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June 15, 2017updated 16 Jun 2017 5:44pm

Finastra, IBM to drive digital banking with cloud, Watson and blockchain

Big Blue joins forces with the third biggest fintech firm in the world.

By Ellie Burns

Just a day after its market debut, new fintech firm Finastra has signed a deal with IBM to explore how banking can be transformed with cloud and cognitive technologies.

The two companies plan to bring IBM cloud and cognitive tech into the Finastra open architecture in order to enrich the digital retail banking experience and bring new innovations to market.

As part of the tie-up, the fintech firm’s FusionBanking Essence core and digital solution will run on IBM Cloud, with the two companies also set to collaborate on both a Financial Crime and a Blockchain-based offering.

IBM also plans to support Finastra as it develops retail banking proof of concepts and product demos, including provisioning multiple Watson APIs to infuse cognitive capabilities into its products.

READ MORE: Finastra: Misys, D+H merger creates one of the world’s largest fintech companies

“Our collaboration with Finastra brings together two long-standing industry leaders with a combined 80 years of experience in financial services, said David Wilson, Vice President, IBM Cloud Business Partners.

“We envision using our combined strengths to impact more organizations, from the largest banks to the newest crowdsourcing lender, to help them harness the disruptive power of cloud, cognitive and data.”

The deal will also see the two companies come together to share thought leadership, developer and architecture resources around IBM Cloud, Watson and Blockchain technologies. The focus here will be to to create innovations that result in joint revenues through large scale transformational client engagements.

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The deal with IBM comes a mere day after Finastra burst onto the fintech scene, having been created from the merger of Misys and D+H. Billed as the third largest fintech company in the world, the private company is owned by Vista Equity Partners and led by ex-Misys CEO Nadeem Syed. Speaking of the deal with Big Blue, Mr Syed said:

“More than a simple sales agreement, this pairing brings a new dimension to our relationship with IBM and creates an opportunity to build a platform for the banks of today and tomorrow.”

“Our open architecture and open approach enables us to embrace a wide ecosystem of partners, and as we enter a new era of banking where collaboration is a must, our relationship with a dominant player like IBM can extend our product offering and enable clients to access enhanced transformation capabilities.”

When the new fintech firm launched, Mr Syed made it clear that he envisioned a company built for the customer and focused on delivering “innovative aqnd transformational products.” The collaboration with IBM is a great step towards achieving that vision, with Big Blue clearly trying to stamp its authority on the financial services market. Only recently, the newly formed Watson Financial Services division released its first suite of services covering regulatory requirements, financial crime insights, and financial risk modelling.

READ MORE: Banks can now tap IBM Watson to fight financial crime

Bridget van Kralingen, SVP of IBM Industry Platforms said: “Two generations ago, IBM brought the first computers to the financial services sector, allowing banks and other institutions to foster greater trust in the market by operating more efficiently and accurately”.

“To foster trust today, financial institutions must analyze an industry’s worth of information to monitor risk and compliance. No individual – or team of them – can adequately do this alone, and so once again, IBM is bringing a new type of computing – cognitive computing – to help these professionals operate more effectively.”

IBM may have brought the first computers to financial services, but its clear that they want to be the first to transform the industry yet again with cognitive systems and cloud. Partnerships with major fintech players like Finastra will play a big part in fueling adoption in the market – Finastra, for example, counts 48 of the top 50 global banks among its customers, a major coup for IBM as it looks to make its cognitive systems and technologies the new transfromational tech of financial services.

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