue the conversation on Twitter @nxanalyticsLinkedIn, or in the comments section.

Video Transcript:

Jim Jockle (Host): Hi welcome to the Numerix video blog. I’m your host Jim Jockle. Joining me today is Michael Pasacrita, Web Applications Developer at Numerix. Michael, welcome.

Michael Pasacrita (Guest): Thank you Jim. Good to be here.

Jockle: Glad to have you here. Let me ask you some questions. Traditionally, financial services have done a lot of in-house development. A lot of that was very traditional in terms of .net-type code and deployment. Perhaps you can give us a little insight of how arguably financial institutions are dealing with the consumerization of IT in living in the iPad world. And what is the role of the browser going forward in the development process for these types of institutions?

Pasacrita: Sure. Traditionally, like you said, there was a thick, server-based environment. A lot of financial institutions built out these large co-lo’s with clustered server environments. They spent a lot of money virtualizing, and now all of a sudden the trend is to move towards cloud deployments. And a lot of them are left wondering, "Well, why did I spend all the money five years ago for, and now how do I start to make the move?" How do I integrate between my existing systems and what’s being pushed into the cloud? How does it affect user experience and how it will fit in to the big picture?

Jockle: So you’re stumbling on the huge debate in terms of virtualization vs. cloud, and I think there’s two camps out there that say, look at cloud as the next generation, lower cost, and let’s continue to move down that trend. But yet the other side of the debate in terms of virtualization is we have this in-house, we can replicate cores, we can utilize the capacity we have. Any more insight into that debate and why it’s being driven in that way?

Pasacrita: Well there’s no one right answer to that. A lot of the time you’re going to have legacy systems that were built in-house and are monolithic, but you want to add features, and there is a way in a web-based environment, there’s typically a pretty easy way to start to move only components into the cloud, and you know, as things get replaced and need maintenance down the line, you could always start to move things piecemeal, as long as integration is done right.

That’s probably another reason why the trend is to try to find enterprise class software solutions rather than buying libraries and trying to integrate them and build up an enterprise solution around some kind of integrated system. For that reason, you can start to look at a cloud provider as just part of the org structure of your server topology and just use typical web integration.

Jockle: So one of the arguments and I think right now as it relates to cloud is really around security. And one of the arguments that is very well publicized and very well discussed is where is my data going? Especially with either a SAS based application or bursting. But what kind of security measures are required more in browser-based applications and how does that impact the thought process as institutions are moving forward?

Pasacrita: Sure. Well, obviously, there’s always the concern when using cloud computing that you don’t want to be in the news when, you know, your cloud provider was breached and you had no control over it. So a lot of times the database itself will be kept in-house hosted and then cloud applications can make a secure connection. So the web front end, you know the web tier itself, and the service layers, can talk back to a database that’s maintained in house. Whether you have a thick browser client or you have a traditional web application, it won’t matter, because everything should be protected behind firewalls.

Jockle: So you know, again, we’ve on our blogs we’ve talked about big data, we’ve talked about cloud. But let’s talk about visualization. Where was the role of UI experience visualization of data? How is that transforming into financial services? Because arguably, I’ve heard several CTO’s say some of the best and brightest talent in the market, they’re going back out to Silicon Valley. How are banks—or financial institutions broadly—starting to deal with that challenge and address some of the look-and-feel and workflow type issues?

Pasacrita: Well, user experience is more important than ever. As people, you know, live in the iPhone and iPad world and they’re used to a very seamless experience, financial applications need to have that as well now otherwise complaining happens. Data entry becomes more painful when people are used to a certain experience, so if you look at modern web frameworks, they’ve all tried to adopt a lot of the gesture—responsive gesture control—like what you’d see on a tablet or an iPhone, or an android application and also they try to—the industry is kind of moving away from applications that aren’t mobile-friendly in general.

So, if you have a web application, in-house developed, or some kind of mix mash up of various services, the front end should definitely be mobile friendly or at least have that smooth feel- and it also improves operational efficiency when your users actually can get through their work day a lot faster, and handle more load.

Jockle: I’ll tell you, I’m waiting for the day we see an Xbox Kinect on the trading floor. Michael, thank you so much for joining us.  And of course, we want to talk about the things you want to talk about. Please follow us on twitter @nxanalytics or on our blog at And Michael, thank you so much for joining us and hopefully we’ll see you again soon. Thank you.

Pasacrita: Thank you very much Jim.

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