As TrustQuay launches its cloud-native Software-as-a-Service platform for the corporate services and trust administration market, we catch-up with Keith Hale, Executive Chairman of TrustQuay, to understand the drivers behind the development.
TrustQuay has today announced the launch of TrustQuay Online, the first complete end-to-end cloud-native Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for corporate services and trust administration providers.
Keith explained that TrustQuay Online is a full entity management, client accounting, general ledger and practice management SaaS platform, enabling providers to meet their corporate and private wealth clients’ regulatory requirements as well as manage their own business in a simple to use, highly automated way at a significantly reduced total cost of ownership.
Available on demand 24/7 from any device with a browser and internet connection, it includes all the functionality of the ‘traditional installed’ version, requires no need to purchase up-front and manage infrastructure, install or upgrade pre-requisite or specialist software components.
Why would you want to move to ‘Software as a Service’?
On first thought, it may appear that the new TrustQuay Online service would be aimed primarily at the small and mid-sized trust and company providers. However it’s also good news for the larger players with satellite offices who perhaps view their smaller offices as disproportionately expensive to support and a security risk.
Companies need to seriously consider moving away from running their own technology infrastructure, whether on their own premises, with a specialist hosting provider or with a cloud services provider. If your firm has done the right thing in migrating your physical servers into a hosting or cloud provider, then you have taken the first step on your journey. The next step is to reduce your server-side infrastructure by migrating to software services.
Why would you want to do this? If you are a boutique financial services firm, I will bet that you established it with a primary objective to provide great financial services, not to create and support a complex technical infrastructure. Migrating to managed software services will allow you to reduce costs, improve security and change the focus of your support teams to be business focused.
Lowering the entry barrier for financial services start-ups
If you were considering starting a trust and/or company services type business, a large cost at startup is technology – not just the physical devices but software, staff and service charges. This could be prohibitive.
Using SaaS, such as Office 365 and TrustQuay Online doesn’t remove all the costs, but it significantly lowers the barrier of entry for new businesses. The type of cost changes from capital (up-front) to operational expense (pay-as-you-use).
How do I know my data is safe if I can’t see it?
In terms of physical security and resilience, using a hosting provider is more secure that hosting data on your own premises. Using a cloud services provider provides more resilience if, for example, you can not access your premises or lose connectivity to it.
During lockdown, to allow working from home, your firm may be one of the many that migrated from your own email servers (such as Microsoft Exchange) to Office 365. If you did, then you have already trusted your data to Microsoft’s cloud.
The reality is that a cloud service will be physically more secure than doing it yourself. The provider will have teams of trained experts to look after security.
Does SaaS provide a better business system?
If you are hosting your own business systems, you will know that you need to upgrade every so often, whether to get a new feature, fix a bug or just keep within the supplier’s contractual terms.
Using SaaS means that you get the new features as soon as they are released, with (usually) little or no work on your part. That’s less effort for your team and allows them to do more value-add activities for your business.
There can be a downside with SaaS, in that it is generally ‘one size fits all’. Much software today is customisable so that it can be shaped to fit different businesses through configuration options.
In most instances, it is better and lower cost to change the shape of your business operational processes than change the software code.
There is a not-so-obvious benefit to using the standard version of software: Software that has been extensively custom modified is more expensive and difficult to support. A large and well known bank wrote-off millions of pounds when they cancelled a project. The new banking system software had been so extensively modified and had taken so long to ‘fit’ the banks’ operations, that the supplier couldn’t upgrade it to the newer version, meaning the software was out of date before it went live and therefore couldn’t be implemented.
Leveraging the Microsoft relationship
Keith explained that by leveraging their relationship with Microsoft and using industry best practice based on TrustQuay’s 20+ years of experience, together with ‘out of the box’ core configuration and sample data, they are able to reduce the complexity, cost and risk of migrating data from legacy sources, and ongoing operational system usage. In addition, TrustQuay Online reduces both cybersecurity and platform availability risks by leveraging the highly secure and reliable infrastructure of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Online.
Keith said: “The total cost of ownership is significantly reduced compared to traditional on-premise or managed service software offerings, where infrastructure, installation, and upgrades are managed individually on a customer by customer basis. TrustQuay Online will therefore enable firms to deploy their sparse IT resources on more value-added initiatives such as automation and digital client engagement to increase margin and drive growth rather than ‘keeping-the-lights-on’ management of infrastructure and software updates.”
Research by TrustQuay has found that the corporate services and trust administration sector lags way behind other areas of financial services, with firms currently ranking themselves just 5 out of 10 in terms of how far they have progressed on the digitalisation journey, but with 92% of the industry citing the need to accelerate innovation.
Keith said: “TrustQuay Online will enable corporate services and trust administration providers to leapfrog ahead of competitors by leveraging digitalisation to create reduced cost and differentiation in the market.
“We are very excited about this game-changing launch. TrustQuay Online will enable corporate services and trust administration providers to significantly reduce complexity, reduce the total cost of ownership and reduce risks such as cybersecurity, as well as future proof their technology.
“It offers a one-stop-shop solution that just needs a browser and internet connection, with no installation and no need to separately purchase or manage infrastructure and software. This will enable providers to focus on managing their client’s and their own data for regulatory and operational purposes in an increasingly automated and digital basis, leveraging this new SaaS solution to increase margin and drive growth.”
The benefits of using SaaS compare to hosting your own services are well known. This investment by TrustQuay into their product-set appears to be wise and timely, positioning them in a good place to help trust and company services firms to enhance their businesses.