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InSync NY Recap Blog

Over 130 members of the Financial Services community joined Synechron on Wednesday, April 2018 at the iconic Yale Club for InSync New York. This biannual event gathers Synechron and our clients for an evening of dinner, drinks, and spirited discourse on industry innovation. The theme for this installment of InSync was Digital Transformation and progressing innovation from POC to enterprise transformation.

The evening began with a welcome speech from Synechron’s Co-founder & CEO, Faisal Husain. Following a brief corporate update, Faisal spoke of Synechron’s dedication to developing practical innovation and taking an applied approach to digital transformation rather than a theoretical approach. Once concluded, Faisal introduced the event’s first keynote speaker, Shawn Melamed, Managing Director of Technology Business Development and Innovation at Morgan Stanley.

The unprecedented rate of digital disruption, technology adoption, and investment in emerging financial services technologies has inspired Morgan Stanley to institute a company-wide program to foster innovation led by Shawn. So, based on this experience, what did Shawn have to say about enterprise digital transformation? “It’s hard.” Shawn noted that the financial industry has an uphill cultural battle to enable innovation and transformation. He expressed the need to buck Wall St. norms and celebrate the results of innovative proposals, whether a success or failure, as the lessons learned only will advance future innovations and encourage creative solutioning. Following his presentation, Shawn took questions from the audience regarding best practices for establishing an innovation-forward corporate culture.

Delivering a second keynote speech was Sandy Kaul, Managing Director and Global Head of Advisory Services for Citi. Presenting findings from Citi’s annual industry evolution survey, Sandy shared insights into the current state of data within the industry, and what the future may hold. Three technologies were identified as building blocks for the future of the industry: Big Data Technology to process and extract meaning from unstructured sources, AI Toolkits to identify patterns in ways humans are unable to, and Blockchain/Smart Contracts to revolutionize the way contracts are executed across numerous actions, parties, and exchanges.

The final presentation of the evening was a panel discussion of the current state of Digital Innovation and Enterprise Scaling. The panel was moderated by Synechron’s Senior Director of Business Consulting, Chris Ekonomidis, who was joined by Chris Kovel, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, John Edge, Chairman of ID2020, Rebecca Ye, Co-Founder of Xcalar, and Ravnit Kohli, Senior Director at Synechron.

A few key notes from the expert panel:

  • With the increased push towards individual data privatization, firms will need to solve the problem of high-frequency multi-party computation, allowing numerous parties to have different access rights to the same data pools.
  • Ironically, regulations in many ways have enhanced innovation. Regulations require firms to log more and cleaner data, which have created valuable data assets for Machine Learning initiatives.
  • Technology has created a capable and affordable Big Data storage infrastructure, but extracting transparent and timely insights remain a significant challenge. We have the body of a powerful data solution, but we are still figuring out how to build the brain.
  • Organizations need to embrace digital from the top. Without a structured digital roadmap, advances made in siloed groups won’t be transformative.

As the presentations came to an end, guests were ushered to the ballroom for demos, dinner, and cocktails. By the evening’s end, we were all left with thoughts on what the future has in store the financial services industry, and what we can do today to foster the innovation that will bring us there.

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