Financial Services Segment re:Invent Recap
This is a guest post from Peter Williams. Peter is a Partner Solutions Architect (SA), and he focuses on the Financial Services segment.
This year’s AWS re:Invent conference keynotes reminded us that we are at a seminal moment in the history of technological innovation. Businesses are transforming their operating model to take advantage of disruptive technologies enabled by AWS. While this is pertinent to every industry, I believe that it is especially true for Financial Services. Having traditionally been one of the more conservative industries with regard to cloud adoption, banks and insurance companies are now deciding to get out of the data center business and take advantage of the agility and cost savings of building on the AWS Cloud.
A Critical Mass for Financial Services
As Financial Services organizations have leveraged AWS’ pace of innovation and new offerings that simplify accessibility to technologies such as big data analytics, high performance computing and deep learning, a critical mass has formed. Leaps forward in time-to-market are becoming the new normal, replacing incremental evolutionary steps of recent years past. Capitalizing on the newfound elasticity and velocity, firms are enabled to respond to regulatory and customer needs at an unprecedented pace.
Banks and Insurers are now engaged in full-scale transformations to reduce the cost of infrastructure and other non-core competencies, and redirecting their technology investment to expanding and improving their capabilities to serve the customer and advance their market share.
Product and Program Launches
To support this industry transformation, many new capabilities and programs were launched at this year’s AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. First and foremost was the launch of the AWS Financial Services Competency. This program helps customers identify and connect with industry-leading Consulting and Technology Partners with solutions for banking and payments, capital markets, and insurance. APN Partners who have achieved the AWS Financial Services Competency have demonstrated industry expertise, readily implemented solutions that align with AWS architectural best practices, and built a deep bench of AWS Trained & Certified individuals.
The launch of the AWS Partner Solutions Finder will also help customers more easily find APN Partners with expertise in the Financial Services industry. Customers can select by industry, use case, and AWS product of interest to identify APN Partners with depth in their area of need.
This re:Invent had no shortage of new product offerings that can help Financial Services organizations optimize their technology investment. Below, I’d like to discuss just a few of the product announcements and how they may impact Financial Services customers and partners. New compute capabilities enable richer functionality, such as the Amazon EC2 F1 Instance, now in preview, with field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which customers can program to create custom hardware accelerations for their applications. New instance types were also announced for the R, T, I and C instance classes, bringing improvements to memory, compute, and I/O throughput.
New AWS service offerings include the fully managed ETL service AWS Glue, which simplifies and automates traditionally difficult and time consuming data discovery, conversion, mapping, and job scheduling tasks. AWS Glue guides you through the process of moving your data with an easy-to-use console that helps you understand your data sources, prepare the data for analytics, and load it reliably from data sources to destinations.
Customers have asked for tools to help them mine transactions, policies, and other types of data stored on Amazon S3. Amazon Athena helps to simplify this process. Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to manage, and you pay only for the queries that you run.
Large Financial Services firms often need tools to help them run thousands of batch jobs to support applications such as high-performance computing, post-trade analytics, and fraud surveillance. AWS Batch was announced to address these and many other use cases. AWS Batch enables developers to easily and efficiently run hundreds of thousands of computing jobs on AWS, and dynamically provisions the optimal quantity and type of compute resources based on the volume and specific resource requirements of the batch jobs submitted.
Trends for 2017
For Financial Services Partners, one of the key trends discussed at the re:Invent Partner Summit is the move to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Prior to re:Invent, we launched AWS Marketplace SaaS Subscriptions, which you can learn more about here.
SaaS solutions can alleviate the need for customers to manage the software they use. By eliminating the overhead of managing version upgrades, customers can reduce their total cost of ownership, while taking advantage of new features as soon as they are available. APN Partners can enjoy the competitive advantage of being able to make new features available to all customers without waiting for customer migrations, as well as the lower support cost of maintaining a single version of software. This will be a major driver in 2017 for many Financial Services Partners as they support banks and insurance companies.
We believe 2017 will be transformational for banking, capital markets, and insurance companies, as they continue to realize the benefits of moving to the AWS Cloud. Consulting Partners specializing in end-to-end cloud transformation can catalyze wide-scale adoption across firms transitioning to a new, more agile approach to technology delivery. And we believe that Technology Partners will play an increasingly important role as customers use their products in new ways to capitalize on a new pace of innovation. Hear from two of our AWS Financial Services Competency Partners, EIS Group and IHS Markit, as they discuss why their customers are moving to AWS, and how customers take advantage of their software on AWS: