Upbeat outlook as digitisation continues

John Bryant, Options

Options: Best Technology Infrastructure Provider – The outlook for the private equity market is particularly buoyant, with firms expected to increase their headcount and push hard on cost efficiencies. They will also be delivering digital transformation projects within a context of continued remote working environments. We spoke with chief technology officer at Options, John Bryant, as he discusses what digital transformation may look like for a private equity firm in 2021.

“The private equity firms we service have been aggressively migrating all aspects of their technology stacks to cloud-based services. As with other alternative investment vehicles, they increasingly want to focus on what they are good at and source, outsource or virtualise what they see as commodity IT infrastructure,” outlines Bryant. 

“We have witnessed a significant uptick in customers requesting assistance building, operating and securing their public cloud footprints. Typically, this adoption of cloud services has centred around Microsoft Azure and AWS footprints. It is clear to see outsourced cloud solutions are becoming more and more integral to trading, as PE firms appear to be forging ahead with their use of SAAS solutions for their critical business applications, data processing and analytics. In contrast, previously, this activity might well have been in-house developed and hosted on-prem or within a private cloud.”

Over the last 18 months the firm’s Cloud Services team has spent time innovating its managed offering for customers’ hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure needs. Options has also been enhancing its Support Desk tools, automation and orchestration layers, all of which are cloud-agnostic.

Bryant also addressed the shift to remote working:: “This transition to remote working presented our clients with challenges as they faced a range of security, communication, and collaboration issues, as their workforce had to adapt to work in ways they were not accustomed to. 

“There has been significant focus on remote working – ease of use, the capacity and performance of collaborative, cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft 365 and specifically Teams, for example. Customers have either chosen to provide corporate IT hardware or have embraced BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in order to provide the tools needed to work from home.”

Options has seen significant growth over the last 12 months as the changing work environment has experienced an accelerated period of unimaginable developments. “We have proactively engaged clients in migrations to cloud-based solutions, and have implemented a number of specific VIP teams and initiatives to ensure a continued dialogue with clients so that we could best support them through various stages of their remote working journey. 

“The impact of Covid will continue to be keenly felt, and whilst most businesses have reaped the rewards from migration to Teams, Webex or Zoom, they have acknowledged that more work is needed to ensure that their staff can communicate as effectively as if they were back in the office,” Bryant notes. 

John Bryant, Chief Technology Officer, Options
Options’ Chief Technology Officer joined in 2008 with his initial focus on the revamp of our low-latency market data product portfolio in addition to managing the company’s global data centre expansion programme. In addition to leading our engineering practice, John advises clients and prospects on industry best-practice design. With over 20 years Capital Markets experience, John has a wealth of knowledge stretching across technologies such as ultra-low latency trading infrastructure, application architecture and cyber security. Prior to working for Options, John was IT Director for Insinger de Beaufort, a wealth management firm, where he deployed turn-key voice and data network solutions as well as overhauling front, middle and back office architecture (STP).

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