The Changing Demands on a Technology Consultant in Today’s Finance Industry

By Zack Miller

Alexei Miller, Managing Director of DataArt, speaks with Tradestreaming magazine about the current market trends in the financial services and the approaches used in the classic build vs. buy dilemma in technology. Miller outlines what differentiates DataArt from other technology consultants and discusses some notable projects.

“Banks, asset managers, and brokerages typically use a unique mix of their own engineering talent with both on-shore and off-shore consultants. If there isn’t a turnkey option available, DataArt is one of those consulting businesses both large and small financial firms turn to to help develop bespoke technology solutions. The firm employs over 2000 full time engineers and typically works on around 100 projects at any given time. Its financial service business is its largest practice out of the 6 industries DataArt serves. Within finserv, the consulting firm is most active in capital markets, trading, wealth management, payments, underbanked banking solutions, and private equity.

Alexei Miller shares what he feels are the three most exciting trends his clients are facing in the market today: Pure-play disruption, Optimization and Incumbent innovation.​

DataArt is currently working on a project in the trading space which involves social media to negotiate transactions between banks and brokers. Miller is the first to admit: the intention isn’t necessarily to disrupt trading and processing flows but rather to develop a really innovative UI for the transaction process. Another current project at his firm includes a technology solution for AML that’s being developed outside of banks using high performing data analysis from Twitter streams to discover pattern recognition. If it proves successful in identifying nefarious activity, the plans are to integrate into the client’s systems.

When asked about how DataArt differentiates versus some of its competitors, Alexei Miller responded, “Competition is an exercise in picking battles. Marketing is a tough game, with a lot of empty promises. We won a large transformation deal last year and we asked our client over drinks why we won out against a major consulting firm. The executive said the decision was simple: ‘Your competitor’s final presentation was all about big data and the cool, sexy technology they’d build us to solve our problem. You [DataArt] talked about your understanding of the problem.’ Now, you can’t do that for every client but experience and expertise goes a long way.”

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