IPC CEO Bob Santella shares his insight on the value of partnerships in the age of digital transformation.
First Published: ChiefExecutive.net/Byline/December, 2019
Virtually every company in the financial industry is interested in digital transformation, the integration of digital technologies into all business areas in order to fundamentally improve and create new value for customers. Many pundits and trend watchers have labeled this movement a new Industrial Revolution of sorts wrought by a connected, smart world. A recent IDC study estimates that spending on the technologies and services that enable digital transformation will reach $2.3 trillion globally by 2023, more than half of all information and communications technology spending worldwide.
In the global financial markets, digital transformation is perhaps an even greater priority than for other sectors. Because of the highly regulated nature of the financial markets, for many decades, the industry was often sheltered from the tilting balance of power toward the consumer. Bringing the financial industry’s business processes into the 21st century is a complex task, but one that is absolutely worth the commitment.
IPC, a financial technology provider founded nearly 50 years ago, is well aware of the benefits and pitfalls of large-scale transformation, as it has successfully reinvented itself several times in its storied history. But when I joined in 2018, IPC was once again facing a market completely upended by new technologies, which ranged from blockchain to machine learning. How could we continue to innovate amid a market that sometimes feels like it had metamorphosed overnight?
We were also well aware of the common reasons given when large transformation projects struggle to meet deadlines—they’re usually ascribed to breakdowns in communications or measurement. Those are for sure important points, but many roadblocks on the path to digital transformation could be solved by simply asking for help. I’ve heard the distrust of outside solutions called the “Not Built Here Syndrome,” and it has been blamed for a range of corporate crises.
I’m proud to say that over the last few years, IPC has greatly strengthened its position and digitally transformed through a wide array of partnerships, both future-oriented and also addressing present needs. For example, I recently rang the closing bell at NASDAQ alongside Cloud9 CEO Jerry Starr in celebration of our joint collaboration on an advanced, open voice trading solution that unites Cloud9’s C9 Trader voice communications and analytics platform, IPC’s Unigy trading communications platform and the Connexus Cloud financial ecosystem.
IPC also invested in GreenKey Technologies, creator of natural language processing (NLP) workflows for the financial markets, earlier this year. NLP is a cutting-edge technology enabled by improvements in machine learning, and an area of immense growth as well as interest to IPC’s customers. For example, through this partnership, we recently designed ‘Blotter,’ a pioneering data visualization tool that enables financial market participants to convert their OTC voice quotes into a structured data feed.
We’ve been working with GreenKey for nearly two years after we identified them as first-movers in NLP, growing our initial partnership into a strategic investment, through which I also joined the GreenKey board of directors.
By collaborating with partners like Cloud9, GreenKey and others, IPC is penetrating new markets, creating more distribution channels, customizing solutions for clients and providing an integrated cloud-enabled communications platform for the markets. The same is true of digital transformation overall. Our customers are looking to reap the benefits of a connected, smart world, and that applies not just to our devices, but to our business leaders as well.