Financial Software 2000

Article excerpt

Financial technology executives discuss the coming of the euro, the continued impact of the Internet, and the evolution of

financial applications. Global Finance's Howard Moore moderated.

GLOBAL FINANCE: What are we likely to see in financial systems in the next five years? KEVIN SILK, director of corporate development, Hyperion Software: Five years is a long time in our business! If we were having this discussion five years ago, would the Internet have been a big topic of conversation? In a shorter time frame, one development will be the maturation of data mining and its implementation within analytic applications. The analysis people do manually with OLAP [on-line analytical processing] today will be automated, yielding much more powerful and actionable information. ADAM THIER, vice president, product marketing, Lawson Software: We're about to enter a new technological era because we're all replacing 25-year-old systems or older. They're so procedural nobody can enter them any more to tear them apart to see what's going on. There's a real need for the good new designs that will be appearing in the next few years, because they should allow the new applications we install to have 30- or 50-year life spans, irrelevant of the platform or the database.

LAURA HILLS, senior vice president, Computer Associates: We've moved away from the traditional client/server model. In one instance, we had a client that called with a problem, and they had 50 copies of the software on 50 PCs. We sent them a fix, but they continued to say that that the problem still existed. It turned out that one person had made an extra copy of the software and put it on the 51st machine. We didn't know it was there because it wasn't included as a part of their license agreement for client machines. They were propagating a problem we had solved through to unlicensed copies. The client/server model requiring you to install software on every single machine becomes unwieldy and unworkable.

GF: How does the financial technology industry help its clients keep up to date costeffectively?

TOM MATTHEWS, financial product marketing manager, J.D.

Edwards: We have separated the business rules from the technology so business applications can be implemented and updated without being handcuffed to systems technology. This effectively protects the user's business applications by providing customers with a forward-migration path, which allows them to continue to upgrade and evolve underlying technology at their own pace without sacrificing business functionality. Also, as long as you make your application suite flexible, you can adapt to whatever changes occur, enabling the customer to stay with the same software for many years. ROBERT BROWN, CEO, Coda Incorporated: In the next three to five years we'll see more finance functions being outsourced. The financial records will be managed by third parties, and you'll just subscribe, literally, to the information you need to run your business. And you won't have to worry about maintaining a huge intranet or about the security of the Internet.

GF: What have the year 2000 issue and the advent of the euro done for the financial technology market?

MARTIN MACKAY, European product strategy manager, PeopleSoft: Today, everyone in our business is moving away from positioning technology as their marketing focus. Instead, we all aim to solve problems. The key difference between the euro and the year 2000 is that the latter is a simple technical problem that can be solved by throwing money at it. The euro needs financial systems to handle the various conversion rules in order to report in multiple currencies as well as process multiple currencies. The euro has acted as a catalyst for change and is driving a lot of software business.

KAI MOLLER, vice president, marketing, Agresso Corporation: From the European's point of view, the euro is streamlining our financial requirements. …