Podcast Ep1: Evolving Technologies
Evolving Technology Podcast featuring Rasheed Khan & Rich Kent
The TAINA Approach to Evolving Technology
Technology is continuously evolving especially in the competitive space of FinTech and RegTech. This rapid evolution of technology was only magnified by the past 2 years when there was a shift to digitalisation and business transformation due to the pandemic and remote working circumstances caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. In this week's episode we explore the evolution and adoption of new technologies and staying ahead of the technology curve.
Evolving Technology Key Takeaways:
How is TAINA constantly evolving to use new technology?
The adoption rate of new technologies.
What new technology is TAINA currently using in their solution? And why are we using it?
The concern of data security around cloud platforms.
How does TAINA stay ahead of the curve and others in the FinTech and Regtech sectors?
What is TAINA's approach to socializing technology updates with customers?
Rasheed Khan, Managing Director of TAINA North America
Rich Kent, Chief Technology Officer of TAINA
Hello, welcome everybody to our podcast. This will be the first podcast of the year and called TAINA Shorts. It will be segments where we introduce topics and have short 20 to 30 minutes segments to talk about specific issues or topics covering various subjects around the tax technology and regulatory landscape within the financial services industry.
Today. I'm joined by Richard Kent. Rich is actually the CTO for TAINA Technology, and he's going to actually provide us with some information and a lot of knowledge around the approach that TAINA takes when it's looking at its technology and how it is constantly evolving.
Rich, thank you for joining us.
Thanks for Rasheed. Thanks for having me.
So you know what we think about technology and we think about from a TAINA perspective, financial technology and regulatory technology. You know, how does? How is TAINA constantly evolving to use new technologies in its solution and how it looks at deploying those solutions?
Well, I guess there's four main reasons why TAINA embraces new technology. I think the first one is a more general point and that's that I genuinely believe it's important for smaller companies to drive the pace of innovation for larger companies, for the industry in general. If you look at and say some of the accelerator programs, there are thousands of startups in London alone. Same in New York. Same in Chicago.
These companies have some radical ideas and are really driving the forefront of technology. And what we see is there's a lot of conversation started between TAINA and the innovation departments have some of the larger international organisations and that's really how some of our sales come about.
That takes me on to the second point. Technology really is one of our key sources of competitive advantage. We don't have legacy systems to hold us back. We don't have lots of technical debt built up over decades of operations.
We don't have lots of layers of management to confuse communications or hinder innovations or hold back good ideas and best practices. And new technology really is one of the key ways that smaller organizations, smaller companies can compete with those larger companies, I think.
I think the third reason I say why TAINA embraces new technology? It's problem-solving. So we use technology to solve business problems that may be classic technology may not be able to deal with. So for example, we had some customers come to us saying look we receive handwritten tax forms, what technology can you use to help us process those handwritten forms. But if you looked at classic technology, well, there isn't really an answer. So we pushed the boundaries and use artificial intelligence.
We work with a lot of their worlds, leading recognized experts in the field, industry experts and professors, and by using that brand new technology, we're able to solve some business problems, some serious business problems that the older classic technologies just can't do.
And I guess the fourth reason is that larger companies were really speeding up their rate of adoption of new technologies. And so you know, we need to keep moving at the pace at least of new technology and the large organisations. We are seeing that perceptions are changing in these large organisations.
So, the conversations we're having with these companies now compared to two years or even one year ago are radically different conversations. The technologies and the sort of perceptions that they had a year or two ago they're gone. Those previous blockers are totally gone and it's not just that these technologies are now more mainstream because it's a year or two later.
We're definitely seeing that the rate of adoption of new technologies in larger organizations, it's changing it. It kind of feels a little bit like the risk profile, the risk propensity in the larger organizations has changed a little bit. And they’re much more open to new technologies.
This is an interesting point because I know for my former life it was always, you know, they embraced new technologies, but adoption always seemed to take longer. And, you know, it sounds like what you're seeing is that that adoption rate is happening a lot quicker than in the past.
Yeah most definitely. We do see some larger organizations are setting up their own innovation labs. They're trying to embrace new technology like I still, but firmly believe they rely on the smaller companies to really drive the frontier. But we're definitely seeing larger companies try to keep up with the smaller companies.
Yep. And you know what new technology is TAINA currently using? And why are we using that technology?
Sure I can. I tell you that there are four areas there. So the first area would be APIs. So going back a year, two years when we were talking about integrations with companies large and small, we were, you know, the first conversation would be, can we get you an Excel file or a CSV file? Now everybody wants to talk APIs, everybody.
So there's a noticeable sea change in, away from feed-based integration to API integration. Not just because it's easier. So documentation developers are used to working with APIs and it's much easier to test, to automate the testing. There are a lot of tools and technologies around APIs.
But an important point here is that by using push notifications to send data back the real-time nature of the data is much better. You know, like on the onboarding journey, for example, we can keep customer records up to date in real-time rather than waiting for an end of day feed to be sent within an Excel file which may or may not be processed. So number one API.
The second biggest shift in technology is container technology for us. Again, you know, we've always wanted to adopt it, but uh, perceptions held us back a little bit because there's no point in us using the technology if our customers can't. But most definitely now everybody is open to having conversations about using container technologies.
You know it's more resilient. It's much easier to scale. And the integration times just fall through the floor. It's so much easier to integrate. We still need to go through important checks and balances and information security, of course, but container technology and integration it is just so much easier. Yeah, I could talk for hours on that subject.
I think the third area of new technology is cloud platform support. So, go back a year, two years and we're talking about how do we deploy the TAINA platform?
Most conversations were well, it will go on our premise on our physical servers and that has shifted and now it's absolutely which cloud platform will it go on? And so there’s a move away from the classic, you know, physical team to a cloud platform. But also the number of cloud platforms that we're looking to support and having to support. So, it used to be again just maybe AWS, a slightly more established cloud platform going back several years. Now the gap is definitely closing.
A lot of larger organizations are adopting Google Cloud GCP, you've got Azure, you've got Oracle cloud. You've got Ali cloud for, you know, regions such as China. So that the number of cloud platforms that people are willing to support is noticeably increasing as well as the perceptions, around the cloud.
Just really quickly on the cloud support piece. It's it sounds like more and more firms are getting comfortable with data sitting in the cloud. I know that that was always a limitation that they were always concerned about data security. Is data security still a concern here.
Oh, 100% absolutely. And data security should always be a concern. I think that there's a lot of new technologies that have evolved to help protect technology that, you know, concepts such as, you know, encryption, key management, and bring your own keys. It all goes to help sort of change perceptions around it. I think there's, you know, we've moved on now.
I think the amounts of testing that he's gone into cloud platforms has helped people shift their perceptions, and I think you know, most people can see now that the, you know, it's not the cloud platform that's insecure, it's how you use the cloud platform. So if you set it up correctly and you configure it correctly, then the cloud platform is just as secure as a physical tin server. So yes noticeable change there I think. And you know it should be important. Data security it's critical.
So the follow-up question to that is how does TAINA stay ahead of the curve? How are we staying ahead of others within the Regtech or Fintech sector?
Of course. Yeah. Absolutely. So I’m glad you asked that. So I have two points to say there. Firstly, research. The secondly is the freedom to innovate. So you know, we spent a lot of time and effort on research. We have dedicated budgets, we have time dedicated to research. We have a lot of established relationships with universities for example.
So we look to set up knowledge transfer schemes. We have commissioned universities to do bespoke research into certain areas for us. They really pushed the realms of not just sort of applied technology, but academic research and academic knowledge. So absolute focus on research, those university links. You know you need to give that a little bit of time, but some research.
To my second point of Freedom. You know we have some fantastic smart people in the company and we give our employees the freedom to innovate. And I think that is just as important as using universities, to be honest. We have a concept called playtime where we give our employees the scope, the freedom, the resource is to go explore.
The only rule that we set them is that it ultimately must be a benefit to TAINA. But we encourage people to explore, to push the boundaries of what's possible. It's not just developers, you know, we look to all regions and all skills within the company. You know what, be it marketing, researching different marketing techniques and sales testing it.
It's not just about development. It's not just about the products you know it's about the whole concept around it. We create a really safe environment where it doesn't matter if they fail. You know if they try an idea and it doesn't work then okay, move on to the next one. So it's an important concept, giving people the freedom to invent and is like a really powerful.
You know, off the back of those we've built some fantastic new products. We have a cursive handwriting recognition system off the back of some of university research. We have seen that, giving people, developers in this instance time to play has radically reduced our technical depth because they love to solve problems, they love to tidy things up and improved systems all the time. So, it's a great way also of keeping on top of technical depth.
Thinking about the evolution of the technology and rolling out that updated technology, what are some of the means that we used to socialize the changes to customers?
It's really interesting. So, we spend a lot of time just talking to customers is the first. It's the first thing is listening to their problems and trying to understand their perceptions and their risk propensity. And then we spend a lot of time trying to help educate our customers. Let's take containers for example. So, we're working closely with several customers to help them.
Because they're also on an adoption curve. So, we're slightly ahead of them on that adoption curve. So, we're desperately trying to help them at bringing these new technologies on, helping their technical teams understand some of these technologies and just spending time with them. You know holding their hand through, somethings and guiding them through others. And you know, just being a trusted advisor, really.
Sounds good. Well, I know that we want to try to keep this short and to the point. I really do appreciate your time today and being able to fill us in and give us a little bit of the behind the scenes look as to what goes into developing the technology, keeping it relevant and keeping our technologies evolving and up to date.
Welcome. Thanks, Rasheed.
Well, this ends our podcast for today. We look forward to you joining us and our future podcasts covering various subjects around the tax technology and regulatory landscape within the financial services industry.
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