Technology is critical to success, but using it in regulated environments needs special considerations
Are you ready for the biggest night of the IT industry calendar? The UK IT Industry Awards return to their traditional home at Battersea Events Arena this November, and we've been speaking to finalists to hear which of their achievements qualified them for the exclusive event. Henry Duncombe, managing director of managed service provider Lanware, says it's all about bringing together technology and industry knowledge.
Computing: What is Lanware all about?
Henry Duncombe: Lanware is a specialist managed service provider to the mid-market financial services sector. Founded in 1993, Lanware has grown to act as a partner to many UK financial services businesses, including fund managers with more than £150 billion of assets under management. As a privately owned business with high level of staff ownership, it employs around 50 staff and is headquartered in the heart of the City of London.
Lanware's financial services sector clients range from a growing number of independent asset managers and hedge funds through to insurance companies and payment providers.
CTG: What makes you different?
HD: Financial services is a highly information-intensive industry, and subject to tight regulations. Technology is critical to mid-market firms, and they need leading solutions delivered to the highest standards. However, being mid-size businesses, it is expensive and risky to do it all themselves and distracts them from their core business.
By partnering with Lanware, our clients benefit from industry experience and being part of a close-knit community of organisations with similar needs, cultures, and objectives. This is something which they could not get with a generalist managed service provider.
Lanware‘s unique proposition is its flagship service, 'Finance Forward 365'. With financial services still playing catch up in terms of public cloud adoption, mainly due to historical security and compliance concerns, Finance Forward 365 provides fully managed end user support, modern workplace technology, unified communications, public cloud infrastructure, cyber security and business intelligence all tailored to the strict compliance need of a financial firm. It is built almost exclusively using Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure products
CTG: What's your proudest company achievement of the last 12 months?
HD: As a specialist vendor, Lanware has demonstrated how you can on-board new clients despite the pandemic and achieve high levels of client satisfaction. Our client Skytra, who launched an innovative financial services start-up right at the start of the pandemic with the support of their parent company Airbus, over-came numerous challenges to establish their business with the help of Lanware.
As a start-up with ambitious timescales, Skytra needed an IT partner that was agile, experienced and responsive to support its day one requirements, whilst ensuring the highest levels of security to meet stringent regulatory requirements. Lanware supported Skytra in launching its business by enabling a new green-field technology platform, setting up new UK offices, transferring data from Airbus, putting in place connectivity to trading venues and tactically supporting a small number of founding users as well as putting in place for full solution for the rest of the future business.
CTG: What are you working on this year?
HD: At the heart of Lanware's innovation agenda is Finance Forward 365, an end-to-end solution that provides the latest Microsoft 365 & Azure cloud technology combined with a white glove service and meets the strict security and compliance needs of a financial firm. We are in the process of expanding several innovative new products including:
- Finance Forward 365 - Compliant Teams
Lanware used an innovative and collaboration approach to bring 'Compliant Teams' to market. The growth of Microsoft Teams as a unified communication platform over the last two years has been phenomenal, but up until early 2021 it could not be used for financial service firms who have to comply with tight regulation around call recording (e.g. MiFid II).
In partnership with other vendors such as Verint, Lanware Compliant Teams enables financial firms to adopt Microsoft Teams it as a single platform for all their communication needs and still meet their compliance requirements.
- Finance Forward 365 - Azure Virtual Desktop
The Azure Virtual Desktop has proven its power and flexibility in the pandemic by enabling businesses to deliver virtual desktops to their users, connecting from any device and avoiding costly and slow roll-out of physical corporate laptops. With more financial clients running their applications and data in Microsoft Azure, this solution enables them to also host their desktop too and deliver on-demand to users in any location.
- Finance Forward 365 - Power BI
Finance Forward 365 Power BI is a fully managed business intelligence platform powered by Microsoft Power BI and designed specifically for financial services organisations. It provides a modern, scalable platform for visualising business data and is built for self-service. It connects multiple data sources together and provides web-based applications for modelling and visualising data.
CTG: Why are events like the UK IT Industry Awards important to the IT industry?
HD: The UK IT Industry Awards is a unique opportunity to showcase and recognise excellence in the IT industry. It does this by bringing technology innovations to the forefront and by demonstrating how it's being used within businesses to shape future success and create new opportunities.
The event also provides key opportunities to connect with similar IT professionals and to develop an important peer network.