How can companies take advantage of innovation in fintech if they do not have the skills in-house or tools to exploit the latest such resources? They might tap into third-party solutions providers such as Prophix or look to education providers such as Skillsoft to tighten up those gaps. There is a growing expectation among organizations to process and leverage their financial data and operations, which might require seeking out additional expertise or technology.
Scoular, for example, turned to third-party solutions to address its needs in this area. Andrew Kenny, CFO at Scoular, says his 130-year-old company is going through a growth phase that includes international growth and makes use of Prophix to address its need for a corporate performance management tool. “As we were entering a growth environment, and we needed people to be able to see the right level of information and insights for their business,” he says. “We needed a more efficient way than Excel spreadsheets to plan for our future.”
Scoular, which generated $6 billion in its last fiscal year, is a provider of agricultural supply chain solutions. Prophix is a provider of cloud-based solutions for budgeting and financial planning, workflow automation, and virtual financial analysis.
Kenny says Scoular uses Prophix for analysis of its results, actuals, budgeting, and five-year, long-term financial planning. At the time Kenny joined Scoular, the company had about five financial planning and analysis leaders on a team, he says, organized across different divisions. As a new team to the organization with diverse skillsets, there were certain places in financial planning and analysis that still needed addressing, Kenny says. “We needed speed,” he says. “We needed something that we could get stood up fairly quickly.”
The talent needs of fintech are driving demand for professionals, either new hires or upskilled, with expertise in such areas as agile, security for cloud and data, and data skills, says Mike Hendrickson, vice president of tech and dev products with Skillsoft.
Cloud Expertise Needed
The current technology landscape is also pushing a need for expertise in cloud, he says, which is also converging with infrastructure. “Within the next five years, we’re not going to have cloud and infrastructure,” Hendrickson says. “It’s just going to be cloud infrastructure. It’s going to be one thing and then security will wrap its way around that as well.”
There have been some curious programming language trends in fintech, he says, with a resurgence for Java even though Python has been more top of mind among many developers. “[Java] is really what has built a lot of enterprise applications,” Hendrickson says. “Even if you think you want to do Python in your organization, you’re likely going to need to understand Java because that’s the code base that you’ve probably implemented so far.” He says knowing both programming languages rather than one will be necessary for the near future.
Skills related to blockchain have surprisingly not broken the top 10, in-demand skills for fintech, Hendrickson says. “It still hasn’t found its solution that it really targets well.” Meanwhile, software project management and product management remain in high demand in tech and development, he says.
Security essentials, which can include the finance group, programmers, or infrastructure personnel learning security, is a skillset being consumed the most by Skillsoft’s ranking. “It’s broadening its appeal throughout the organization,” Hendrickson says. “That is a strong indication that fintech as an organization -- each organization is taking security a lot more seriously -- because if we saw more advanced level security content, we’d know it’s the security professional. “
Fintech, like other industries, may have to cope with shortages in expertise, at least in the interim, making training new or existing employees all the more important, Hendrickson says. “There isn’t enough talent.”