IT procurement considerations for financial services

Whether an investment consultant or a benchmarking advisor, financial services require robust, reliable IT assets.

While software typically receives the brunt of attention, hardware shouldn't be ignored. For example, because business analysts require both historical and real-time data in order to provide the best advice to their clients, these professionals would do well to acquire networking equipment capable of handling stem and leaf architectures.

Vendor resource management: an essential or nice-to-have? 

Outsourcing to managed IT services is a regular practice among today's enterprises. While some companies store information on hosted environments managed and secured by cloud technology developers, others hire remote database administrators to ensure data warehouses are protected and flexible. 

This behavior requires a vendor resource management plan. Procurement Leaders contributor Harry John noted that if any details within the service-level agreement are left vague or undefined, problems can be exacerbated in the future. 

The importance of clearly defining SLAs

For example, say a financial services firm contracts a remote DBA to provide protection for its relational database management systems. In an effort to collect more thorough information about gold futures, the enterprise begins collecting unstructured data. Because RDMS systems can't organize unstructured information, the firm's servers encounter bottlenecks, causing critical applications to fail.

Because the financial services company didn't include data management in the DBA SLA, the business encountered a blackout that likely cost it upward of a $100,000. This figure isn't an exaggeration. According to Datacenter Dynamics, unplanned data center outages cost $7,900 per minute on average

Is real-time visibility a necessity? 

Aggregating data as it's produced is a capability many professionals devoid of IT backgrounds take for granted. While operating at this level is beneficial for some enterprises, other companies may find the volume and variety of digital information at their disposal simply overwhelming. 

Karen Stern, a contributor to the St. Louis Business Journal, noted a survey of accountants conducted by small business accounting software creator Xero. The research discovered 75 percent of participants believed a real-time perception of their clients' actions and finances would enable them to give more thorough advice. 

Stern maintained this level of oversight enables certified personal accountants and business advisors to identify areas of high profit-yielding potential. Surveillance over tax obligations is also easier to achieve, making the late-winter/early-spring season transpire much smoothly.

Based on these findings, it can be argued that financial services would do well to source real-time data analysis software. 

As far as outsourcing is considered, implementing a robust vendor resource management strategy is conducive to ensuring all needs are met and bases are covered. 

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