As part of its digital transformation and push into financial wellbeing, investment firm Goodbody has revealed 78pc of its workforce are working remotely.

The Irish company, which is being acquired by Bank of China in a transaction valued at an initial €150m, this morning (5 December) revealed an investment in digital transformation through a deal with data centre giant Equinix.

Goodbody – one of Ireland’s leading institutional broker and corporate finance firms – is digitally transforming in a highly regulated industry, rolling out cutting-edge technologies for both its customers and employees. It employs more than 300 people.

“We expect to see more financial services businesses do the same as the industry continues to transform and companies vie to be seen as disruptors”

In response to a flourishing market and changing customer needs, Goodbody has diversified from a stock brokerage firm to become a leading financial services firm operating in wealth management, investment banking and asset management. To facilitate its continued growth in each area, the company has invested in the development of digital solutions that rely heavily on high network performance, reliability, cloud connectivity and security.

Essential to this is Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) Fabric, which is allowing Goodbody to adopt the multi-cloud strategy necessary to interconnect with different cloud environments and innovate at the digital edge, where IT infrastructure is leveraged closer to consumers of data.

By avoiding the public internet, ECX Fabric also provides security against DDoS attacks; enabling Goodbody staff to provide a full, secure service to customers from any location. Additionally, Equinix’s physical data centres in Dublin provide the backup and security required for business continuity.

An evolving financial services scene

As Ireland continues to see an influx of financial services firms setting up operations in the country, the market is becoming increasingly competitive.

IDA Ireland reports that some 55 fintech and financial services companies established a presence in Ireland in 2018. As a result, financial services firms with a presence in Ireland are looking to innovate at a greater pace while adhering to strict regulations. Interconnection – direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners – is proving fundamental to the industry’s digital transformation and the third annual Global Interconnection Index shows that Europe’s banking and insurance sector will see growth of 63pc CAGR in the consumption of interconnection bandwidth by 2022.

In response Goodbody has diversified from a stock brokerage firm to become a leading financial services firm operating in wealth management, investment banking and asset management. To facilitate its continued growth in each area, the company has invested in the development of digital solutions that rely heavily on high network performance, reliability, cloud connectivity and security.

Goodbody’s recently-launched Financial Wellbeing tool will help it to expand into new market segments by allowing users to take control of their finances with calculators relating to investment risk, life insurance and retirement planning. Hosted on Microsoft Azure via ECX Fabric, it provides a seamless user experience and is the first of a number of innovations Goodbody is planning to roll out as part of its investment in the customer experience.

A combination of Office 365 – accessed via ECX Fabric – along with Equinix’s highly secure and highly connected data centres are enabling seamless employee remote working in Goodbody. Most (78pc) of Goodbody employees are now incorporating remote working into their jobs. These employees are using Microsoft Teams on Office 365 to collaborate in and out of the office, while desktop and mobile devices used for remote working connect to Equinix’s data centres in Dublin and provide added security. This makes Goodbody employees highly flexible in terms of location and working hours.

“Goodbody is on a journey to becoming one of the oldest, yet most technologically advanced, financial services institutions in Ireland,” said Stuart Halford, head of Technology Services, Goodbody.

“Customer and employee experience are key differentiators that will see us stay ahead of competition. Part of that means creating market-leading solutions that are scalable into other business segments as we adapt and grow. We want to give customers a wonderful experience by making our services as seamless as possible, while also facilitating employee collaboration from any location at any time.

“A combination of Equinix’s data centre connectivity and the multi-cloud interconnection enabled by ECX Fabric gives us the peace of mind to be innovative, while still complying with regulations.”

The cloud-first approach to remote working has been a success, with 99pc of Goodbody employees who work remotely stating in a recent survey that they believe robust mobility services are a key element in Goodbody’s overall business strategy. The company has also been named one of the Best Large Places to Work in Ireland for the last two years, citing the flexibility of remote working facilitated through cloud connectivity as a significant contributing factor.

The rollout of new technologies relies on Goodbody becoming an agile organisation that can quickly adjust to changing business needs. That requires a faster pace of change and responsive applications that can be brought to market quickly. ECX Fabric allows Goodbody to privately interconnect with cloud providers at the digital edge, enabling fast transformation and highly responsive, secure and resilient technologies.

Goodbody is facilitating continued customer growth by using ECX Fabric to connect to its CRM solutions. The Investment Banking side of the business is using a Salesforce-based solution, while Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been deployed for the wealth management business. Both solutions have been tailored by Goodbody to meet specific and very different requirements for these distinct businesses.

“As Ireland’s financial services ecosystem continues to grow, driven by location and regulatory challenges, digital transformation remains the catalyst for firms adopting a cloud-first strategy to accelerate their reach and fuel their growth,” said Maurice Mortell, managing director of Equinix.

“Goodbody has totally embraced the connected future by leveraging interconnection to the cloud to transform the employee and customer experience. We expect to see more financial services businesses do the same as the industry continues to transform and companies vie to be seen as disruptors.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 5 December, 2019

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