We caught up with Don Brook, AxiomSL’s new Global Cloud Strategic Advisor, to learn more about his background, why he joined AxiomSL, and the key trends and issues he’s keeping an eye on in the industry. This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
AxiomSL: Tell us a little bit about you and your experience?
Don: Over the course of my career, I’ve held a number of roles managing financial infrastructure and operations for companies like Radianz, BT, NYFIX, NYSE, Euronext and Liffe. Most recently, I spent four years at Thomson Reuters in London where, as Global Head of Customer Implementation, I was responsible for delivery, implementation and service for the company’s financial and risk products including cloud deployments, both private and public. I’m delighted to be able to leverage the experience I’ve gained over my three decades in the industry to help and advise the AxiomSL team.
AxiomSL: Given your excellent track record, I’m sure you must be fielding offers left and right to take on board and advisory roles. What drew you to AxiomSL specifically?
Don: When you’ve been in the industry for as long as I have, you become quite familiar with the products and companies in the space. AxiomSL has always stood out for their cutting-edge technology, stellar reputation and keen understanding of the nuances of regulatory and risk requirements in more than 50 jurisdictions across the world.
As a result, I was drawn by AxiomSL’s standing within the industry, and the company’s potential for further growth as financial firms pivot more and more towards the cloud. When my longtime friend and former colleague (AxiomSL APAC CEO) Peter Tierney reached out to me about joining the team, I was immediately interested in learning more about his ideas and the opportunity to contribute to AxiomSL’s growth. I’m honored to be able to share my expertise with a company like AxiomSL, and their outstanding team and technology.
AxiomSL: Looking ahead, what are the key challenges you see in terms of financial institutions adopting the cloud?
Don: Financial institutions face a few critical issues with regards to cloud adoption. One major barrier is the learning curve—most of the leaders and executives, the big decision makers at these organizations, come from a traditional finance background. While they might use technology in some aspect of their work, they often lack familiarity beyond a surface-level understanding, leading to concerns around the safety and security of the cloud.
Some are also put off by the challenges inherent in ensuring that their use of cloud technology is in accordance with various regulatory bodies and requirements. Financial institutions are looking for confidence in the cloud providers they choose to work with—they want to be certain that by using an external provider, they aren’t sacrificing any of the control and quality they would expect when they manage the entire process internally.
The financial industry has always been slow-moving and extremely cautious. In the early 2000s, as technology was beginning to become more and more popular with banks and other financial institutions, many believed they could handle implementation and maintenance themselves. What we’re seeing now, on even the highest level with Tier-1 banks, for example, is a recognition that they cannot accomplish everything themselves—instead, they need to turn to experts like AxiomSL who’ve already developed the infrastructures and technologies to manage their reporting requirements. Educating these key stakeholders is integral to fostering cloud adoption.
AxiomSL: What unique benefits do you think cloud adoption has to offer financial institutions in particular?
Don: Generally speaking, companies do not want to own and operate infrastructure and software themselves – they would far rather purchase a “service” from a recognized and established provider. However, they will insist on the highest levels of service that go along with the product to match their own high standards. So, AxiomSL needs to be more than an expert in regulatory and reporting – they now need to be expert in service delivery and operation and everything that surrounds their product.
Another area where cloud adoption is particularly beneficial for financial institutions is data mobility. Brexit, for example, is currently a major issue in Europe. Companies are looking to move their headquarters from London to Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, and so on, and for those with data servers, it’s much simpler to shift if they are on the cloud and can move their data from one cloud to another. More and more, we are seeing people recognize the massive opportunity that cloud adoption presents: when there’s a sea change in the market and economy like Brexit, the degree of flexibility enabled by the cloud enhances the level of service that the base-level product can provide to an institution.
Given the rate of change in regulatory demand and reporting, AxiomSL also makes it easier for companies that adopt the cloud to manage the different rules around data in different geographies—such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation—because AxiomSL is focused on staying up to date on those regulations and ensuring their clients are able to meet those rules.
As the global economy grows more and more interconnected, and financial institutions spread to further jurisdictions, cloud adoption will become increasingly significant as a means of staying competitive and mitigating risk.