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As the fintechs increasingly capture market share, staying competitive is determined by how fast an organization can innovate; but at what cost? 

The growing pool of choices has put the consumer in the driver's seat. So, to retain customers and attract new ones it is important to provide a seamless, convenient and engaging digital user experience. And if that isn't difficult enough, the rapid increase in security threats, regulatory challenges and contending with legacy systems make the uphill battle even steeper. 

Despite all this, the race to innovate presses onward. How can FinServ organizations stay competitive in this fierce marketplace while covering all bases on the backend? There may not be a single turnkey solution (yet), but with the right strategy, WWT and F5 agree that getting ahead of the game is entirely possible. 

WWT & F5: Partnered for success

WWT is F5's largest strategic partners globally, and together have established a solid track record of collaboratively helping customers achieve successful outcomes—illustrated in case studies here and here. It's no wonder that WWT and F5 share a common perspective on the key challenges, principles and strategies surrounding the digital transformation movement that's been taking the global enterprise–particularly the financial sector–by storm. 

When it comes to recommending a digital transformation strategy, each organization will require its own recipe for success, but here are five necessities according to the pros.

1. Careful integration of IT modernization with legacy infrastructure

Any successful transformation in business takes a huge amount of strategic planning, alignment and resource allocation, with precise execution across the entire operation. In this digital era, success is heavily reliant on modernized tools and solutions, but only when they are carefully integrated with legacy infrastructure.

To say digital transformation and IT modernization go hand-in-hand is an understatement. To protect legacy infrastructure and achieve optimal results, they must be tackled simultaneously. Just as the business side can no longer function independently from the IT side, digital transformation and IT modernization initiatives must be harmoniously intertwined for either to succeed.  

When digital transformation and IT modernization are paired properly, the benefits are many; here are some you can't ignore:

  • Elimination of tedious and error prone manual delivery of applications, network and security functions.
  • Acceleration of business processes and improved operational efficiencies.
  • Streamlined technical consolidation during mergers and acquisitions.
  • Optimized customer and employee experience with a digital-first mindset.
  • Higher performance and lower latency within architecture.

Learning how to accomplish this can be further explored  here, and by attending a customized WWT workshop like this one.

2. Be agile

When it comes to digital transformation, being agile means so much more than software development flexibility. It's a movement of business culture, reliant heavily on an organization's DevOps stature. Together, agile and DevOps are the combination of culture, philosophy, methodologies, infrastructure and tools that determines a team's ability to successfully deliver applications and services.

To maximize digital transformation efforts, a smart move would be to prioritize an agile transformation within your organization, keeping in mind that agile and DevOps are two sides of the same coin. Marc ChouinardWWT's Director, Agile Transformation and Software Craftmanship provides an expert perspective on achieving agile transformation here

Determine how agile your organization is with the WWT Agile Assessment.  

3. Support application security and delivery with the right solutions

Part of the digital transformation journey is to ensure that every app you develop and deploy is supported with adequate application delivery and security services. WWT and F5 are teaming up to help some of the world's biggest financial organizations find and implement solutions with the following goals in mind:

  • Accelerate your build environment by avoiding manual implementation of app delivery and security services.
  • Prevent costly low-latency instances, which can lead to customer churn, abandonment and lost revenue.
  • Provide customers a seamless digital experience by implementing automation solutions that quickly and safely deploy and configure security and network infrastructure services.
  • Promote secure innovation and prevent shadow IT through automated management in containerized environments.
  • Eliminate cumbersome multi-cloud management by implementing a policy-management strategy that supports various application workloads.
  • Enable CI/CD ecosystem integrations, automating security and performance policies into your code pipeline to keep things running smoothly and securely across clouds.
  • Securely manage APIs across any data center or cloud using a simple, fast and scalable multi-cloud architecture.
  • Integrate security stack orchestration to reduce the time, cost, impact and downtime of security changes.

4. Play with the fintechs, not against them

Thanks to open banking initiatives and advances in API technology (check out this WWT & F5 on-demand webinar), a big bank/fintech relationship can be a powerhouse if managed correctly. The big banks can provide stability, security and substance, while the fintech innovations satisfy consumers' need for a fast and seamless digital experience. If they work strategically together it can result in a more satisfied customer base. 

While fintech innovations foster many benefits, if executed and managed improperly, the benefits can be outweighed by increased latency, security issues and costs. With the support of informed technology partners like WWT and F5, banking organizations can be guided to effectively fuse their existing technology with innovative financial products to gain the competitive advantage needed to stay ahead in this ever-evolving market.

Key considerations to incorporate into your strategy include:

  • Integrating technologies (software, analytics, mobile, IoT) to remove friction from the customer journey, improve integrated, multi-service delivery.
  • Developing multi-channel technology to expand digital payment offerings.
  • Leveraging big data, AI and cognitive computing to develop more precise, personalized services.
  • Using applications and AI to automate manual processes.
  • Researching and incorporating disruptive technologies and initiatives appropriately (AI, quantum computing, AR/VR, Blockchain, etc.).
  • Transforming your technology buyers into technology solution developers.
  • Establishing an agile culture and workflow, as well as automating and improving risk management.
  • Responding and adhering to new and emerging banking regulations.
  • Addressing audit requirements proactively not reactively (MRIA).

5. Select the right tools through third-party testing

WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is an innovation ecosystem that serves as a digital transformation proving ground for any tools or solutions an organization would like to explore or test. 

In addition to serving as a compressive IT learning platform, the ATC allows you to create a simulation of your environment to test products, from top OEMs like F5, and evaluate how they interoperate with native and new architectural solutions. From there, you can determine which solutions meet your needs and understand how they function within your existing landscape.  

The ATC houses architecture that shows how F5's security products can strengthen your organization's application security posture and provide protection against attacks and vulnerabilities. There is currently a working demo to experience functionality of an integrated F5's SSL Orchestrator with Palo Alto Next-Generation Firewalls and Cisco FirePOWER. Having this type of hands-on product evaluation cuts technology evaluation time from months to weeks, if not days, and ensures you are selecting the best products and solutions. 

For example, here is a case study about a global banking organization that conducted proof of concept testing in WWT's ATC and was able to quickly validate the ultra-low latency capabilities of the F5 load balancing solution. This resulted in accelerated time to market for implementing the bank's network load balancing solution and ensured it wouldn't impact the necessary speed of transactions. 

Visit the F5 and WWT partnership page to learn more and get in touch.

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