Mobility and virtualization will drive businesses of the future

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 11, 2013

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Financial Technologies India is part of the Financial Technologies Group that operates nine exchanges across the world. Neehar Pathare, VP- IT, Financial Technologies (India), has a decisive role to play in the organization. “The job is a mix of both technology and business. On one hand, I manage the technology that keeps the business running, where the focus is on efficiencies. On the other hand, I have to dedicate considerable time in collaborating with our global counterparts to drive the business,” he says. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Pathare discusses how the company leverages IT effectively to maximize the performance of the trading platforms. Excerpt.

What are the key challenges you face while catering to your clients in the exchange and trading segment? How does IT help you streamline your activities?

The key challenge in this sector is coping with the constant change in the financial market. This includes technology changes, regulatory pressures and entry of newer players that provide both opportunity and threat. We are in a market which cannot tolerate delays. In this market, real time is critical, as transactions can happen in milliseconds. Fundamental to this is to have technology platforms and systems to ensure agility, flexibility and scalability. As the technology partner, we constantly work towards reducing trading time or the latency which is not only about speed, but also efficient risk control. Over the past few years, we have toyed with a number of technologies such as cloud, mobility, analytics and virtualization so as to offer a real-time view of the business process. We are making significant investment in our IT infrastructures, from increasing data centre automation to enhancing our data storage capabilities. The deployment of virtualization, in particular has given us an edge over competition.

Can you explain a little more about the virtualization initiative and how it benefited the company?

The virtualization initiative began in 2009. With VMWare as our partner, the virtualization project that we undertook brought down the number of physical servers from 78 to 2. Now we run 40 virtual machines on two physical servers each. We are also able to save Rs 2 Crore in three years with the help of this deployment. By adding thin provisioning and data de-duplication into the virtualization platform, we saved almost 2-Terabyte worth of storage.

Can you give us an example how technology has helped the company solve small yet significant challenges in your day-to-day operations?

There are many so let me share one instance right away, when the desktop of a senior technology head crashed in the organization. While the person was waiting for a replacement, we connected the Blackberry Z10 to his 24-inch monitor to continue with his work with the Z10 as a desktop. What he needed was a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. In no time he had the accessories connected via Bluetooth and the integration was seamless. All his mails, apps, videos and music were in front of him on a large screen. The BBM Video chat was like telepresence on his monitor. We were amazed at the level of integration provided by the Blackberry Z10 without the need for any customized accessories.

What technology have you recently deployed and what kind of benefit do you expect from the project?

We have recently deployed BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) that enables the users to alternately call through the office PBX using their BlackBerry devices. We deployed this technology because we realized that mobility is essential when directors and senior officials are travelling overseas. Typically, telephone-related bills are expensive due to a huge number of conference calls, international roaming charges, as well as charges incurred in data consumption. This means that the new MVS server connects device to the PBX to make or receive all calls through the office PBX instead of cellular roaming network. We have observed several benefits of this deployment. The MVS has helped us link up to a Wi-Fi network and have a local PBX extension on our BlackBerry device. As a result, we have got about 50-60% savings on roaming costs, which was a huge amount.

What will be your key IT focus in the coming months?

Mobility and virtualization will drive businesses of the future. We have already introduced bring your own device (BYOD) in the organization that gives us a lot of benefits in terms of productivity and flexibility. We are going to further evaluate the process for greater efficiency and cost saving. We are also exploring predictive and advanced analytics for real time business decisions. Besides, we have plans to come up with customized web based platforms to deliver greater business value to our clients.