Better deals. Greater transparency. Personalised services. Open banking ecosystems offer consumers numerous benefits. By securely sharing financial data between approved institutions, companies can uncover new insights that enable them to customize applications and services to best fit their needs.
Portfolio+ is a leader in the open banking movement in Canada with advanced technology, a secure API and a proven core banking platform. As their company continues to evolve with the largest financial institutions in Canada, they must continually innovate to keep ahead of their customers expectations. “Our financial services customers are rapidly moving to a hybrid or cloud approach for their banking systems, so in response we expedited our own cloud strategy,” explains Michael Swan, VP of Research and Development at Portfolio+.
With open banking rapidly increasing in popularity, Portfolio+ needed to provide scalable, fully managed cloud services to keep up with customer demand. “We needed to modernize both our applications and infrastructure to position ourselves for future success,” adds Swan. “But we had to approach this carefully to ensure we remain secure and compliant with industry regulations.”
Portfolio+ originally planned to migrate to the cloud over three to five years, which involved gradually upskilling its teams and experimenting. But in 2019, it recognized that to stay ahead, it would need to accelerate its plans.
With a modern, cloud-based platform, we can retain our competitive advantage and reputation as a forward-thinking pioneer in open banking.
VP, Research and Development Portfolio+
Accelerating and Securing the Cloud Migration with Hitachi Vantara
To help achieve its cloud ambitions, in early 2021, Portfolio+ partnered with Hitachi Vantara for its experience in the Canadian financial services industry. The company’s partnerships with key cloud providers and ‘swim together’ approach to building what’s next while simultaneously upskilling existing resources were also key factors. By working with Hitachi Vantara initially, the Portfolio+ team will be able to gain the practical DevOps knowledge they need to become self-sufficient for future projects, while establishing a secure, solid foundation.
After considering numerous factors, including development, security, operational processes and internal skillsets, Portfolio+ and Hitachi Vantara designed a cloud-agnostic solution that’s currently supported on AWS. The solution’s core capabilities extend to additional cloud platforms based on customer need. The Hitachi Vantara team is also helping Portfolio+ establish DevOps best practices, automate the delivery of its banking software and provide a PCI and SOC2 compliant managed service offering to customers.
“Security, trust and regulatory compliance are the utmost priority for us,” comments Swan. “The Hitachi team helped us leverage the security services that are available as part of the cloud marketplace and ensure that we align with data residency requirements.”
As part of the service, Hitachi Vantara helped develop a business plan with multiple implementation phases to shorten the time to monetize on the platform and recognize revenue. As well as establishing a cloud landing zone, the project includes implementing a continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipeline, with safeguards for security and compliance.
The platform is also extremely secure to protect sensitive data, including at-rest and in-transit encryption and highly secure authentication and authorization.
Leveraging AWS AI and machine learning tools, the team fed in thousands of financial disclosure documents to train the solution to identify key data with a high rate of accuracy. As a result, the MSRB was able to develop an advanced search algorithm enabling users to find relevant information more quickly and efficiently using natural language processing.
Working with Hitachi Vantara helped the organization maximize agility, as Kim explains, "Working in two week sprints, the Hitachi team was able to deliver and demonstrate value throughout the engagement and respond to rapidly changing market conditions, such as COVID-19."
Boosting Competitive Advantage
Portfolio+ is on track to go live with its cloud-based suite of open banking applications in 2021. “When we first initiated our plan for migrating to the cloud, we didn’t envision we would be so close to the finish line in early 2021,” says Swan. “But thanks to help from the Hitachi Vantara team, we’ve been able to access the skills and resources we need to create a secure, robust platform for our open banking solutions.”
With the core foundation now in place, Portfolio+ has shifted its attention to providing a richer customer experience and extending the platform to meet the demands of their customers. At the same time, they are focusing on providing greater flexibility and options for integration with existing customer cloud strategies and adoption.
With its new platform, Portfolio+ will be able to keep up with demand from its financial services clients for reliable, cloud-native open banking solutions. “With a modern, cloud-based platform, we can retain our competitive advantage and reputation as a forward-thinking pioneer in open banking,” concludes Swan. “And as a result of our services, consumers in Canada will be able to enjoy greater transparency and choice when selecting important financial products.”
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