In an era where digital transformation is not just a buzzword but a necessity, Lakeside Software emerges as a beacon of innovation in the IT landscape, particularly for financial institutions. Specializing in providing unprecedented visibility across complex IT environments, Lakeside Software stands out with its unique approach to uncovering hidden inefficiencies and optimizing operations. Their SysTrack platform exemplifies this by offering deep insights collected from thousands of endpoints, proving invaluable for proactive IT management. Fintech Review asked a few questions to Geoff Hixon, VP solutions architect at Lakeside Software to explore the realms of IT visibility, its critical role in financial services, and the transformative potential of AI and ML in fintech.
Tell us more about Lakeside Software. What is your elevator pitch?
Lakeside Software helps organisations with large, complex IT environments finally get visibility across their entire digital estate and see how to do more with less. For far too long, IT teams have struggled to see what’s going on in their dark estate – where costly inefficiencies, poor employee experiences, and unresolved problems hide. Only Lakeside lets you give everyone a better view so they can see the hidden issues, see the smartest fixes, and see the biggest savings. That’s why many of the world’s leading global brands rely on Lakeside. And it’s how our customers see an average ROI of more than 250%.
Our SysTrack platform uncovers IT inefficiencies by collecting data from more than 10,000 endpoints every 15 seconds, offering an unmatched depth of insight for IT teams to become much more proactive instead of constantly putting out fires. This capability is invaluable as financial institutions, including clients in banking, financial services, and insurance, seek to proactively manage IT resources and do more with less.
Why is IT visibility so vital for financial institutions?
Many banks and financial service companies today are fine tuning their digital strategies to stay relevant and competitive. One study by Kyndryl found that 70% of financial service executives are shifting to digital. You need complete visibility across the IT estate to make these transformations more effective, proactive, and cost-efficient — with minimal impact on the digital employee experience or the customer experience.
Before embarking on any digital transformation initiative, financial service providers must gain insight into their “dark estate,” which refers to areas of the IT estate where expensive inefficiencies and poor end-user experiences are hidden by typical IT blind spots. By gaining complete visibility of the IT estate, IT teams can provide more proactive IT support, manage costs better, and improve the digital employee experience, ultimately benefiting customers.
What can the financial sector look to gain from more IT visibility?
Drawing from my diverse experience in IT — from being in the trenches of system administration to my current role at Lakeside Software as head of solutions engineers — I’ve seen firsthand what enhanced IT visibility in the financial sector can do. This visibility can be a game-changer in key critical areas: proactive IT management, hardware optimization, root cause analysis, and software rationalisation.
Firstly, proactive IT is pivotal. It’s about nipping issues in the bud before they escalate, ensuring smooth operations and safeguarding against wasted resources. Take an example from a bank we worked with: by proactively addressing IT issues, they managed to uncover saving opportunities of about $300,000 annually. It’s all about efficient resource management and better decision-making.
Then there’s hardware optimization. Many organisations typically refresh devices every three years or so — without even considering whether a device is still performing well. Updating or replacing hardware too frequently can add unnecessary expenses if the devices still have strong life left in them. IT can leverage endpoint data to conduct audits, prolonging the hardware usage or re-allocating hardware based on employee roles. Greater visibility of the IT estate enabled one New York City-based bank to discover that of a planned 7,000 laptops per year refresh cycle, only 600 actually needed replacing. Removing the guesswork from hardware purchases can save companies from costly errors because even a $30 item mistake can add up to thousands when sizing out hardware at scale.
Software rationalization is beneficial, too, as companies are trying to tighten up expenses. Enhanced IT visibility allows for strategic audits that can uncover unused licenses, the price tag of which can add up fast. For example, we helped one bank determine that 1,200 of 1,800 licenses were not being used, resulting in 62K in potential savings I’ve seen other saving opportunities of more than $4 million uncovered across an enterprise firm’s digital estate. What’s more, maintaining multiple versions of software also adds to support costs and can contribute to potential security risks for unpatched software.
What are your predictions for transformation in financial services in the years to come?
In the years ahead, financial services will transform through increased digitisation and the strategic use of artificial intelligence (AI). This shift will prioritise IT visibility and efficiency, both of which are essential in a rapidly evolving market. Traditional approaches, like fixed hardware update cycles, will be replaced by dynamic, data-driven methods.
AI will be central to this transformation, streamlining operations and enhancing digital experiences for employees and customers. Financial institutions will leverage AI for more personalised IT support and services, guided by in-depth analysis of user behaviours and technology performance. Additionally, the value of data will intensify, with a focus on harnessing complex data to refine AI models, ensuring better functionality and efficiency.
This upcoming era for financial services will be marked by a proactive, data-driven approach, combining innovation in AI with insightful data utilisation. This will lead to more efficient operations, improved customer service, and a stronger competitive edge in the financial sector.
Any other innovations in fintech elsewhere that you are really excited about?
I’m particularly excited about the advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These technologies are not just revolutionising IT management; they’re significantly enhancing the experiences of both employees and customers within financial institutions. AI’s role in automating the detection, prioritisation, and even the prediction of IT issues is a game-changer, reducing downtime and safeguarding against financial losses. Strong gen-AI models, however, depend on clean and robust data to finetune them for relevant use cases. From the perspective of IT support, generative AI also can help fill gaps in IT skills essentially by helping level one and level two IT support agents manage tickets more quickly.
This technological leap in fintech is fostering a transition towards comprehensive visibility of IT. Financial institutions are moving away from traditional, rigid hardware cycles to a more fluid, data-driven approach. This shift is optimising resources and boosting cost efficiency. The custom tailoring of IT solutions to cater to various user groups is significantly improving the digital employee experience at large.
AI and ML’s integration into fintech is leading to a new era marked by proactive strategies, operational efficiency, and a strong focus on customer engagement. It’s a transformation that’s redefining how financial services firms operate, with a clear emphasis on efficiency and enhanced customer service.