Risk and financial modelling, anti-money laundering (AML), and stress tests all require a massive amount of computing power. Gareth Williams, CEO of YellowDog discusses how they harness the power of ‘The Pack’ (available and underutilised computers in the cloud) in order to unleash unlimited computing power to allow their clients to improve operational efficiency, reduce risk and save money.
You can learn more about YellowDog on the ‘FinTech Stories’ stage at FinTECHTalents this October. But be warned, if the DJ starts playing anything by Queen, you may have to join Gareth on the dancefloor.
The FCA issued some clear guidance to Financial Services firms when outsourcing to the cloud. Do you think that there is still a way to go in terms of educating the industry about leveraging cloud-based services?
I think that the industry is naturally cautious about using shared environments for data and processes that are so commercially sensitive.
There is already adoption of back-office Cloud services, including CRM and HR systems, but other applications will take more time and, ultimately come down to the business case: does the benefit of using the cloud outweigh the costs and risks of moving the application to the cloud? Most Financial Services businesses we are talking to now have a plan to move the Cloud but the timescales vary vastly. We are supporting those in their Cloud infancy and also those who have well on their way to being a Cloud-first organisation.
What are the technologies that you see as real game changers over the next few years?
There’s a number of technologies that are getting a lot of attention at the moment including blockchain, IoT and AI.
I think the biggest impact will come from the continued adoption of consumer tech in businesses. Think about how Dropbox, Whatsapp, Gmail have impacted your experience and expectations of tech at work. I think there will be a continued blurring of the lines between what’s meant for ‘work’ and ‘home’ use.
Looking further into the future, the biggest disruption I can see will come from quantum computing. Realistically, if we can produce a quantum computer that works for general applications, it’s hard to imagine what the impact would be as it would be so fundamental. For instance, all secure communication will no longer be secure…
Tell us a bit about YellowDog and how you are supporting innovation in Financial Services?
YellowDog is building a world where people do more, create more, innovate more; unleashed from their limited computing power.
We can do this in two ways, firstly by securely harnessing the existing underutilised computer power within an organisation and then using it to accelerate big batch computing processes. Secondly if that computing power isn’t enough, we can then securely burst those workloads out to a public or private cloud, this process is in total control of the user.
The sorts of applications that companies use YellowDog to speed up include Risk and Financial Modelling, Anti-Money Laundering, Stress Tests… anything really that requires a lot of compute and often runs slowly or the business would value having more up to date information readily available.
We’re finding that accelerating these processes is helping to improve operational efficiency, reduce risk and save money.
Keen to hear about the YellowDog ‘Pack’ and how one becomes a part of it.
The Pack is the name we give to those computers that are made available to YellowDog.
Today, the Pack is made up of computers in the cloud (whether that’s a private Cloud for an organisation’s sole use, or one of a number of public Clouds including Oracle, AWS, OVH and Rackspace); and also any underutilised computers that are within that organisation’s IT environment that they wish to make available to YellowDog.
What is unique about the ways in which you harness the power of the cloud?
There are a few things that makes YellowDog different:
Firstly, we already connect to multiple public Cloud providers enabling our customers to use the right public cloud for their workload. “Right” is determined by a set of business rules that could include regulatory, cost, performance, availability, latency and location for data sovereignty.
Secondly, our Platform takes away the hassle of using multiple public Cloud providers for workloads. We’ve invested in making it super-easy and intuitive – once the YellowDog Platform is configured, it’s as easy as clicking a mouse button.
Thirdly, we’ve built intelligence into YellowDog that helps you understand how long a process is likely to take, and if more compute is needed it can be sourced using the logic defined within the business rules. This is true whether you’re using the Cloud or a business’s own underutilised computers.
Finally, our Platform automatically monitors processes and the compute being used, if any problems happen with the available compute, our Platfrom does its best to fix it as it’s naturally self-healing!
Thinking about FinTECHtalents; you’ve just completed a successful demo and you’re speaking to a potential client and then the music starts…what kind of music would make you run off to the stage for a listen?
I’d never run off from a potential client but if I had to, then anything by Queen and I’m quite enjoying Young Fathers at the moment.