Friday, 17 July 2015
Fintech Innovation: Follow-the-sun development
Within many banks there is a "follow-the-sun" model to manage a risk book for an asset class such as foreign exchange. So on Monday morning the Hong Kong office will start the week and manage pricing tools, client flow and associated risk positions. After London starts work there is a handover of the book to London and the book is managed from London. When New York opens the book is passed along. And repeat as Hong Kong arrives in the office on Tuesday.
What does this mean? Well, in essence, a complex IT infrastructure with local teams to support businesses in each region. Three instances of a rates engine, low latency connectivity to execution venues, client connectivity and so on...
Now, that's difficult to do but the tier one banks and some tier two banks manage to do it.
But, I'm not aware of any firms that manage to "follow-the-sun" for development. What I mean is, when I see firms with development teams in multiple locations further research indicates that each location specialises in specific functionality rather than working on a common code base.
This means that in any 24 hour period there is 8 hours of work on any specific issue.
In a world of distributed version control, automated testing, test driven development why don't firms run a "follow-the-sun" development model?
Indeed, it's not hard to envisage a model where it would be very easy to offer fast development-as-a-service where the follow-the-sun model allows for project timelines to be radically compressed due to the development resource model...