Interop 2020, the first fully virtual Interop in history, went off with a bang. Excellent Keynotes by Alysa Taylor of Microsoft and Greg Lavender of VMWare, along with an earlier Fireside Chat with Rob Carter of FedEx, punctuated a dynamic calendar of sessions on a variety of topics intimate to IT and its futures.
One of the most exciting elements of the show this year was the focus on Fintech and Finance in general. I was lucky to be a part of that. An avid Fintech watcher, I gained a lot from Interop 2020 and I hope the community did as well.
Fintech, a portmanteau consisting of “Finance” and “Technology”, is a burgeoning area, as evidenced by the billions of venture capital dollars streaming in, media coverage, and the effect it is having on consumer financial behavior and in the business-to-business environment.
In the Cloud-Native Fintech discussion, I was joined by Danielle Funston of Sentinel Compliance, Dharmesh Godha of Advaiya, Pulak Sinha of Pepper, and Khadija Mustafa of Microsoft. Each of these leaders had a different take on the sector but they all agreed in the power of the Cloud. “The train has left the station,” opined Mustafa.
As for the implications for IT, both Godha and Funston suggested that IT has to be retooled in an environment of “constant learning.” Sinha suggested that cloud-native Fintech has enabled -- speedily and at scale -- scenarios and solutions that were never thought possible before. Each speaker highlighted the ongoing tension between “traditional” financial services and the new-breed of agile cloud-native players; there was collective agreement that acquisitions will help traditional players gain new technologies, processes, and people.
In the New World of Payments discussion, I was joined by Syed Hussain of Liquidity Digital, Sarah Wheeler of HousingWire, and John Thomas of Zact. Their consensus was that PaymentTech is one of the most dynamic areas of Fintech and that, further, the new wave of payments companies will quickly supplant traditional ways finance, accounting, and even individual finance behavior.
Hussain suggested that normal modes of “understanding value” are no longer seen as complete while Thomas inveighed against the silos that still exist between seemingly connected activities like expenses, corporate spend, and account reconciliation with banking statements. Wheeler suggested that many point-solutions are in fact powerful, but all agreed that platforms in Fintech and PaymentTech offer the most flexibility for enabling new scenarios.
Couched in the larger discussions around innovation at Interop, the Fintech panels opened a new world of discussions in the world of business and technology.